12 labours of Hercules

12 labours of Hercules

The Twelve Labours of Hercules

• Hercules = Roman version of Heracles
• Heracles = son of Zeus, king of the gods, and Alcmene [related to Perseus]

• Zeus fathered Heracles because he needed a mortal champion to help against the Giants
• But Hera, queen of the gods, frustrated Zeus’ plans
• Hera sent Hercules into a fit of madness and he killed his family
• To atone, Hercules was forced to do the tasks set by Eurystheus, king of Tiryns

1. The Slaying of the Nemean Lion [Gulf of Corinth]
• Its skin was impervious to harm so Hercules hit it on the head with his club and strangled it
• He wore its skin hereafter

2. The Slaying of the Hydra [lived in Lerna, not far from Argos]
• Hydra = serpent like water beast with 9 heads
• Hercules tried to cut off the heads but when he cut off 1 head, 2 grew in its place
• Hercules’ nephew Iolaus came up with the idea of using a firebrand to scorch the necks after decapitation
• This worked BUT because Iolaus helped, Eurystheus declared the labour void

3. The Capture of the Golden Hind of Artemis [Achaea]
• Chased it for a whole year

4. The Capture of the Erymanthian boar [Achaea]
• He gained advice from the Centaurs, part human and part horse, on how to capture it (using a net)

5. The Cleaning of Augeas’ Stables [Elis]
• The animals were immortal and therefore produced a lot of dung
• Hercules redirected the course of a nearby river to do the job
• This task was declared void by Eurystheus because the river had done the job
6. The Slaying of the Stymphalian Birds [near Corinth]
• They had steel tipped feathers

7. The Capture of the Cretan Bull

8. The Stealing of the Mares of Diomedes [Thrace]
• Man eating mares
• Hercules subdued them after feeding them Diomedes’ flesh

9. The Obtaining of the Girdle of the Amazon Queen [Asia Minor]

10. The Capture of the Cattle of Geryon (grandson of Medusa) [Far West Med]
• Geryon had 3 heads, 3 bodies and 6 hands
• Hercules killed...

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