Greek mythology Hercules – The mortal who became a god
When Hercules was born to Alcmene, she named him Heracles. But in Roman, Hercules is pronounced Hercules, which is the name we use for Hercules to this day. Hercules in Greek mythology is a great figure of valor and muscular strength. Hercules’ bravery earned him a place among the gods. After leaving the mortal world, he found a position on Mount Olympus, the abode of the gods.
Zeus, the King of the gods was an unfaithful husband. He had a weakness for worldly pleasures. He fell in love with Alcmene, the wife of Amphitryon. Soon after, Alcmene conceived Hercules. This angered Hera and she tried to kill Hercules. Hercules survived his first fatal assault with a miracle.
When Hercules reached adulthood he became a famous warrior. He also fell in love with a beautiful woman named Megara. Megara became the mother of Hercules’ children and together they formed a happy family. However, things were to be different. Hera vowed to irritate Hercules during his lifetime. She tricked Hercules into a wild fury. In her anger, the mortal god Hercules killed his family. This was exactly what Hera wanted!
When Hercules returned to his normal state of mind, he saw that things were hopeless. He prayed to Apollo to rid him of the crime. Apollo was the sun god that he could read into the future. We find in Greek mythology that Hercules sought advice from him. Apollo assigned him ten important tasks (later it became twelve) as the way to purify his soul.
The oracle of Delphi sent him to Tiryns, where King Eurystheus ruled. Hercules was expected to serve him as a laborer for twelve years of his life. However, the difficult service was not unsuccessful. Apollo promised him immortality. He was going to become a god. However, the great Hercules of Greek mythology had a problem, Hera. In fact, she kept her promise to make Hercules’ life as miserable as possible. However, with the help of Hermes and Athena, Hercules fulfilled his twelve-year term with excellence. Furthermore, he became the greatest mortal on earth to become a god.
Hercules in Greek mythology: what made him so special?
Hercules’ honorable penance and eventual success is what makes him so special. His success brought him immortality, which would have been unthinkable for ordinary mortals. Hercules’ first task was to skin the hideous Nemean Lion after capturing one. His next task was to kill The Lernean Hydra. The Lernean Hydra was a serpent with nine heads, which never brought peace to the lives of those around it. The third task for him was to bring a doe (a sacred red deer) from Ceryneia to the king. The deer was the pet of Diana, the goddess of the Moon.
Hercules’ fourth task was to bring back a live boar from Erymanthus. It was very dangerous for the men and animals that lived around the Erymanthus Mountain. Hercules was then asked to clean the stables of King Augeas in one day. Are you wondering what’s so great about it? King Augeas had an impressive number of livestock of cows, bulls, goats, sheep, and horses. Hercules proposed to King Augeas that he would clean the stable only if he rewarded Hercules with a tenth of his cattle.
After this success, Eurystheus planned to do something more difficult for Hercules. He ordered Hercules to drive out a huge flock of birds, which gathered in a lake near the city of Stymphalos. The goddess Athena helped him with a pair of bronze krotala, an item similar to castanets. The Cretan bull was an easy task for Hercules. Hercules wrestled with the bull and then returned it to King Eurystheus.
The eighth task was to bring Diomedes’ man-eating horses. It was followed by the battle against the Amazonian female army to get the belt of Hippolyte, the queen. The tenth job was impressive. Hercules had to go around the world, to bring the cattle of the Monster Geryon. He had three heads and three sets of legs, all joined at the waist.
The difficult task was the eleventh. Eurystheus asked Hercules to get the Apples from the Hesperides. These were the golden apples that Hera gave to Zeus. These apples were strictly guarded by a dragon with a hundred heads, named Ladon, and also by Hesperides, daughters of Atlas. The other obstacle was that Hercules had no idea where these apples of the Hesperides were. Eventually, Hercules found the location of Nereus who he held onto until Nereus gave him the location of the apples of the Hesperides.
Hercules then found out through Prometheus, whom Hercules had helped, that he would have to have Atlas retrieve the apples. Hercules agreed to hold heaven and earth while Atlas retrieved the apples. When Atlas returned with the apples, he told Hercules that if he could hold onto heaven and earth for the rest of time, he would take them to Eurystheus himself. But Hercules tricked Atlas by asking him to hold the earth until he covered his shoulders. Atlas took the place of Hercules holding the earth, and Hercules picked up the apples and ran.
After making the great Hercules do all sorts of incredible errands, Eurystheus made sure he didn’t succeed last time. So, he ordered Hercules to kidnap Cerberus, the beast from the underworld. Have you ever heard of a living man visiting Hades? However, Greek mythology tells us that Hercules was no ordinary man. He was a hero.
He eventually completed all the tasks, purified his soul, and rescued the Trojan princess from a ravenous sea monster. He also made it easy for Zeus to defeat the Giants in a great battle for control of Olympus. He remarried, to the lovely Deianira. She presented him with a cloak, which was covered in what she mistakenly thought was a magical love potion. They told her that the balm would make the person love her forever.
Ironically, it was poison that burned Hercules’s skin. Hercules, unable to bear the pain, asked his friends to light a fire. So Hercules was placed in the fire to be burned alive. But the gods looked down and Zeus thought that Hercules had suffered enough. So he asked Hera to end her anger at Hercules, which he did. Hercules was then taken to Olympus in Athena’s chariot at the request of Zeus.
This mortal Greek Hercules is without a doubt the greatest hero of Greek mythology. Hercules is still considered the perfect mythical character.