Hercules: A champion of men, loved by all gods but one
Hercules has been renowned in Greek mythology as the greatest of all heroes. He was a demigod, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal woman and granddaughter of Perseus. Alcemene was married to Amfitrion at the time, but they had to flee to Thebes because Amfitrion accidentally killed Alcmene’s father Helectrion. Alcmene was so fair and beautiful that Zeus took the form of Amfitrion and seduced her. Zeus announced to all the Olympians gods that his son to-be born would be the new heir of Perseus’s lineage and would become the king of the Persides. Hera ever jealous of Zeus’s infidelities could never take lightly the birth of his child with another woman, let alone a mortal one. To add to this insult Zeus secretly placed the infant on Hera’s bosoms as she was sleeping. His feeding on her milk gave him super human strength and made him a demigod. Once she realized what happened she pulled away and her milk spilled across the heavens. The remains are thought to be the origin of the Milky Way galaxy. Hence, Hera would never seize hatred for Zeus’s illegitimate child. Upon Hercules’s birth she placed two poisonous snakes in his cradle to kill him. But Hercules strangled both snakes showing his heroic potential. Hera put her rage aside for now. She knows when the time is right…
The road to virtue is never easy:
From this time forth Hercules was raised by his step father Amfitrion and learned all the skills and crafts that made him the most legendary hero of all time. According to the myth once of age, Hercules was resting on a cross-road when two beautiful women approached him one evil and one virtuous. The first one told him to follow the easy road ahead. She said that should he go this way, he would live a blissful life, spared from any misery and hardship, but in the end he would be condemned in the minds of people. The virtuous one told him to follow a difficult road, one that was paved with thorns and sharp stones, but if he followed it he would earn the respect and appreciation of the people. He chose the latter…
His hardships came very soon when he caused the war between Thebes and Orchomenos Kingdom. Victorious in the battle, he was given Megara princess of Thebes to be his wife. He had three children with her, but their happiness would not last. Goddess Hera irritated by his successes has been waiting for a long time to make her final strike, she gave him insanity. Hercules in his madness killed Megara and all his children.
The path to greatness:
Hercules realizing what he had done he seek advice from the Delphic Sibyl, who instructed him to go to King of Tirinth Euristheas and serve for twelve years. During that time Hercules performed his famous twelve labors, these were:
1. Slay the Nemean Lion.
2. Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
3. Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
4. Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
5. Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
6. Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
7. Capture the Cretan Bull.
8. Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
9. Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
10. Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
11. Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
12. Capture and bring back Cerberus.
History accounts many more adventures of Hercules afterwards, some of the most notable ones: Freeing of Prometheus from his eternal torment in Tartarus, joining Jason and he Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, conquering Troy and siding with gods in the fight against the Gigantes.
The fall of a hero and the rise of a god:
After Hercules defeated Achelous the river god; he took Deianeira to be his wife. According to the myth Deianeira was abducted by the centaur Nessus. Hecules chased him and shot him with his arrows dipped in Lernaean Hydra’s blood killing him. Before he died Nessus, told Deianeira to take his blood stained tunic. If she ever felt that Hercules was unfaithful to her, Nessus blood had the potency to restore his love for her. Deianeira kept his treacherous advice and kept his tunic. A few years later she offered Hercules the tunic. Upon wearing it Hercules was instantly poisoned, his skin burned and his flesh was exposed. In his final struggle he uprooted several trees and built a funeral fire which Poeas light. His body burnt and only his divine side remains. Through the apotheosis of Zeus Hercules ascends to the Olympus and joins the rest of the gods in their Pantheon.
A mortal who became a hero, a hero who became a god…
Achilles: He was a perfect hero in every way, almost...
Jason and the Argonauts
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Perseus: The first of the heroes of Greek mythology
After the death of King Kretheus the son of Aeolos, Pelias, son of Poseidon, already an old man, seized the throne of Iolkos from his half-brother and rightful heir, Aeson, and killed all those that opposed him.
Theseus: The hero of Athenians
Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danae the only child of Achrisius King of Argos. Achrisius longed for a son to succeed him so he consulted the oracle of the Delphi seeking a resolution.
Triptolemus: Farmers have their own hero
Theseus was the son of Aethra daughter of king Pitheus and King of Troezen. He was raised by Aegeus but his true father might also be Poseidon, because Aethra lay with both of them in one night.
Triptolemus was the oldest son of King Celeus of Eleusis in Attica, and Metaneira. The myth behind Triptolemos is closely linked to goddess Demeter and hear search for Persephone.