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The Life of Hercules in Myth & Legend - Ancient History Encyclopedia
Wayne Liu Supporting Cast. You can subtitle on Viki and be part of the community too! Learn more. Fetching results Community hasn't filled out any information yet. See Contributor's Wall. Clips 7. Special Feature: Bai Qian: Etern Special Feature: Yang Mi: Eterna Special Feature: Huang Meng Ying He then journeyed to Hades, where he had further adventures in the underworld such as freeing his cousin Theseus from the Chair of Forgetfulness where he had been bound.
He also spoke with the hero Meleager , with whom he had journeyed with the Argonauts, who told him that, when he returned to earth, he should marry Meleager's sister Deianira. Hercules was allowed by Hades to take Cerberus provided he did not hurt the dog. He wrestled Cerberus into submission and brought him back to Eurystheus who was so terrified of the animal that he told Hercules all the labors were done and to bring the dog back to where he'd found it.
Hercules was now free to do as he pleased with his life and, after all he had accomplished, it might be thought that he would now be able to enjoy his days in peace; this would not be so. Whether through the trickeries of Hera or his own temper and lack of restraint, Hercules would endure further troubles. He became the property of Queen Omphale of Lydia who made the hero dress in women's clothing and do needlework with the other ladies of the court.
Omphale eventually took him as her lover and then set him free. He then went on an expedition to Troy which, with the help of other heroes, he conquered long before the Trojan War and then became involved in a war with the Titans of Sicily. The Titans had been defeated centuries before by Zeus but had risen again and, according to prophecy, the gods could only win this time with the help of a mortal hero. Hercules helped to defeat the Titans and rescued the world from chaos and the gods from imprisonment.
He then sailed back to Greece to get revenge on Augeius for refusing to honor his agreement when he cleaned out the stables. Hercules was defeated in this battle because he was still weakened from the war with the Titans. He left Augeius' land and, after further adventures, landed in Calydon where he met and fell in love with the princess Deianira, the sister of Meleager.
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He had to wrestle the river-god Achelous for her hand and won, and so was married. Deianira and Hercules lived happily for a time in Calydon until he accidentally killed his father-in- law 's cupbearer. Although it was an accident, and he was forgiven by the king, Hercules could not forgive himself and so decided to leave the city with Deianira. They reached the river Evenus, and there met the centaur Nessus who offered to carry Deianira across on his back. Upon reaching the other side, however, he tried to rape her and Hercules shot him with one of his arrows.
These were the same arrows Hercules had dipped in the blood of the Hydra, and the centaur was dying quickly when he told Deianira that his blood possessed a special quality as a love potion and that she should take some of it in a vial. If ever she felt that Hercules was losing interest in her, he said, she should sprinkle the blood on his shirt and he would be in love with her forever.
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Nessus understood, of course, that the blood would be deadly to any mortal and this was his revenge for Hercules' arrow. Hercules and Deianira settled in the city of Trachis, started a family, and, again, were happy for a time until Hercules went to war against Eurytus who, like Augeius, had insulted him earlier in life.
He killed Eurytus and took his daughter Iole whom he had won before in an archery contest but been refused as his concubine. Another version of the myth relates how he helped Artemis kill a boar which was ravaging the kingdom and was given Iole as a gift. Hercules then prepared a victory feast and sent word to Deianira to send him his best shirt to wear at the festival.
Deianira, fearing that Hercules was fonder of Iole now than of her, soaked the shirt in the blood of Nessus and then washed away the stains, leaving only the poison. As soon as Hercules put the shirt on, he was seized with agony and began to burn. He tore the shirt from his body but the poison was already grafted to his skin. Since he was a demi-god, he could not die quickly and so suffered as the poison penetrated his body and he became weaker and weaker. Deianira, realizing she had been tricked by Nessus and had killed her husband, hanged herself.
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Hercules climbed Mount Etna where he built his own funeral pyre in a clearing, gave away his possessions, and then lay down with his head resting on his club and the Nemean lion's skin covering him; then the torches were lit and the pyre took flames. Thomas Bullfinch, the famous mythologist, writes:.
The gods themselves felt troubled at seeing the champion of the earth so brought to his end. But Zeus, with cheerful countenance, thus addressed them: "I am pleased to see your concern, my princes, and am gratified to perceive that I am the ruler of a loyal people, and that my son enjoys your favour.
For although your interest in him arises from his noble deeds, yet it is not the less gratifying to me. But now I say to you, Fear not. He who conquered all else is not to be conquered by those flames which you see blazing on Mount Etna. Only his mother's share in him can perish; what he derived from me is immortal. I shall take him, dead to earth, to the heavenly shores, and I require of you all to receive him kindly. If any of you feel grieved at his attaining this honour, yet no one can deny that he has deserved it.
So when the flames had consumed the mother's share of Hercules, the diviner part, instead of being injured thereby, seemed to start forth with new vigour, to assume a more lofty port and a more awful dignity. Zeus enveloped him in a cloud, and took him up in a four-horse chariot to dwell among the stars And so Hercules left the earth to live eternally among the gods and, through the stories of his adventures, to enjoy immortality down through the ages.
His life was not always a happy one, even though he had a god for a father, and his daily struggles and relationships were not made any easier by his strength. Even though he was able to accomplish great deeds, this did not make him immune to those disappointments and dark times that are a part of the human experience. The historian Sir R. Livingstone writes, "The Greeks were fascinated by the spectacle of man and the world, and their fascination is seen not only in their formal philosophy.
Of their poets too it may be said that they were born to see the world and human life - not to moralize or indulge in sentiment or rhetoric or mysticism about it, but to see it" The myths of Hercules show the world as it is: everyone has monsters they need to conquer and seemingly impossible tasks they are faced with and tragedies that seem too hard to bear. As it was in ancient Greece when people would sit and listen to the tales of the hero, so it has been ever since and, even in the modern day, comic books, graphic novels, books, television shows, and Hollywood films featuring Hercules continue to be popular.
He remains a hero anyone can relate to, precisely because his life was so far from perfect and his character was less than ideal. When faced with some difficult situation in life, one can take comfort in the thought that, if Hercules could endure his sufferings, one can survive one's own. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.
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We are a non-profit organization. Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. Thank you! Mark published on 23 July Gilded Bronze Hercules.
Remove Ads Advertisement. Bullfinch's Mythology. Spring Books, Hamilton, E.