A Research on Greek Hero Hercules

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Of all the Greek heroes, Hercules was by far the most famous.
He was a mortal man, who through hard work became immortal
and joined the gods of Olympus. Hercules was the son of Zeus
and Alcmene. Alcmene’s husband Amphiteryon was out
avenging her brother’s death at the hands of pirates. Zeus,
disguised as Amphiteryon, came to her and told her stories of
how he killed the pirates to avenge her brother’s death. That
night Zeus went to bed with Alcmene and impregnated her. The
next day the real Amphiteryon returned with his stories of
avenging the pirates, and he could not understand why his wife
was irritated with him and seemed disinterested in the stories. It
was then that Amphiteryon consulted a blind seer and became
aware of what Zeus did.
Zeus talked Athena into tricking Hera into suckling Hercules. As
the story goes, Athena and Hera came upon a baby abandoned at
the walls of Thebes. Athena suggested to Hera to suckle the poor
abandoned baby. Hera did so, but the baby sucked so hard that
she had to push him away. The force was so strong that the milk
from her breast spurted out and became the Milky Way.
Hercules had several teachers in his youth who taught him well.
Here is a partial list of his teachers and the areas they instructed
him in:
Autolycus – boxing
Castor – art of riding horses in battle
Cheiron – (centaur) politics, manners, and wisdom

Eumolpus – playing the lyre and singing
Eurytus – archery
Not only was he well trained, but Hercules also received lavish
gifts from the gods of Olympus. He was well equipped with
special swords, shields, bows, and horses.
Hercules, of all of Zeus’s illegitimate children seemed to be the
focus of Hera’s anger. She sent a two-headed serpent to attack
him when he was just an infant. He simply strangled the snake
with one head in each hand. When Hercules married Megara of
Thebes, Hera drove Hercules to madness. This madness caused
Hercules to kill his wife and all of his children. He did not stop
this killing streak until Athena struck him with a rock, knocking
him unconscious. When he awoke, he realized what he had one
and consulted the Oracle of Delphi to see how he could purify
himself. The oracle instructed him to complete ten labors that
King Eurystheus set before him, and he could be purified and
also attain immortality.
Labor #1 Kill the Nemean Lion
The lion had a skin which could not be penetrated by any sword
or spear. Hercules had to kill the lion with his bare hands.
Labor #2 Kill the Hydra of Lerna
Hercules attacked the Hydra and began to chop off its many
heads. Yet each time he chopped off a head, the Hydra would
grow two more in its place. He called on his friend Iolaus to

burn each wound which did not allow the heads to grow back. In
this way he defeated the Hydra. Eurystheus refused to count this
labor because Hercules had help in completing it.
Labor #3 Capture the Cerynitian Hind
The Cerynitian Hind was a deer with golden antlers. Hercules
hunted it for a year and finally captured it with a net while it was
sleeping. After completing this Labor, Hercules joined Jason and
the Argonauts for a period of time.
Labor #4 Capture the Erymanthian Boar
Hercules captured the boar in a snowdrift and brought it back in
Labor #5 Clean the Stables of Augeas
The Stables of Augeas held thousands of cattle and had not been
cleaned in thirty years. Hercules had to clean all of them in a
single day. To accomplish this, Hercules diverted two rivers into
the stables to carry away all the dung. He also made a deal with
King Augeas to receive one tenth of the cattle as payment for his
work. After completing the work, the King refused to pay. In
addition, Hercules did not receive credit for the labor because
Eurystheus stated he did the labor for profit.
Labor #6 Drive out the Stymphalian Birds
The Stymphalian Birds were man-eating birds. Hercules used a
bronze rattle to confuse and drive out the birds.
Labor #7 Fetch the Cretan Bull

The bull was a beautiful creature given to King Minos of Crete
by Poseidon. Hercules had a long struggle wrestling the bull, but
he captured it, brought it to Tiryns, and released it.
Labor #8 Capture the Mares of Diomedes
Four mares of Diomedes were man eating animals. Hercules
drove them down to the sea. Diomedes then to attacked
Hercules. Hercules clubbed Diomedes and fed him to his horses.
He then harnessed the horses, took them back to Tiryns, and
then set them free on Mount Olympus.
Labor #9 Bring back the Amazon Girdle
Hercules simply asked the queen of the Amazons for the girdle,
and she gave it to him. Hera was so angry at the ease in which
he got the item that she disguised herself and warned the other
Amazon women that Hercules planned to abduct the queen.
When Hercules saw the army coming after him, he figured the
queen had betrayed him. He than killed her and escaped with the
Labor #10 Steal Cattle of Geryon
Hercules had to defeat a son of Ares and several other monsters.
In doing so, he was able to complete this task.
Labor #11 Retrieve the Golden Apples of Hesperides
Hercules convinced the Titan Atlas to help him with this task.
Hercules agreed to take the weight of the world while Atlas
retrieved the apples from his daughters. When Atlas returned, he
did not want the weight of the world again. Hercules agreed to

keep the world but asked Atlas to take it for just a minute so he
could get some cushions for his head. Once Atlas took the
weight again, Hercules took the apples and walked away. On the
way back from this journey, Hercules came across the Titan
Prometheus, who was chained to a rock. He killed the bird
which came every day to feed on his liver, and freed
Labor #12 Retrieve Cerberus from the Underworld
Hercules had to fight Hades to get into the underworld. Hercules
was able to injure Hades, who left for Mont Olympus to be
healed. He then wrestled the three- headed dog Cerberus with
his bare hands and took it back to Eurystheus. After seeing the
dog, Eurystheus had Hercules return the creature to the
underworld. With this last act, Hercules completed his tasks,
was purified, and made immortal.


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