A-Z: General definitions: Alcmene


Alcmene was the wife of Amphitryon. Zeus seduced her, having made himself look the same as her husband, who himself made love to Alcmene immediately afterwards. As a result, she had two sons: Iphicles was the son of her husband, but the other, Heracles, was the son of Zeus. Their different parentage became apparent early on when two snakes, possibly sent by jealous Hera, crawled into their cradle. Iphicles cried in terror, but Heracles strangled the snakes. Heracles was a great hero, but was opposed all his life by Hera.

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