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Hercules

Hercules

 

 GREEK GODS

 

  •  Aphrodite was the goddess of love, sex, and beauty.
  •  Athena: was the goddess of reason, wisdom, and war.
  •  Artemis was the fleet-footed goddess of the hunt.
  •  Apollo:Apollo was among the most important (read: feared) of the gods.
  •  Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters craftsmen, artisans and volcanoes
  •  Demeter: an agricultural goddess
  •  Dionysus: The cult of Dionysus revolved around intoxication, sex, and savage ritual sacrifice
  •  Hades: ruled the world of the dead
  •  Hera: The gods on Olympus: Athena, Zeus, Dionysus, Hera, and Aphrodite. The queen goddess
  •  Hermes: He was a pastoral figure, responsible for protecting livestock, and was also associated with fertility, music, luck, and deception.
  •  Poseidon: is best known as the Greek sea god,
  •  Zeus : He became the chief deity in a new pantheon comprising mostly his siblings and children.
  •  Hercules is a Roman hero and god. He was the Roman equivalent of the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus (Roman equivalent Jupiter).
  •  The Romans adapted the Greek hero’s iconography and myths for their literature and art under the name Hercules.
  •  In later Western art and literature and in popular culture, Hercules is more commonly used than Heracles as the name of the hero.
 GREEK GOD

 

  •  Hercules had a complicated family tree. According to legend, his father was Zeus, ruler of all the gods on Mount Olympus and all the mortals on earth, and his mother was Alcmene, the granddaughter of the hero Perseus.
  •  Hercules had enemies even before he was born. When Zeus’ wife Hera heard that her husband’s mistress was pregnant, she flew into a jealous rage. First, she used her supernatural powers to prevent the baby Hercules from becoming the ruler of Mycenae. Then, after Hercules was born, Hera sent two snakes to kill him in his crib. The infant Hercules was unusually strong and fearless, however, and he strangled the snakes before they could strangle him.
LEGENDS

 

  •  Apollo ordered Hercules to perform 12 “heroic labors” for the Mycenaen king Eurystheus. Once Hercules completed every one of the labors, Apollo declared, he would be absolved of his guilt and achieve immortality.
  •  The Nemean Lion: First, Apollo sent Hercules to the hills of Nemea to kill a lion that was terrorizing the people of the region. Hercules trapped the lion in its cave and strangled it. For the rest of his life, he wore the animal’s pelt as a cloak.a
  •  The Lernaean Hydra: Second, Hercules traveled to the city of Lerna to slay the nine-headed Hydra. For this task, Hercules had the help of his nephew Iolaus. He cut off each of the monster’s heads while Iolaus burned each wound with a torch.
  •  The Erymanthean Boar: Fourth, Hercules used a giant net to snare the terrifying, man-eating wild boar of Mount Erymanthus. The Augean StablesHercules’ fifth task was supposed to be humiliating as well as impossible: cleaning all the dung out of King Augeas’ enormous stables in a single day. However, Hercules completed the job easily, flooding the barn by diverting two nearby rivers.
  •  The Stymphlaian Birds: Hercules’ sixth task was straightforward: Travel to the town of Stymphalos and drive away the huge flock of carnivorous birds that had taken up residence in its trees. This time, it was the goddess Athena who came to the hero’s aid: She gave him a pair of magical bronze krotala, or noisemakers, forged by the god Hephaistos. Hercules used these tools to frighten the birds away. LEGENDS
  •  The Cretan Bull: Next, Hercules went to Crete to capture a rampaging bull that had impregnated the wife of the island’s king. Hercules drove the bull back to Eurystheus, who released it into the streets of Marathon.
  •  The Horses of Diomedes: Hercules’ eighth challenge was to capture the four man-eating horses of the Thracian king Diomedes. He brought them to Eurystheus, who dedicated the horses to Hera and set them free.
  •  Hippolyte’s Belt: The ninth labor was complicated: stealing an armored belt that belonged to the Amazon queen Hippolyte. At first, the queen welcomed Hercules and agreed to give him the belt without a fight. However, the troublemaking Hera disguised herself as an Amazon warrior and spread a rumor that Hercules intended to kidnap the queen. Hercules killed Hippolyte and ripped the belt from her body.
  •  The Cattle of Geryon: For his 10th labor, Hercules was dispatched nearly to Africa to steal the cattle of the three-headed, six-legged monster Geryon. Once again, Hera did all she could to prevent the hero from succeeding, but eventually he returned to Mycenae with the cows.
  •  The Apples of Hesperides: Next, Eurystheus sent Hercules to steal Hera’s wedding gift to Zeus: a set of golden apples guarded by a group of nymphs known as the Hesperides. This task was difficult—Hercules needed the help of the mortal Prometheus and the god Atlas to pull it off—but the hero eventually managed to run away with the apples.
  •  Cerberus: For his final challenge, Hercules traveled to Hades to kidnap Cerberus, the vicious three-headed dog that guarded its gates. Hercules managed to capture Cerberus by using his superhuman strength.
IMMORTALITY

 

  • Later in his life, Hercules had a number of other adventures—rescuing the princess of Troy, battling for control of Mount Olympus—but none were as taxing, or as significant, as the labors had been.
  • When he died, Athena carried him to Olympus on her chariot. According to legend, he spent the rest of eternity with the gods