Hercules: The Greatest of the Greek Heroes

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Hercules, or known in Latin as Heracles, was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity. In art, Hercules was portrayed as a powerful, muscular man wearing lion's skin and armed with a huge club. He was also described as being a macho man buffoon, who was very impulsive. Hercules’ home and birthing place is in Thebes, Greece. Thebes is a city in central Greece. It plays as an important setting in many Greek myths, such as the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and many other important roles in Greek Mythology. The demigod, Hercules has an interesting origin, he is most famous for his 12 labors, and leaves a legacy in words and expressions. Hercules has an interesting origin. Hercules was conceived by Zeus of divine nature and a mortal woman named Alcmene. Zeus appeared to her one night disguised as her husband, Amphitryon. Her actual husband reappeared to her causing Alcmene to have two sons one of divinity and the other of morality, their names, Hercules and Iphicles. Hera, not to be pleased by her husbands deceitful ways devised a plan to steal Hercules’ birthright of being the high king. Alcmene’s faithful servant Galanthis fooled Lithia long enough for baby Hercules to be born. Alcmene, fearing the goddesses wrath abandons Hercules, but this plan will not suffice. Athena finds the lad and cares for him. She brings Hercules to Hera to be breastfeed giving him his superhuman strength. “After Athena returned, Hercules’ his jealous stepmother, Hera, tried to murder the infant by putting a serpent in his cradle” (Leiff). However, Hercules thought the snakes were just amusing toys, and squeezed them until they died. Everyone surrounding Hercules was amazed at how strong he was as an infant. It was at this poin... ... middle of paper ... ...e underworld. Hercules found Cerberus and wrestled him to the ground. The fiend bit him but that did no real damage. Hercules inflicted no lasting damage on Cerberus except perhaps his pride. After completing this daunting task Hercules carried Cerberus to Eurystheus thus completing his twelve labors. Works Cited Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch's Mythology. 1855. Evinity Publishing 2011. 17 Feb. 2014. www.sacred-texts.com Ellingson, Leiff. “Hercules.” Encyclopedia Mythica.16 May 1999. 17 Feb. 2014. www.pantheon.org Harding, Caroline Hirst and Samuel Bannister Harding. Stories of Greek Gods, Heroes, and Men. Chicago: Scott Foresman and Company, 1897. Sabin, Frances. Classical Myths That Live Today. Morristown, N.J.; Silver Burdett Company, 1958. Tatlock M Jessie. Greek and Roman Mythology. New York: The Century Company, 1917.

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