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Transcript of Hercules
the son of Zeus, the supreme god of Olympus, and Alcmene,
a mortal and wife of Amphitryon, nephew of the King of Argos.
Zeus, disguised as Amphitryon, slept with Alcmene. Bibliography
Skidmore, Joel, and Mark Fiore. "The Labors of Heracles from Greek mythology." Greek Mythology: The Labors of Hercules. Mythweb, 1997. Web. 24 Feb 2011.
Joe, Jimmy. "Heracles." Timeless Myths. TimelessMyths.com, 16/11/08. Web. 24 Feb 2011. <http://timelessmyths.com/classical/heracles.html>.
Newhall, Brent P. "Heracles." Encyclopedia Mythica. MMVI Encyclopedia Mythica, 05/11/2005. Web. 24 Feb 2011. <http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/heracles.html>.
"Heracles The Ancient Greek Hero Myth." Greek Myths. ancientgreece.com, 2008. Web. 24 Feb 2011. <http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/GreekMyths/Heracles/>.
"Heracles Greek Hero." Greek-Mythology-Gods. Greek-Mythology-Gods.com, 2010. Web. 24 Feb 2011. <http://www.greek-mythology-gods.com/heracles.html>. Online: Print: This resulted in the conception of
the demi-god Heracles. A bust of Zeus The birth of Heracles Early Life Hera, Zeus' long suffering consort and Heracles' step-mother, hated the boy from the beginning
as he was evidence of her husband's infedility.
She tried to prevent his birth by sending Witches
(or by some accounts, the goddess who controlled childbirth Eileithyia) to Alcmene, but failed. She was only able to delay his birth by seven days, allowing his cousin Eurystheus to be born before him, preventing Heracles from becoming King of Mycenae and Tiryns.
Heracles orginal name was Alcaeus. His mortal
parents Alcmene and Amphitryon, changed his name
to 'Heracles' (meaning the glory of Hera) in order to
appease the goddess. The Road to Glory Other Myths
Surrounding Heracles Hera was a
his mortal life. The Road to Glory
The Twelve Labours T
e 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 In order to make amends, Heracles agreed to
undertake 10 nearly impossible labours devised
by his cousin, Eurystheus, on the advice of
the oracle of Delphi. This was
later expanded to 12 when the
king pointed out that 2
of the labours were not
personally completed by
It took him 12 years. The first labour was to kill the Nemean lion.
As it was impervious to all weaponry, Heracles
trapped the lion in a cave near Nemea and
strangled it to death.
He then skinned the lion using its own claws and
presented the hide to Eurystheus (frightening the
king) and wore it as a cloak for the rest of his days. Modern References to the Man,
the Myth and the Legend Hercules (constellation) The Madness Heracles was a subject in many other
He was feautured in the Trojan war,
and saved Jason and the Argonauts.
Heracles had to, at one time, work as a
slave to make up for his murder of Iphitus,
the son of the king of Oechalia.
He established the original Olympic
Heracles started many wars with people
who refused to keep promises to him.
On Olympus, Heracles fought against the
Titans with the gods. Comparing someone to
Hercules may also be
used to insult them.
Hercules was not the
most intelligent hero.
Two different accounts claim
he threatened to shoot the
sun with an arrow, for being
too hot, with and punish
waves for shaking his ship
on his way on the Trojan war.
Many ancient critics used
viewed him as a stupid oaf. Visual Representations The symbols for Hercules
are the lion skin, oaken club
and bow and arrow.
Hercules is also one of our
88 modern constellations, the
fifth largest and, as such is used
extensively in stargazing and
astronomy as a point of
Below him are the constellations
of Draco and Cancer (a servant
of Hera), a dragon and
giant crab respectively that
Heracles reputedly killed during
his travels. Despite his tendency to become very angry,
Heracles still remained tremendously friendly
and playful with children. Incredible strength, bravery,
ingenuity, and masculinity
were Heracles' most
distinguishing attributes, and
those most people associate with
a hero. The word 'Herculean' is also
used in our vernacular to
refer to something or someone
of extraordinary strength.
Hercules also persists as quite a
common name for men in certain
parts of the world. Shortly into his first wedding, Hera brought
a madness upon Heracles.
In his rage, he murdered his children and wife,
believing them to be enemies of Thebes and
would have killed Amphitryon had Athena not
intervened and knocked the demi-god unconscious. Herculaneum - An ancient Roman city The Hercules Beetle Lockheed C-130 Hercules Aircraft Death The second task was for Heracles to find and slay the Hydra in the swamps of Lerna.
The serpent had many heads (authors claimed between 7 and 10 000) and all, but one, were immortal. Whenever a mortal head was cut off, two more grew in its place.
Heracles with the help of his nephew Iolaüs, cut of the mortal heads and cauterized the wounds so that they couldn't regrow. He then buried the immortal head under
a large boulder and dipped his arrows in the monster's
blood. The third Labour was for
Heracles to capture the
Cerynitian hind, a red deer
in the forest of Cerynitia
that was sacred to
the goddess Artemis.
The hind was supposedly
much larger than regular
deer and had golden antlers
and brazen hooves. This labour took Heracles
over a year to complete, as
he needed to take the hind
back to Tiryns unharmed, lest
Artemis exact revenge on him.
Taught how to drive a chariot by his mortal father Amphitryon
Taught by the hero Castor in the art of fencing
Trained in wrestling by the great thief Autolycus
Taught by Hermes' son, Harpalycus, in boxing
Trained by his cousin Eurystheus in archery
Taught music by Linus, the son of the demi-god of music In his youth, Heracles was: Teaching Heracles music ended in devestation. After Linus struck him
on the back of the head for his poor attention, Heracles retalliated,
accidentally killing his teacher with his incredible strength. Marriage Heracles spent some time
working as a shepherd and
later joined the Theban
army to save the city from the
occupying 'Minyan' army. The Minyans were a people
that lived in ancient times
on the western edge of Turkey. As a gift for saving Thebes, Creon, the king, gave
Heracles his daughter, Megara's, hand in marriage To aid him in war, Heracles was outfitted with a(n):
Unbreakable shield from Zeus
Helmet and coat of arms from Athena
Bow and quiver of eagle-feather arrows from Apollo
Sword from Hermes
Golden breastplate and protective footwear from Hephaestus
A team of horses from Poseidon
She bore him three sons. When Heracles came to his senses, he felt tremendous sadness
and remorse. Although the citizens and nobles of Thebes were
unwilling to punish the hero, he still felt that he needed to
atone for his crime.
He exiled himself from Thebes and was
about to commit suicide until his friend
(and possible cousin) Theseus convinced him
that death would be cowardly.
Heracles was taken to Athens and purified. Still, he felt he needed to
do more. The fourth labour was to
recover the Erymanthian Boar.
With the help of some centaurs,
Heracles captured the vicious boar,
chained it and brought it back
During this time Heracles was said to have joined the Jason and the Argonauts on their journey to find the Golden Fleece. Angry at Heracles for
running off with the Argonauts,
Eurystheus decided the next labour
would be for Heracles to clean the
Augean stables in one day. The stables hadn't been cleaned
for 30 years and held thousands
of cattle. To remove all of the filth,
Heracles diverted two rivers, forcing
them to wash through the stables. Importance to the
Modern World. The sixth labour required
Heracles to kill the Stymphalian
Birds, voracious pests with
wings, beaks, and talons made of bronze.
Heracles scared the birds, forcing them to fly into the air and then
proceeded to shoot them down. Duthie, Alexander. GREEK MYTHOLOGY. 2nd ed. London, UK: Oliver and Boyd, 1949. 63-73. Print.
Morford, Mark P.O. and Robert J. Lenardon. CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY. 6th ed. New York, NY, USA: David McKay Company, INC., 1975. 315-336. Print.
Hamilton , Edith. MYTHOLOGY. Warner Books ed. Boston, MA, USA: Warner Books, 1999. 166-179. Print.
The seventh labour was to retrieve the Cretan bull, the father of the horrific minotaur, belonging to Minos, the king of Crete.
The bull was sacred to Poseidon and, as such, had the ability to travel on water.With Minos' permission Heracles rode the bull from Crete to Greece and released it in Marathon.
The Marathonian bull was eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Other feats include: Wrestling with Thanatos, the god of death to save a friend's wife from death.
Killing the gorgons, a race whose queen,
Medusa, had previously been killed by
Heracles' grandfather Perseus. The Palace - Fortress at Tiryns as it stands today Numerous things in our world are named after the
great hero: Hercules' final labour was to bring Cerburus, guardian of the underworld to Tiryns.
Cerberus was a three- headed dog with a snake as a tail and a mane of snakes. With Hades' permission,
Heracles picked up the
beast and carried it to the
king, ending his servitude. The king then promptly asked Heracles to return the dog to the underworld, which he did. When he was an infant, she attempted to kill him by sending two snakes to his bed. It was here that Heracles first demonstrated his tremendous strength, strangling the snakes. The eighth labour was for Heracles to capture the four man-eating
mares of King Diomedes, the son of Ares, the god of war. Diomedes
often fed his guests to the horses. Heracles fed the king to his own beasts, harnessed them
and rode them back to Tiryns on a chariot, accomplishing
his task. The ninth task was for Heracles to bring back the
belt of the Amazonian queen Hippolyta.
The queen was willing to give up the belt readily, but
Hera, disguised as an Amazonian, convinced Hippolyta's
people that Heracles was looking to steal their queen from
They attacked Heracles, forcing him to take the belt forcibly,
killing the queen and her subjects. The tenth labour took Heracles to the
edge of the known world.
He needed to steal the rare red cattle of Geryon,
a monster with three upper bodies at Erythia.
After shooting an arrow through the three bodies
of Geryon, he led the cattle on a long trek back to
Greece. Giving Italy and the island of Icaria their names. Ancient writers claim Heracles erected two pillars, which still stand today on both sides of the strait of Gibraltar, to cross the seas during this labour. Heracles second last labour was to collect the golden apples of Hesprides, which belonged to Hera.
There are 2 different accounts of how Heracles solved this labour:
1. He asked the giant Titan Atlas, who held the heavens on his shoulders to recover the apples for him. Atlas obliged, leaving Heracles to take his place. When he returned, Atlas did not want to take up the burden again. Heracles tricked him into holding the skies again by asking for Atlas to lift the weight for a second while Heracles placed a pillow on his shoulder to relieve some of the pain. With Atlas holding the heavens again, Heracles travelled back to Greece with the apples.
2. Heracles travelled to the forest himself and slew the dragon Ladon (later Draco) which was guarding the apples. He then plucked the apples and returned to Greece. Free from servitude, Heracles continued on countless adventures and mythological dealings. Eventually, he ended up in the
court of King Oeneus of Calydon
and married the king's daughter,
Deianeira. When Heracles went off to war, Deianeira
feared that she would be replaced by another woman in
Heracles' life. She sent him a tunic dipped in a centaur's
blood, a supposed love potion. When Heracles put the
cloth on, it was poisoned by the Hydra's venom from his
arrows. The pain was too much for even the hero to bear.
Heracles built a pyre and one of his most faithful sons set it
alight. But Heracles' travels would soon end... Heracles mortal half went to the underworld and his
immortal half joined the gods on Olympus.
Hera eventually accepted her step-son when he
saved her from being raped by Porphyrion, a Giant,
during the gods' war with the Titans. Hercules is also a very prominent character
and symbol in popular culture: ...and literature: As such, he is in many
ways our basis for heroism Teddy Roosevlt as baby Hercules Arnold Shwarzenegger as Hercules Lou Ferrigno as Hercules Lotfi & Josh Hercules Notables Grandfather Twin
Brother 1st wife 2nd wife Cousin, King of Tiryns