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Herakles (Hercules)  

 

HeraklesHerakles was the greatest and most celebrated hero in ancient Greece. He was born at Thebes and was the child of Zeus and Alkmene. Before his birth, Zeus announced to the gods, that a descendant of Perseus would be born, a hero destined to rule over the Perseides.  Hera, the wife of Zeus, hating the unborn, delayed his birth and hastened the birth of Eurystheus, who inherited the throne of Perseus. Later when Herakles was born, she sent two snakes to his crypt, which Herakles struggled them.
When Herakles reached manhood, he waged war against the kingdom of Orchomenos in Boeotia, to whom Thebes was paying heavy tributes. Herakles won the war and in gratitude king Creon of Thebes gave him his daughter, Megara. For many years Herakles lived happily with his wife and had three children with her, but in a fit of madness, which Hera sent to him, he killed them all.
To expiate himself from this horrible act, he visited Delphi and God Apollo ordered him to go to the king of Tiryns, Eurystheus and perform ten heroic feats. When his last labor ended (he actually made twelve), Apollo declared that he would be immortal.
Herakles had many other adventures and among them was the battle of Giants, in which he helped his father Zeus to defeat the Giants, in the battle for the control of mount Olympus.
Herakles is killing Nessus, amphora 615-605 BCHerakles married again later, with the beautiful Deianira, keeping the promise to her brother Meleager, when he met him in Hades. Deianira, afraid that she might lose him, smeared a cloak she had weaved, with the blood of centaur Nessus, who had given her before he was killed by Herakles, with the promise that whoever wears it, he would love her for ever.
When Herakles wore the cloak Deianira gave him, the balm burnt his flesh and in order to end his suffering, he ordered his friend to prepare a big pile of wood, on top of the mount Oete. He went by himself in his funeral pyre, when a cloud with lightning descended from the sky and Athena with her chariot carried him to Olympus, where he was welcomed as one of the immortals.

 

The twelve labors of Herakles (Hercules)

 

The Lion of Nemea
The Lernean Hydra
The hind of Keryneia
The boar of Erymanthus
The stables of Augeia's
The Stymphalian birds
The Cretan bull
The mares of Diomedes
The girdle of Hippolyte
The cattle of Geryon
The apples of Hesperides
The Kerberus

 Map of Herakles labors in Peloponnese

 

 

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