Labors of Herakles

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Geryon and Herakles – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T11:42:32+00:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks|

Herakles fighting the monster Geryon who had three heads and three bodies, on a black-figure vase from Athens (500s BC) As another of the labors he did for King Eurystheus, Herakles had to steal the cattle of Geryon. But Geryon had three heads and three bodies, as you can see in the picture. So he [...]

Herakles – Greek mythology

By |2018-04-23T11:38:41+00:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Herakles as a baby, on a red-figure vase from Athens (400s BC) You might think you already know all about Hercules (the Greeks called him Herakles) from watching the Disney movie, but if you read this you'll see that the Greeks told this story very differently! According to the Greeks, Herakles was the son [...]

Herakles and the hydra – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:40+00:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Herakles fights the Hydra (Athenian red-figure vase, ca. 475 BC, Palermo, Sicily) King Eurystheus then told Herakles he had to go kill the Hydra for another one of his labors. The Hydra was a huge snake with seven heads. Hercules thought, "Well, that sounds easy. I'll just go cut off its heads with my sword." But when [...]

Garden of Hesperides – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:40+00:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Herakles (on the left) frees Prometheus (now in the Louvre) For another of his labors, Herakles had to go bring back three golden apples from the tree of the Hesperides. The Hesperides were the spirits of the evening. The golden apples were a gift from Gaia, the Earth mother, to her daughter Hera, who hated Herakles. On his way to [...]

Nemean Lion – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:40+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Herakles fighting the Nemean Lion - Athenian black-figure vase, 500s BC For the first of his labors, Herakles had to go out and kill a great lion that lived in Nemea (Greece). He strangled the lion with his hands and hit it with his club. Then he skinned it. After that Herakles always [...]

Augean Stables – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:40+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Herakles cleaning the Augean Stables (Metope from Olympia, ca. 460 BC) For one of the Labors of Herakles, Herakles had to clean out the horse stables of King Augeus, which hadn't been cleaned in years and were all full of horse poop. It seemed like it would take forever. But Herakles isn't a superhero for [...]

Herakles and Cerberos – Greek mythology

By |2018-04-23T10:07:40+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

King Eurysthenes hides in a jar, while Hercules threatens him with his dog Cerberus For the last and toughest of his twelve labors, Herakles had to get the three-headed dog Cerberos from the underworld - the land of the dead. King Eurystheus was sure Herakles wouldn't be able to do this one. Nobody comes back from the land [...]

Herakles and Busiris – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:39+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Hercules kills the Egyptians (Athens, 400s BC) In this story, Herakles traveled to Egypt, where he met the king of Egypt, the Pharaoh Busiris. Busiris was a bad king. He captured Herakles, because Herakles was a stranger there, and tried to sacrifice Herakles to the Egyptian gods. This was wrong because it went against xenia. But just as they were [...]

Who was Antaeus? Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:39+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

(Hercules was an enemy of Hera, and Hera is an Earth goddess, and so whenever Antaeus hit the ground, Hera was able to pour more power into him). Athens, 400s BC For one of his labors, Hercules had to fight a very strong man named Antaeus. But Antaeus had a special magic. Whenever he touched [...]