Who was Hercules? is one of the best-known heroes in Greek and Roman
mythology. His life was not easy–he endured many trials and completed many
daunting tasks–but the reward for his suffering was a promise that he would live
forever among the gods at Mount Olympus.
Why was he consumed by grief? The goddess Hera, who hated Hercules for
being born of her husband’s adultery, had stricken him with a temporary curse of
madness.Consumed by grief, Hercules sought out the Oracle of Delphi, who told
him the path to atonement lay with his cousin, King Eurystheus of Tiryns, a
favorite of Hera’s.
What was his path to atonement?Whether through the trickeries of Hera or his
own temper and lack of restraint, Hercules would endure further troubles. Struck
again by Hera with madness, Hercules killed the prince Iphitus of Oechalia and
was told by the oracle that he must sell himself as a slave to atone for his sin.