Last Updated 27 Dec 2022

An Analysis of the Most Popular of Greek Heroes, Hercules

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The most popular of Greek heroes, Hercules was celebrated in stories, sculptures, paintings, and even in the geography of the ancient world. Hercules was both the most famous hero of ancient times and the most beloved. More stories were told about him than any other hero. Hercules was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome.

was originally called Aclides, a patronym formed from the name of his grandfather Alceus. Zeus, Hercules father, was the most powerful of the gods. That meant Zeus could do anything he pleased, but it also meant that sometimes Zeus was not a very good husband to his wife, Hera, the queen of the gods. Zeus has cheated on his wife Hera many times and once with a Greek woman named Alcmene. When Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, was away, Zeus impregnated her. This made Hera so angry that she tried to prevent the baby from being born. When Alcmene gave birth to the baby she named him Herakles. The Romans pronounts the name and so do we today. The name Herakles means "glorious gift of Hera" in Greek, and that got Hera angrier. Then she tried to kill the baby by sending snakes into his crib. But little Hercules was one strong baby, and he strangled the snakes, one in each hand, before they could bite him. Hera decided to pay Zeus back by making the rest of Hercules life as miserable as she could.

When Hercules grew up and had become a great warrior, he married Megara. They had two children. Hercules and Megara were very happy, but life didn't turn out for them the way it does in the movie. Hera made Hercules go so crazy that put him into a great rage. murdered Megara and the children. When Hercules regained his senses and saw the horrible thing that he had done and he asked the god Apollo to help him with his problem. Apollo commanded the hero to do certain tasks as a punishment for his wrongs, so that the evil might be cleansed from his spirit. Apollo had many responsibilities. As Phoebus, he was the sun god, and every day he drove the chariot of the sun across the sky. He was the god of healing and music. The Greeks believed that Apollo knew what would happen in the future, and that he could advise people how to act. Hercules hurried to the temple where Apollo gave such advice. It was in the town of Delphi and was called the Delphic oracle. Apollo said that in order to purify himself for the spilling of his family's blood, he had to perform 12 heroic labors.

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Apollo declared that had to go to the city of Tiryns where he would serve for 12 years working for Eurystheus. Eurystheus had a reputation of being very mean. The good news about going to Tiryns is that after the 12 years and he finishes his tasks he well become immortal. That meant that would become a god after he is done his tasks. The 12 labors were the Nemean Lion, the Lernean Hydra, the Hind of Ceryneia, the Erymanthean Boar, the Augean Stables, the Stymphalian Birds, the Cretan Bull, the Horses of Diomedes, the Belt of Hippolyte, Geryon's Cattle, the Apples of the Hesperides, and Cerberus.

Hercules got married a second time, to the Deianira. When Hercules was returning from his last adventure, Deianira gave him a welcome-home present. This was a cloak which she had woven herself. Deianira had a magic balm which a centaur had given to her. The centaur told Deianira that anyone who put on the balm would love her forever. But actually the balm contained a caustic poison. This balm she now smeared into the cloak. When Hercules received the cloak and tried it on, his body immediately began to burn with excruciating pain. He tried to pull the cloak off, but the pain burned even harder and deeper. Suffering in severe pain he asked his friends to build a huge pile of wood on the top of Mount Oeta. This would be Hercules funeral pyre. He laid himself upon the pyre, and told his friends to light it. As the fire began to burn Hercules alive, the great gods looked down from Olympus. Zeus said to Hera that Hercules had suffered enough. Hera agreed and ended her anger. Zeus sent Athena to take Hercules from the pyre, and she brought Hercules to Olympus on her chariot.

The question that is asked is was there really a, well the truth is we well never know and that is what myths are all about.

 

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