Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 25 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|Herakles had many adventures following his 12 labors, but was finally driven to suicide by the Centaur Nessus (with the unwitting assistance of Herakles' wife). Why did Herakles commit suicide?||The Labors of Herakles
He was in agony from a poisoned cloak, and, besides, his wife just killed herself. Remember those poisonous arrows from the Hydra? Well, Herakles shot Nessus with one of them after he attempted to assault Herakles wife. Before Nessus died, he told Deyanire (the wife of Herakles) to save his poisoned blood in case Herakles ever stopped loving her. In fact, claimed Nessus, the blood would act as such a powerful love potion that Herakles would never think of another woman again.
A few years later, when Deyanire feared Herakles was getting ready to marry another woman, she dipped a cloak in the Hydra-tainted blood and gave it to Herakles, immediately plunging him into great agony. Deyanire realized what had happened and stabbed herself with a dagger. The despair was too much for Herakles, who finally ordered himself burned on a funeral pyre.
Before this could happen, however, a chariot came down from the heavens and he became the first (and only) mortal brought to Olympus. Being married to Hebe (and thus becoming the son-in-law of Hera) did wonders for his relationship with the wife of Zeus, and he finally lived happily ever after. Or something like that.
|Herakles' final labor was to go to the underworld and fetch the three headed dog named Kerberos (or Cerberus, for you Romans out there). Knowing better than to just go in there and rob the dead, Herakles instead asked Hades for permission. Hades agreed, on one condition. What was that condition?||The Labors of Herakles
that Herakles capture the hound using only his own strength. How do you top a task that had Herakles carrying the entire Earth? Easy...by creating a task that was truly out of this world (or under it, at least)! Herakles indeed wrestled the hound using only his own brute strength (perhaps a triple headlock?). When the task was finished Kerberos was returned safely to the underworld to resume guarding the entrance to the realm of the dead.
|The penultimate task of Herakles was to fetch the golden apples of the Hesperides. There was a slight catch though, as the apples could only be plucked by Atlas, who was rather occupied at the moment. What was Atlas doing that just couldn't wait?||The Labors of Herakles
Holding the heavens on his shoulders. It wasn't a very enjoyable job, carrying the weight of the sky on one's shoulders for all eternity, but someone had to do it. Herakles agreed to hold the heavens up for a little bit while Atlas fetched the apples. After Atlas fetched them, he rather cunningly offered to return the apples to Eurystheus himself instead of Herakles (and probably never intended to return afterwords). Herakles was smarter than that, however, and agreed...if Atlas would only hold the sky up for a moment while he got some shoulder pads! Atlas was fine with that, but Herakles then grabbed the apples and ran.
|Having dealt with birds and bulls, next on Herakles agenda was horses. Specifically, Herakles had to capture the man eating mares of which Thracian King?||The Labors of Herakles
Diomedes. Sources vary somewhat on this labor. Euripdes claims that Herakles did it alone, either harnessing the horses to his chariot or taming them while riding in a chariot drawn by other sources. On the other hand, Appodorus says that Herakles sailed with a band of soldiers to Bistonia, where he drove away the grooms guarding the horses. When Bistone soldiers realized what was going on, they sent soldiers to fight Herakles' men, so Herakles had to entrust the horse to the care of the youth Abderos. Herakles defeated the Bistones, but while he was doing so Abderos tragically was dragged to his death by the horses. The city of Abdera was founded by Herakles in his honor.
|After vanquishing the Stymphalian birds, Herakles next had to deal with a mad bull that was terrifying the inhabitants of what island?||The Labors of Herakles
Crete. King Minos of Crete had promised to Poseidon that he would sacrifice the first animal the sea god sent to him. When this bull arrived, Minos decided it was far too beautiful to kill and instead sacrificed another bull. Poseidon was so angry at this that he made the bull go mad and rampage the countryside. What's more, he also (according to some legends) made Minos' wife Pasiphae fall in love with the bull. The minotaur that came of their relationship would later be dealt with by Theseus.
Herakles brought the bull back to Erystheus, who tried to sacrifice it to Hera. Hera refused,claiming the sacrifice would bring reflected glory to Herakles. Stuck with a bull he didn't know what to do with, Eurystheus released it into the countryside, where it promptly terrorized many more people until being killed by Theseus at Marathon. Nice guy, isn't he?
|Herakles' next task was to drive away an enormous flock of vicious birds at a lake near Stymphalos. He accomplished this with the aid of Athena, who gave him a set of Krotala. What is/are Krotala?||The Labors of Herakles
A musical Instrument. Krotala were similar to castanets and produced sounds by clapping their hands. Herakles' krotala were specially made by Hephaestus (Blacksmith to the Gods). The Stymphalian birds were scared out of the trees by the krotala, enabling Herakles to shoot the birds with his bow and arrow or slingshot.
|Herakles next task was to bring Eurystheus the Hind of Ceryneia. Why was this such a daunting task? ||The Labors of Herakles
The Hind was sacred to Artemis, so Herakles had to capture it without hurting it. Herakles had already earned the wrath of Hera, so it wouldn't have been a good idea for him to anger Artemis as well! After hunting the Hind (a red female deer) for more than a year, Herakles finally shot it out of frustration, wounding it. While he was carrying the Hind back to Eurystheus, Herakles was confronted by Artemis and Apollo. After telling them the truth, however, Artemis forgave him and healed the Hind's wounds.
|After seeing Herakles successfully complete his first task, Eurystheus became so scared that he hid in a jar and issued further commands only through a herald. The first task issued from within the jar was for Herakles to slay the Hydra, a half-brother of the Nemean beast. This was difficult for several reasons. Which was not a difficulty that had to be overcome by Herakles in this task?||The Labors of Herakles
The heads were impervious to attacks by normal swords and clubs.. Herakles wasn't able to make it through this task alone since he couldn't kill one head without more growing in its place. Instead, he brought along his nephew Iolaus. Each time Herakles bashed a head with his club, Iolaus would hold a torch to the corresponding neck, cauterizing the wound so no replacement could grow. He disposed of the final, immortal head by chopping it off and burying it beneath a stone. Not being a man to let good poison go to waste, he then cut open the Hydra and dipped his arrows in the poisonous blood.
Eurystheus, who was still too scared to meet with Herakles personally, decided that this didn't count as one of the original 10 labors since Herakles had help from his nephew. Thus 10 labors became 11.
|Now on to the labors of Herakles themselves. Herakles' first task was to journey to the hills of Nemea and do battle with what type of creature?||The Labors of Herakles
A Lion. This was no ordinary lion, but a (somewhat distant) descendant of Poseidon and Medusa. Its distinguished heritage gave its hide invulnerability to spears and arrows, so Herakles was forced to trap it in a cave and strangle it barehandedly.
The lion was made into the constellation Leo, while its hide and jaws stayed on earth and became the coat and helmet of Herakles.
|Most of the labors Herakles engaged in were at the risk of injury or even death. Why then did he agree to participate in them?||The Labors of Herakles
As punishment for the murder of his wife and children. When Herakles was born Zeus boasted of his fatherhood, an action which rather annoyed Hera (as did most of Zeus's infidelities). Hera then tried to kill Herakles by sending snakes to kill him in his crib (which failed -- the baby Herakles strangled the serpents). Her attempt at murder having failed, she attempted to disgrace Herakles by driving him mad and making him kill his first wife Megara, his children, the children of his half brother Iphicles, and even the King of Thebes. When Herakles regained his sanity he consulted the Oracle at Delphi, who told him that as punishment he must go to Tiryns and perform whatever tasks his cousin Eurystheus imposed on him.
|The tasks were of such difficulty that they could not have been done by any mere mortal. It was fortunate for Herakles, then, that he was only half mortal. His immortal half came from Zeus, his father. His mortal side came from which woman, his mother?||The Labors of Herakles
Alkmene. Alkmene's brothers were killed in a cattle raid at Argos, and she refused to sleep with her husband Amphitryon until he had avenged their deaths. On the same day Amphitryon had his vengeance, Zeus appeared to Alkmene in the guise of her husband and slept with Alkmene. Needless to say, she was rather surprised when her husband came home later that evening.
Linus. Linus was Herakles' teacher and, according to the myth, son of Apollo and Terpsichore. He tried to teach music to the hero, but he was making too many errors. Linus reprimanded him and the hero, angry, killed him by hitting him with his own lyre.
Nine. Lernaean Hydra, this dangerous beast, had nine heads. The eight were mortal, but when someone cut one, two others sprang up from the neck. The ninth head was immortal. Herakles faced the beast and defeated it, with Iolaus' help. Together, they cut and cauterized all the mortal heads and buried the immortal under a great rock.
No. Herakles didn't die normally. According to the myth, when he was travelling to Tiryns with his wife Deianeira, a centaur, Nessus, tried to kidnap her and Herakles killed him. Nessus, in order to get revenge upon the hero, just before his death, poured some of his blood into a shell and told Deianeira that if Herakles ever wanted to abandon her, she had to stain one of his shirts with it and he would love her again. A few years later, when Herakles took a beautiful woman, Iole, as his slave, Deianeira tried to apply Nessus' advice. But the blood burnt Herakles' flesh and he decided to commit suicide. He ask his friends to build a fire and, when they refused, he ordered Poeas to do so. Poeas built the fire and Herakles gave him his bow and arrows. Just before his death, Athena and Hermes took Herakles to Olympus.
Three. Cerberus, the hound of Hades, which Herakles captured, had three heads. It also had a snake for a tail. Generally, it was monstrous and very powerful. Herakles captured it with his bare hands.
To capture Cerberus. The final, and maybe the most difficult, labour of Herakles was to capture Cerberus. This was the hound of Hades, which guarded the gate to Underworld. Herakles asked Plouto for permission to capture the hound and he agreed, with the term that the hero would capture it with his bare hands. Herakles fought and managed to subdue it. He showed it to Eurystheus and then, he left it free.
Iphicles. Iphicles was Herakles' half-brother. He was the son of Alcmene, who was Herakles' mother, and Amphitryon, the king of Tiryns. Of course, Herakles' father was not Amphitryon but Zeus. Iphicles' son was Iolaus.
Iolaus. Iolaus was Herakles' nephew. He helped his uncle kill the Lernaean Hydra. With a torch he cauterized all its necks when Herakles cut them. If he hadn't done this, it would be impossible for Herakles to kill the beast, because from every cut neck two new heads sprang up.