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Héraclès (commonly confused or known as "Hercules") is an important character of the Greek mythology. He is a half-god and Zeus' son.

Although widely regarded as a hero throughout ancient Greece and endowed with true moral values, he committed many murders and reprehensible acts throughout his life, although not out of a desire to do evil, simply because of his brutal, dangerous, unreasonable, and stubborn nature.

History

Youth and Early Life

Heracles is descended from Perseus, whose son Alcée (the fort) gave birth to Amphitryon, the foster father of Heracles. On the other hand, Electryon (the brilliant), another son of Perseus, was the father of Alcmène (the strong one). Heracles will be born under the double sign of strength and light. In fact, he has a divine kinship since his biological father is Zeus who wanted to give himself a son capable of being a powerful protector for immortals and mortals alike. Zeus went down to the city of Thebes at night, and there, having taken the shape of Amphitryon, he joined his wife. When Amphitryon returned shortly after a victorious expedition, he threw himself into his wife's arms. From these two successive unions, Alcmène would conceive two false twins: Heracles and Iphicles.

His birth was difficult because of Hera, who delayed him and did not hesitate a few months later to send two snakes to devour him in his cradle; but he suffocated them with his bare hands.

He then received a solid military, sports and artistic education, but he was a difficult pupil because he accidentally killed his music teacher.

By the time he had reached his 18th year, Heracles was sent to the countryside where he undertook to kill the lion of Citheron who was decimating the herds of Amphitryon and his neighbour, King Thespios.

He received a sword from Hermes as a gift, a bow and arrows from Apollo, a golden bib of Hephaestus and Athena gave him a tunic. But generally Heracles is easily recognizable by the lion's skin that covers him and his club.

Armed with his club, he exterminated throughout the world, robbers and monsters of all kinds, he fought tyrants, and the gods themselves. On the "Around Heracles" page you will find a list of all those who are involved in the hero's business, here is a brief summary.

After various exploits he went to Thebes, where he married Megara, daughter of Créon, whom he killed with their common children in a madness. 

To atone for this crime, he had to obey King Eurysthaeus, who imposed on him a series of trials, which were called the "twelve works" of Heracles (or Hercules).

Works of Hercules

According to the authors, the order of "work" differs; the following list was taken from Apollodore (II, 5,1 ff):

  1. Getting rid of the lion of Nemea.
  2. Defeat the hydra of Lerne.
  3. Destroy the Cerynite doe.
  4. Kill the wild boar of Erymanthe. 
  5. Clean the stables of Augias.
  6. Kill Stymphale Lake birds.
  7. Kill the Cretan bull.
  8. Remove the cavals of Diomedes.
  9. Bring back the belt of the Amazon Hippolyte.
  10. Win the battle against Geryon.
  11. Hercules with Atlas in the garden of the Hesperides. 
  12. Cerberus to be chained.

Sequence of His Life

Finally, he married Déjanire, whom he abandoned for Iolé. Déjanire sent her fickle husband a tunic dipped in the poisoned blood of Nessos. As soon as he put on the garment, he felt his flesh burning and saw his body burned up. Then he set up a stake on Mount Oeta, and threw himself into the flames.

Finally, he was admitted to Olympus, received immortality and married Hebe, the goddess of youth.

Powers and Abilities

  • Immortality: Having breastfed by Hera, Heracles became immortal, insensitive to aging, illness and certain physical injuries. However, it can suffer and be poisoned.
  • Superhuman strength: Heracles is endowed with immense physical strength, he has been able to replace the giant Atlas and support the sky on his shoulders, suffocate the Nemean Lion with the strength of his arms and show many other physical feats.
  • Superhuman endurance: Heracles can fight for days or weeks without getting tired. His endurance is generally greater than the monsters he faces, which allows him to defeat them by exhaustion.
  • Skills of warlord: Heracles is a charismatic warlord, capable of arousing warriors to go into battle with ease.
  • Divine equipment: Heracles possesses an armor provided by Hephaestos, a sword provided by Hermes, an arc provided by Apollo and a tunic provided by Athena. He also owns a club that he made himself, and a bow through which he draws his poisoned arrows from the blood of the Hydra of Lerne.

Villainous Acts

  • Heracles killed Linos, his music teacher, who wanted to punish him for his mediocrity, with a blow of Lyre, stool, stone or plectrum according to the versions.
  • He mutilates a regiment of soldiers, emissaries of King Erginos because they had disrespected him.
  • He killed his entire family in a madness provoked by Hera. He will go out and do twelve jobs to make amends.
  • He slaughtered several centaurs and even his master Chiron, for he had stubbornly tried to taste an amphora of wine guarded by the centaur Pholos for other centaurs. This act also causes the death of Pholos, who inadvertently injures himself with an arrow of Heracles and dies instantly.
  • He killed King Diomedes by throwing him away while he was captured and tied in pasture to his own cannibal mares who shred him.
  • He assassinates Queen Hippolyte impulsively following a trick of Hera, believing that she betrayed him when he learns that the Amazons attack him.
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