Hercules, identified as one of the heroes of Greek mythology, was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. He was born in the Greek city of Thebes. It is believed that he became immortal when he was suckled by Zeus’ wife, Hera, who was the queen of gods. Hera found out that Hercules was actually the son of her husband Zeus and another woman. Hercules got married and had several children.
To find out who Hercules is one must know that Hera sent him a temporary curse of madness and because of this Hercules killed his wife and children. As a result, he executed the seemingly impossible “Twelve Labors or Deeds” to pay for his madness and the murders of his family.
The ‘Twelve Labours’ included: 1) killing the lion of Nemea; 2) killing the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra; 3) capturing the golden hind of Artemis; 4) capturing the hermit boar; 5) cleaning the stables of Auge in one day; 6) killing the Styphalian birds; 7) Capture the Cretan bull; 8) Steal the mares of Diomedes; 9) Obtain the belt of Hippolyta; 10) Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon; 11) Steal the apples of the Hesperides; 12) Capture and bring back Cerberus.
Relevant Facts of His Life To Know Who Hercules Is
- The name Hercules is derived from the Etruscan name Hercules. It means ‘Glory of Hera’, which is ironic because Hera didn’t like it. In fact, she wanted him dead.
- Hercules had two stepfathers. The first was Host and the second was Radamanthes, another of Zeus’ sons.
- Hercules is depicted as a handsome and muscular young man, usually with a beard.
- Hercules is often depicted with a wooden stick, a lion skin that he wears on one shoulder, and many muscles.
- Hercules’ first wife was Megaara, the daughter of King Creon.
- Hercules had three children with Megaara. Their names were Thersimachus, Creontids and Deicoon.
- He killed Megara and her children when he was cursed by Hera.
- Hercules completed the “Twelve Labours” in 12 years.
- It is believed that Hercules had many children. One belief is that he had a son for each of the fifty daughters of Thespius.
- Hercules was involved in the Hunt for Calydonia and the Argonauts’ Expedition.
- Hercules’ second wife was Deianira. She was captured by the centaur Nessus and tricked into poisoning Hercules with the blood of Nessus. In agony over the poisoned blood, Hercules begged his father Zeus to let him die, even though he was immortal. Zeus agreed and Hercules went up to heaven. He then married Hebe, one of Hera’s daughters and a goddess of Olympia – the goddess of health.
- Hercules has been seen as a hero and depicted as such in the many movies and TV shows that have been made about him.
- It was believed that Hercules’ weaknesses were that he was a glutton and that he liked too many women, even when he was married.
- The most famous statue of Hercules is in the National Museum in Naples, Italy. It’s called the Farnese Hercules.
- The name Hercules is often misspelled as Hercales, Heracules, Herkules, Herkalies, and Hurcales.
Sophocles, Euripides, and Seneca wrote plays depicting Hercules as a hero.
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