In the famous movie version, Hercules’ father, Zeus, is portrayed as a loving and affectionate god. The reality of the myth is completely different. For instance, once Hercules retrieved the apples of the Hesperides (Labor 11), but Eurystheus had no use for the apples, so he had Hercules send them back again. Why Hercules Had to Perform the 12 Labors. Loeb Classical Library Volumes. Create your account. Hercules is one of the most famous heroes in Greek mythology. One more important point needs to be made in connection with these tasks.

… A scion of Zeus, the god of thunder and the ruler of Olympus, Hercules was blessed with incredible strength and agility.

Become a Study.com member to unlock this He was so strong that he defeated the Nemean Lion, a giant lion that was impervious to weapons, using his bare hands. If completed, some of them would have served a useful purpose because they removed the world of dangerous, predatory monsters—or excrement, but others were capricious whims of a king with an inferiority complex: Comparing himself with the hero was bound to make Eurystheus feel inadequate.

Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, High School World History: Help and Review, CLEP Social Sciences and History: Study Guide & Test Prep, High School US History: Homework Help Resource, NY Regents Exam - Global History and Geography: Help and Review, High School US History: Tutoring Solution, Middle School US History: Help and Review, Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl Study Guide, NY Regents Exam - US History and Government: Help and Review, Biological and Biomedical In this state, Hercules imagined he saw Lycus, the tyrant of Thebes who killed Creon and plans to kill Hercules' family, accompanied by his family.

In these, when he came to his senses, Hercules transferred his wife, Megara to Iolaus. He was the son of Tin or Tinia and of Uni. Anyone who could survive the suicide missions on which King Eurystheus had sent the hero must be very powerful indeed. Hercules Seeks Purification for His Crimes, Famous Stories About Men and Women From Greek Mythology.

Since Hercules was doing these tasks to atone for his crimes, Eurystheus insisted there be no ulterior motive. Hera Campana. In the Etruscan mythology, his name was Hercle. When he awoke from his madness, he was struck with grief and sought the Greek god Apollo for answers. Ancient Olympics - Games, Ritual, and Warfare, The 10 Greatest Heroes of Greek Mythology, 1917 English translation of Seneca's tragedy, M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota. But anyway, Hera hated him (she's queen of Gods) because of something I can't remember and anyway she filled him with uncontrollable rage so he killed his wife and children. In this state, Hercules imagined he saw Lycus, the tyrant of Thebes who killed Creon and plans to kill Hercules' family, accompanied by his family. The Pythian also told Hercules to move to Tiryns.

Privacy. On Trachis, Hercules had to serve the Lydian Queen Ompale as punishment for slaying Iphitos. Who Were the Parents of the Greek Hero Hercules? Did a Lion-Headed Monster Exist in Greek Mythology? Hercules quarreled with and killed Iphitos, the son of King Eurytos, and the couple was forced to leave Tiryns for Trachis.

Hercules was given a new set of labors, and he left his wife, telling her he would be gone for 15 months. Willing to do anything to atone for his murderous rage, Hercules obliged. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. Here is a section on the slaughter, from a 1917 English translation of Seneca's tragedy (Translated by Miller, Frank Justus. His name (Hercules) became synonymous for prodigious strength, courage, or size, eg. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. That King Augeas reneged and did not pay Hercules made no difference to Eurystheus. All rights reserved. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1917): In reality, the figures the Greek hero saw were his own children and his well-loved wife, Megara. Instead of being a son of a mortal woman Alcmene, both of his parents were immortal. During this 12-year period, Hercules had to perform the 10 labors the king would require of him.

Apollo told Hercules to visit King Eurystheus to serve him. [To learn more about Hercules' murderous rage, you should read the Hercules Furens tragedies of Seneca and Euripides.]. The Pythian also changed Hercules' name from Alcides (after his grandfather Alcaeus) to what we normally call him, Heracles (in Greek) or Hercules (the Latin form and the one most commonly used today regardless of whether the reference is to a Greek or Roman myth).


For most of his life, Hercules (Greek: Herakles/Heracles) was in thrall to his cousin-once-removed, Eurystheus, the King of Tiryns, but it was not until Hercules committed unspeakable acts that Eurystheus got to have some fun at his cousin's expense—with the help of Hera. Herculean. Hercules is the son of Hera’s husband Zeus and a mortal woman Alcmene; thus he is a constant reminder to Hera of her husband’s infidelity. Hera, who had been angry with Hercules since even before he was born and had repeatedly tried to destroy him, now drove the hero mad and delusional. In order to defend himself and his family, Hercules would need to kill them all. Hercules killed his wife, Megara, and their five children because he was driven insane by Hera, the goddess of family. Eurystheus did not just feel inferior to Hercules; he was also afraid. Marble, Roman copy of a Hellenistic original, 2nd century AD. Who Was Hercules Mother and Was She a God?

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Why did Hercules kill his family?
Other tasks the king of Tiryns set his nephew were make-work. Who was Hercules Wife in Greek Mythology? Zeus was a cruel and amoral tyrant. To learn what further course he must take, Hercules consulted the oracle at Delphi where the Pythian priestess told him to expiate his crime by serving King Eurystheus for 12 years. His original Greek name is Heracles which means something to do with Hera I forget. Here is a section on the slaughter, from a 1917 English translation of Seneca's tragedy (Translated by Miller, Frank Justus. Hercules slew them all (or most of them) and incinerated 2 of the children of his brother Iphicles, as well.