Hebe is the Goddess of Eternal Youth as well as the Keeper of the Fountain of Youth.
In some myths, she was the Cupbearer of the Gods. She was also sometimes said to be the Patron of Brides as well as the Goddess of Pardon and Forgiveness.
The most prominent myth about Hebe would be Euripides' play, Heracleidae.
In this play, Iolaus prayed to Hebe to make him young again for a day in order to fight Eurystheus. While she was reluctant to do so at first, after Themis assured her that it would be just, Hebe granted Iolaus' wish, and he enjoyed one more day of youth in his old age - he charged into battle as a strong and healthy young man, and came out victorious.
Another story would be when Hebe lost her job as the Cupbearer of the Gods: once, she slipped and fell while serving nectar and her dress came undone, exposing her breasts. Apollo immediately fired her for this indecency. Ganymede, the beautiful young man who charmed all the Gods, became her replacement.
- Zeus (Father)
- Hera (Mother)
- Hephaistos, Ares, Enyo, and Eileithyia (Siblings)
- Heracles (Husband and half-brother)
- Alexiares and Aniketos (Sons with Herakles)
Because Hebe was the Goddess (and sometimes the very personification) of Youth, Hebe was always portrayed by artists as a charming young girl. In most depictions, she either wore a sleeveless dress or was semi-nude. In other portrayals, she was dressed in light garments adorned with roses, on her head was a wreath of flowers, in one hand she carried the amphora of nectar, and in the other is the cup of eternal youthfulness. She is also sometimes shown with wings.
Hebe had four symbols:
- Chalice: One of Hebe's symbols was a decorated cup as she was responsible for filling all the chalices of the gods with nectar.
- Fountain of Youth: In Greek mythology, the Fountain of Youth is a special fountain the waters of which could either preserve one's youth eternally or restore youth to one who had lost it. Due to her status as the Goddess of Youth, this fountain could only be summoned and used by Hebe.
- Lettuce: It was sometimes said that Hera became pregnant with Hebe only by eating lettuce.
Gallery of Symbols of Hebe
- Apart from serving nectar to the Gods of Olympus, Hebe was also said to be the one who helped her mother, Hera, enter her chariot, and she drew baths for her brother, Ares, as well.
- Hebe was usually seen as a companion of Aphrodite.
- Her male counterpart was Ganymede.
- Her opposite number was Geras.
- She may have been equated with Pandia.
- Some say that she gave up her cup-bearing position to Ganymede after she married Herakles
- A statue of Hebe can be found on the Temperance Fountain in Tompkins Square Park.
- Hebe had temples in Athens, Sicyon, and Phlius.
- Freed prisoners would hang their chains in the sacred grove of her Phlius sanctuary.
- Her Roman name was Juventas, the Latin word for "Youth".