Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Heracles was the strongest and most worshipped hero of Ancient Greece

Ever since he was a child, Heracles made it obvious that he was not a common mortal but was in possession of extraordinary strengths and divine gifts.

Birth of Heracles

Heracles was born in Thebes, Greece, when Zeus managed to seduce his love, Alcmene, by transforming himself into her husband. The affair of Zeus with Alcmene resulted in the hatred of Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, and her determination to destroy Heracles in any way possible.

The Tragedy of Heracles and the Labors

When he reached manhood, Heracles married Megara, a princess of Thebes and together they had five children. Hera, however, who still hadn't got her revenge, armed Heracles with a destroying anger, which made him kill both his wife and his children.

When Heracles realized what he had done, he repentantly referred to the Delphic oracle, asking the Greek god Apollo what needed to be done in order to be forgiven for his faults. Apollo advised him to return to his place of origin in order to serve Eurystheus, the King of Tiryns, close to Mycenae. However, Eurystheus was on the side of Hera and tried to exterminate the hero. For this purpose he assigned the hero twelve challenging labors.

The Deification of Heracles

Once Heracles, the son of Alcmene, succeeded with his difficult labors, the gods felt that he had completed a huge task. So they gave him Hebe, the daughter of the great Zeus and Hera, as his wife and Heracles moved to snowy Olympus, happy to dwell among immortals, unharmed from calamities and ageless forever.

The Roman name of Heracles is "Hercules"

Sources
The "Theogony" by Hesiod, 950-955


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