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Unformatted text preview: He racles – 12 Labours Zeus who had made Alcmene pregnant with his son Heracles, made a declaration that the next son born of his house, the house of Perseus would become king. Hera, Zeus' wife, upon hearing this was enraged and caused her own son, Eurystheus, to be born two months early as he was also of the house of Perseus, while Heracles, was three months overdue. When he found out what Hera had done, Zeus was furious; however, he still had to stand by his proclamation. Hera, determined to make trouble for Heracles, made him lose his mind. In this confused and angry state, Heracles killed his own wife and children. Once the fit had passed and he realised what he had done, he isolated himself from the world, going out into the wilderness and living alone. His cousin Theseus found him and convinced him to pray to the god Apollo who advised him to visit the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle told Heracles that as a penance he would have to perform a series of ten tasks set by his enemy King Eurystheus, the man who had taken his birthright and the man he hated the most. Although Heracles was initially supposed to complete only 10 labours, he was given assistance on two of them so Eurystheus deemed them as not having been fulfilled and so set him two further tasks. The tasks took a total of twelve years to complete. 1: The Nemean Lion - Slay the Nemean Lion The lion had been terrorizing the area around Nemea, and had a hide so tough that no arrow could pierce it. After t rying to slay the lion with his own weapons, a bow and arrow, a club made from an olive tree (which he reputedly pulled out of the ground himself) and a bronze sword, he threw his weapons away. Following it to a cave which had two entrances, Heracles blocked one of the doorways, then approached the lion through the other. Gripping the lion in his arms, and ignoring its powerful claws, he held it tightly by the throat choking it to death. (In some variants, Heracles killed it by thrusting his arm down its throat and choking it.) After many hours t rying unsuccessfully to skin the lion, Athena, in the disguise of an old crone, helped Heracles to realise that the best tools to cut the hide were the creature's own claws. So, with a little divine intervention, Heracles completed his first task. From then on he wore the impenetrable hide as armour. King Eurystheus was so frightened by Heracles' fearsome guise and strength that he forebade him to enter the gates of the city of Mycenae. He half buried a large bronze jar and hid in it, from then on he communicated all his instructions to Heracles through a herald. 2: The Lernean Hydra - Kill the Lernean Hydra The snakelike Hydra had nine heads. If one was cut off two would grow in its place....
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2010 for the course CLASSICS 2200 taught by Professor Sharp during the Spring '10 term at UWO.
- Spring '10