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[[Hebe by Antonio Canova, 1800–05 (Hermitage, St. Petersburg)|250px]]
'Hebe by Antonio Canova, 1800–05 (Hermitage, St. Petersburg)

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In Greek mythology, Hēbē (Greek: Template:Polytonic) is the goddess of youth[1] (Roman equivalent: Juventas).[2] She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera.[3] Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles, (Roman equivalent: Hercules); her successor was the young Trojan prince Ganymede. Another title of hers, for this reason, is "Ganymeda." She also drew baths for Ares and helped Hera enter her chariot.[4]

In Euripides' play Heracleidae, Hebe granted Iolaus' wish to become young again in order to fight Eurystheus. Hebe had two children with her husband Heracles: Alexiares and Anicetus.[5] In Roman mythology, Juventas received a coin offering from boys when they put on the adult men's toga for the first time.

The name Hebe comes from Greek word meaning "youth" or "prime of life". Juventas likewise means "youth", as can be seen in such derivatives as juvenile. In art, Hebe is usually depicted wearing a sleeveless dress. There is a bronze statue of Hebe, by Robert Thomas; (1966), in Birmingham city centre, England (at Template:Coord). Antonio Canova also sculpted four different statues of Hebe: one of them is in the Museum of Forlì, in Italy.

The figure of Hebe was popular in the 19th century and early 20th century for garden fountains and temperance fountains, and was widely available in cast stone. Tarentum, Pennsylvania displays two such cast stone statues of Hebe.[6] The mold for these statues was donated to the borough by the Tarentum Book Club on 6 June 1912. In Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Bloom Fountain installed in 1927 near the municipal rose garden, thanks to a bequest of $6,500 in the will of Louis Bloom, features a Hebe of cast zinc. At Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Hebe fountain in Fountain Square follows Canova's model, in patinated cast iron, purchased in 1881 from the J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York, at a cost of $1500.[7] similar Hebe fountains, probably also from Mott, are located in Court Square, Memphis, Tennessee and in Montgomery, Alabama, and one with bronze patination was formerly the Starkweather Fountain in Ypsilanti, Michigan, installed in 1889.[8]

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  1. "Hebe's name... means 'Flower of Youth'. She was another version of her mother in the latter's quality of Hera Pais, "Hera the young maiden," observes Karl Kerenyi, The Gods of the Greeks 1951:98.
  2. Ovid does not detect a unity of Hera (Juno) and Hebe (Juventas): he opens Fasti vi with a dispute between Juno and Juventas claiming patronage of the month of June (on-line text).
  3. Hesiod, Theogony 921; Homer, Odyssey 11. 601; Pindar, Fourth Isthmian Ode; pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 1.13, and later authors.
  4. Iliad, v. 722.
  5. Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke, ii.7.7,
  6. They are located at Template:Coord and Template:Coord).
  7. "The City of Bowling Green, Ky: Fountain Square"
  8. Ypsilanti Historical Society: "Lost Ypsilanti: The Starkweather Fountain"; the single figure of Hebe cost $750. Other cast zinc Hebe fountains by Mott and other manufacturers are documented by Carol A. Grissom, Zinc sculpture in America, 1850–1950 2009:301ff.


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