Have you heard of the Greek Gods but don't really know anything about them?
Read on for the an introduction to Hercules!
In Greek mythology, Hercules is the son of Zues (King of the gods) and the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus, who was always on the hunt for women, took on the form of Alcmene's husband and visited her one night in bed. Then Hercules was born; a demi-god with incredible strength! He performed amazing feats, including wrestling death and travelling twice to the underworld, and his stories were told throughout Greece, yet his life was far from easy from the moment of his birth, and his relationships with others were often disastrous.
This was because Hera, the wife of Zues knew that Herculeus was the son of another woman and wanted to destroy him.
In fact, he was born with the name Alcaeus, meaning "Glory of Hera", showing that he would become famous through his difficulties with the goddess. Hercules mother, Alcmene, tried to raise him like a regular kid. He went to school with mortal children, learning subjects like maths, reading, and writing. However, one day he got mad and hit his music teacher on the head with his lyre (A greek instrument similar to a small harp) and killed him by accident.
When Herculeus was an adult he married a princess named Megara. They had a family and were living a happy life. This made the goddess Hera angry. She tricked Hercules into thinking his family was a bunch of snakes. Hercules killed the snakes only to realize they were his wife and kids. He was devastated and was overwhelmed with guilt. Hercules needed to get rid of this guilt. He went to get advice from the Oracle of Delphi. The Oracle told Hercules that he must serve King Eurystheus for 10 years and do any task the king asked of him. If he did this, he would be forgiven and wouldn't feel guilty any more.
The tasks the king gave him are called the Twelve Labours of Hercules. Each of the Twelve Labours of Hercules was a challenge but he needed to get rid of the guilt he had set himself . The king did not like Hercules and wanted him to fail. Each time he made the tasks more and more difficult. The final task even involved traveling to The Underworld and bringing back the fierce three-headed guardian Cerberus. He had to:
1) Slay the Lion of Nemea
2) Slay the Lernean Hydra
3)Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis
4)Capture the Boar of Erymanthia
5)Clean the entire Augean stables in one day
6)Slay the Stymphalian Birds
7)Capture the Bull of Crete
8)Steal the Mares of Diomedes
9)Get the girdle from the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta
10)Take the cattle from the monster Geryon
11)Steal apples from the Hesperides
12)Bring back the three-headed dog Cerberus from the Underworld
Herculeus managed to complete the 12 labours and not only used his strength but his intelligence too. For example, when stealing the apples from the Hesperides, the daughters of Atlas, Hercules convinced Atlas to get the apples for him. He agreed to hold up the world for the titan while he got the apples. Then, when Atlas tried to go back on the deal, Hercules had to trick Atlas to once again take the weight of the world on his shoulders. Another example of Hercules using his brain was when he was tasked with cleaning the Augean stables in a day during his tasks of the 12 labours. There were over 3,000 cows in the stables. There was no way he could clean them by hand in a day. So Hercules built a dam and caused a river to flow through the stables. They were cleaned out in no time and he could move on to the other tasks at hand.
I hope you've enjoyed this introduction to Greek Mythology ! More in the