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The Golden HindNext, Hercules set off to capture the sacred pet of the goddess Diana: a red deer, or hind, with golden antlers and bronze hooves.
Eurystheus had chosen this task for his rival because he believed that Diana would kill anyone she caught trying to steal her pet; however, once Hercules explained his situation to the goddess, she allowed him to go on his way without punishment.
The Erymanthean Boar Fourth, Hercules used a giant net to snare the terrifying, man-eating wild boar of Mount Erymanthus. However, Hercules completed the job easily, flooding the barn by diverting two nearby rivers.
Hercules used these tools to frighten the birds away. Hercules drove the bull back to Eurystheus, who released it into the streets of Marathon. He brought them to Eurystheus, who dedicated the horses to Hera and set them free.
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.
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. 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 to wrestle the monster to the ground.
Afterward, the dog returned unharmed to his post at the entrance to the Underworld. 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. Afterward, Heracles continued to engage in various quests, including helping Jason and his Argonauts, and when he finally died, his mortal half was burned away and he became a full-fledged god.
Who Was the Son of Zeus? By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 25, AM ET. More From Reference. Herodotus and artists encouraged worship such as the painters during the time of the Peisistratos , who often presented Heracles entering Olympus in their works.
Some sources explained that the cult of Heracles persisted because of the hero's ascent to heaven and his suffering, which became the basis for festivals, ritual, rites, and the organization of mysteries.
For example, he was considered the ideal in warfare so he presided over gymnasiums and the ephebes or those men undergoing military training.
There were ancient towns and cities that also adopted Heracles as a patron deity, contributing to the spread of his cult. There was the case of the royal house of Macedonia, which claimed lineal descent from the hero  primarily for purposes of divine protection and legitimator of actions.
The earliest evidence that show the worship of Heracles in popular cult was in 6th century BCE — and — via an ancient inscription from Phaleron.
Extraordinary strength, courage , ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him.
Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis , wrestling the giant Antaeus , or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders.
Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children.
There was also a coldness to his character, which was demonstrated by Sophocles' depiction of the hero in The Trachiniae. Heracles threatened his marriage with his desire to bring two women under the same roof; one of them was his wife Deianeira.
In the works of Euripides involving Heracles, his actions were partly driven by forces outside rational human control. By highlighting the divine causation of his madness, Euripides problematized Heracles' character and status within the civilized context.
It was indicated that he preferred the extravagant violence of the heroic life and that its ghosts eventually manifested in his madness and that the hallucinatory visions defined Herakles' character.
A major factor in the well-known tragedies surrounding Heracles is the hatred that the goddess Hera , wife of Zeus , had for him.
A full account of Heracles must render it clear why Heracles was so tormented by Hera, when there were many illegitimate offspring sired by Zeus.
Heracles was the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus made love to her after disguising himself as her husband, Amphitryon , home early from war Amphitryon did return later the same night, and Alcmene became pregnant with his son at the same time, a case of heteropaternal superfecundation , where a woman carries twins sired by different fathers.
His twin mortal brother, son of Amphitryon, was Iphicles , father of Heracles' charioteer Iolaus. On the night the twins Heracles and Iphicles were to be born, Hera, knowing of her husband Zeus' adultery, persuaded Zeus to swear an oath that the child born that night to a member of the House of Perseus would become High King.
Hera did this knowing that while Heracles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheus. Once the oath was sworn, Hera hurried to Alcmene's dwelling and slowed the birth of the twins Heracles and Iphicles by forcing Ilithyia , goddess of childbirth, to sit crosslegged with her clothing tied in knots, thereby causing the twins to be trapped in the womb.
Meanwhile, Hera caused Eurystheus to be born prematurely, making him High King in place of Heracles. She would have permanently delayed Heracles' birth had she not been fooled by Galanthis , Alcmene's servant, who lied to Ilithyia, saying that Alcmene had already delivered the baby.
Upon hearing this, she jumped in surprise, loosing the knots and inadvertently allowing Alcmene to give birth to Heracles and Iphicles.
Fear of Hera's revenge led Alcmene to expose the infant Heracles, but he was taken up and brought to Hera by his half-sister Athena , who played an important role as protectress of heroes.
Hera did not recognize Heracles and nursed him out of pity. Heracles suckled so strongly that he caused Hera pain, and she pushed him away.
Her milk sprayed across the heavens and there formed the Milky Way. But with divine milk, Heracles had acquired supernatural powers.
Athena brought the infant back to his mother, and he was subsequently raised by his parents. The child was originally given the name Alcides by his parents; it was only later that he became known as Heracles.
He and his twin were just eight months old when Hera sent two giant snakes into the children's chamber. Iphicles cried from fear, but his brother grabbed a snake in each hand and strangled them.
He was found by his nurse playing with them on his cot as if they were toys. Astonished, Amphitryon sent for the seer Tiresias , who prophesied an unusual future for the boy, saying he would vanquish numerous monsters.
After killing his music tutor Linus with a lyre , he was sent to tend cattle on a mountain by his foster father Amphitryon.
Here, according to an allegorical parable , " The Choice of Heracles ", invented by the sophist Prodicus c. This was part of a pattern of "ethicizing" Heracles over the 5th century BCE.
Later in Thebes , Heracles married King Creon 's daughter, Megara. In a fit of madness, induced by Hera, Heracles killed his children and Megara.
After his madness had been cured with hellebore by Antikyreus, the founder of Antikyra ,  he realized what he had done and fled to the Oracle of Delphi.
Unbeknownst to him, the Oracle was guided by Hera. He was directed to serve King Eurystheus for ten years and perform any task Eurystheus required of him.
Eurystheus decided to give Heracles ten labours, but after completing them, Heracles was cheated by Eurystheus when he added two more, resulting in the Twelve Labors of Heracles.
Driven mad by Hera, Heracles slew his own children. To expiate the crime, Heracles was required to carry out ten labours set by his archenemy, Eurystheus , who had become king in Heracles' place.
If he succeeded, he would be purified of his sin and, as myth says, he would become a god, and be granted immortality. Other traditions place Heracles' madness at a later time, and relate the circumstances differently.
Despite the difficulty, Heracles accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus in the end did not accept the success the hero had with two of the labours: the cleansing of the Augean stables, because Heracles was going to accept pay for the labour; and the killing of the Lernaean Hydra, as Heracles' nephew, Iolaus , had helped him burn the stumps of the multiplying heads.
Eurystheus set two more tasks, fetching the Golden Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus. In the end, with ease, the hero successfully performed each added task, bringing the total number of labours up to the magic number twelve.
Not all versions and writers give the labours in the same order. The Bibliotheca 2. After completing these tasks, Heracles fell in love with Princess Iole of Oechalia.
King Eurytus of Oechalia promised his daughter, Iole , to whoever could beat his sons in an archery contest.
Heracles won but Eurytus abandoned his promise. Heracles' advances were spurned by the king and his sons, except for one: Iole's brother Iphitus.
Heracles killed the king and his sons—excluding Iphitus —and abducted Iole. Iphitus became Heracles' best friend. However, once again, Hera drove Heracles mad and he threw Iphitus over the city wall to his death.
Once again, Heracles purified himself through three years of servitude—this time to Queen Omphale of Lydia.
Omphale was a queen or princess of Lydia. As penalty for a murder, imposed by Xenoclea , the Delphic Oracle , Heracles was to serve as her slave for a year.
He was forced to do women's work and to wear women's clothes, while she wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried his olive-wood club. After some time, Omphale freed Heracles and married him.
Some sources mention a son born to them who is variously named. It was at that time that the cercopes , mischievous wood spirits, stole Heracles' weapons.
He punished them by tying them to a stick with their faces pointing downward. While walking through the wilderness, Heracles was set upon by the Dryopes.
In Apollonius of Rhodes ' Argonautica it is recalled that Heracles had mercilessly slain their king, Theiodamas , over one of the latter's bulls, and made war upon the Dryopes "because they gave no heed to justice in their lives".
He took the youth on as his weapons bearer and beloved. Years later, Heracles and Hylas joined the crew of the Argo.
As Argonauts, they only participated in part of the journey. In Mysia , Hylas was kidnapped by the nymphs of a local spring. Heracles, heartbroken, searched for a long time but Hylas had fallen in love with the nymphs and never showed up again.
In other versions, he simply drowned. Either way, the Argo set sail without them. Hesiod 's Theogony and Aeschylus ' Prometheus Unbound both tell that Heracles shot and killed the eagle that tortured Prometheus which was his punishment by Zeus for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals.
Heracles freed the Titan from his chains and his torments. Prometheus then made predictions regarding further deeds of Heracles.
On his way back to Mycenae from Iberia , having obtained the Cattle of Geryon as his tenth labour , Heracles came to Liguria in North-Western Italy where he engaged in battle with two giants, Albion and Bergion or Dercynus, sons of Poseidon.
The Drunken Hercules — by Rubens. Hercules and Deianira 18th century copy of a lost original , from I Modi.
Hercules, Deianira and the Centaur Nessus , by Bartholomäus Spranger , — Henry IV of France , as Hercules vanquishing the Lernaean Hydra i.
Louvre Museum. Hercules was among the earliest figures on ancient Roman coinage, and has been the main motif of many collector coins and medals since.
One example is the 20 euro Baroque Silver coin issued on September 11, The obverse side of the coin shows the Grand Staircase in the town palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy in Vienna , currently the Austrian Ministry of Finance.
Gods and demi-gods hold its flights, while Hercules stands at the turn of the stairs. Juno , with Hercules fighting a Centaur on reverse Roman, —15 BCE.
Club over his shoulder on a Roman denarius c. Maximinus II and Hercules with club and lionskin Roman, CE.
Commemorative 5-franc piece , Hercules in center. Six successive ships of the British Royal Navy , from the 18th to the 20th century, bore the name HMS Hercules.
In the French Navy , there were no less than nineteen ships called Hercule , plus three more named Alcide which is another name of the same hero.
Hercules' name was also used for five ships of the US Navy , four ships of the Spanish Navy , four of the Argentine Navy and two of the Swedish Navy , as well as for numerous civilian sailing and steam ships — see links at Hercules ship.
In modern aviation a military transport aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin carries the title Lockheed C Hercules. Pillars of Hercules , representing the Strait of Gibraltar 19th-century conjecture of the Tabula Peutingeriana.
Hercules as heraldic supporters in the royal arms of Greece , in use — A series of nineteen Italian Hercules movies were made in the late s and early s.
The actors who played Hercules in these films were Steve Reeves , Gordon Scott , Kirk Morris, Mickey Hargitay , Mark Forest, Alan Steel, Dan Vadis , Brad Harris , Reg Park , Peter Lupus billed as Rock Stevens and Michael Lane.
A number of English-dubbed Italian films that featured the name of Hercules in their title were not intended to be movies about Hercules.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Roman adaptation of the Greek divine hero Heracles. This article is about Hercules in Roman classical mythology.
For the Greek divine hero from which Hercules was adapted, see Heracles. For other uses, see Hercules disambiguation.
Main article: Labours of Hercules. Wrestling with Achelous 16th-century plaque. Main articles: Hercules in ancient Rome and Heracles.
Hercules from Cappadocia or Caesarea 1st century BCE - 1st century CE, Walters Art Museum. Hercules slaying the Hydra Roman copy of 4th century BCE original by Lysippos, Capitoline Museum.
Hercules Roman 1st century BCE - 1st century CE, Walters Art Museum. Comic book cover c. Hercules on the Pyre by Guillaume Coustou The Elder, , Louvre MR Hercules, as seen on a Denarius of the Roman Emperor Caracalla.
Dated CE. Lindsay, "Mehercle and Herc v lvs. Hersch, The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity Cambridge University Press, , pp.
In the 17th century, the word entered the German language as barditus and was associated with the Celtic bards. Dictionary of Northern Mythology.
Sessions, tr. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.