A-Z: General definitions: Heracles


Greek hero, famous for his Twelve Labours; he was deified after his death. (Roman name, Hercules.) 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. Heracles (Roman Hercules) defeated enemies of the Theban King Creon, who rewarded him with marriage to his daughter and they had children. However, Hera sent Heracles mad, and he killed his Theban family. To expiate this crime, he had to serve Eurystheus for twelve years, doing everything asked of him. He was set twelve tasks, which became known as the Labours of Heracles. The twelve Labours of Heracles: 1. Heracles and the Nemean Lion 2. Heracles and the Hydra of Lerna 3. Heracles and the Ceryneian Hind 4. Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar 5. Heracles and the Augean Stables 6. Heracles and the Stymphalian Birds 7. Heracles and the Cretan Bull 8. Heracles and the Mares of Diomedes 9. Heracles and the Belt of Hippolyte 10. Heracles and the Cattle of Geryon 11. Heracles and the Golden Apples of the Hesperides 12. Heracles and Cerberus

Related Topics

Alcmene; Amphitryon; Eurystheus

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