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Heracles
Heracles
Parents Zeus and Alcmene
Siblings
Immortal children
Mortal children

Many

Wife/husband MegaraHebe
Names Patron of Heroes, Doorkeeper of Olympus
Titles Son of Zeus, God of strength and bravery
Weapons Club, sword, poisonous arrows, his divine strength

Heracles was one of the greatest demigods. He was a demigod son of Zeus anda mortal woman named Alcmene. After gaining immortality, he married the goddess Hebe. Heracles was a demigod of extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females. Heracles used his intellect when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders. Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae.

History

Early life

Heracles always had a dangerous life, even before he was born, all caused by the goddess Hera, queen of the gods. He was another illegitimate child sired by Zeus, king of the gods. He was the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus made love to her after disguising himself as her husband, Amphitryon, home early from war (Amphitryon returned later the same night, and Alcmene became pregnant with his son at the same time.

As with all of Zeus' many illicit affairs, Hera conspired against Zeus' mortal offspring as revenge for her husband's infidelities. His twin mortal brother, son of Amphitryon, was Iphicles, father of Heracles' charioteer Iolaus.

On the night the twins Heracles and Iphicles were to be born, Hera, knowing of her husband Zeus' adultery, persuaded Zeus to swear an oath that the child born that night to a member of the House of Perseus would become High King. Hera did this knowing that while Heracles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheus. Once the oath was sworn, Hera hurried to Alcmene's dwelling and slowed the birth of the twins Heracles and Iphicles by forcing Ilithyia, goddess of childbirth, to sit crosslegged with her clothing tied in knots, thereby causing the twins to be trapped in the womb.

Meanwhile, Hera caused Eurystheus to be born prematurely, making him High King in place of Heracles. She would have permanently delayed Heracles' birth had she not been fooled by Galanthis, Alcmene's servant, who lied to Ilithyia, saying that Alcmene had already delivered the baby. Upon hearing this, she jumped in surprise, loosing the knots and inadvertently allowing Alcmene to give birth to Heracles and Iphicles.

Fear of Hera's revenge led Alcmene to abandon the infant Heracles, but he was taken up and brought to Hera by his half-sister Athena, who played an important role as protectress of heroes. Hera did not recognize Heracles and suckled him. Heracles suckled so strongly that he caused Hera pain, and she pushed him away. Her milk sprayed across the heavens and there formed the Milky Way. But with divine milk, Heracles acquired divine strength that would aid him throughout his entire life. Athena brought the infant back to his mother, and he was raised by his mother and Amphitryon.

His birth name was Alcides, given to him by Alcmene; it was only later that he became known as Heracles. This became an unsuccessful attempt to appease Hera.

He and his twin were just eight months old when Hera sent two giant snakes into the children's chamber. Iphicles cried from fear, but his brother grabbed a snake in each hand and strangled them. He was found by his nurse playing with them on his cot as if they were toys. Astonished, Amphitryon sent for the seer Tiresias, who prophesied an unusual future for the boy, saying he would vanquish numerous monsters and would ultimately become immortal.

In a lyre lesson with his music tutor Linus, he was criticised and scolded, causing Heracles to lose his temper. He killed Linus, breaking his skull. He was sent to tend cattle on a mountain by his foster father Amphitryon. He was visited by two nymphs—Pleasure and Virtue—who offered him a choice between a pleasant and easy life or a severe but glorious life: he chose the latter, that would lead him on a path no better than the second.

Later life

Later in Thebes, Heracles married King Creon's daughter, Megara. They had three children together, and he hoped for a peaceful life, but Hera was not finished with the son of Zeus. One night in a fit of madness, induced by Hera, Heracles killed his wife and children.

Apollo was sent down from the heavens to stop Heracles, wrestling him to the ground. After his madness had been cured with hellebore by Antikyreus, the founder of Antikyra, he realized what he had done and fled to the Oracle of Delphi. Unbeknownst to him, the Oracle was guided by Hera. He was directed to serve his cousin, King Eurystheus, for ten years and perform any task Eurystheus required of him.

The king decided to give Heracles ten labours, but after completing them, Heracles was cheated by Eurystheus when he added two more, resulting in the Twelve Labors of Heracles.

After these long tasks werecompleted, Heracles joined the Argonauts in a search for the Golden Fleece. He also fell in love with Princess Iole of Oechalia. King Eurytus of Oechalia promised his daughter, Iole, to whoever could beat his sons in an archery contest. Heracles won but Eurytus abandoned his promise, believing Heracles had cheated. Despite this insult, he managed to control his anger. Heracles' advances were spurned by the king and his sons, except for one: Iole's brother Iphitus. Heracles killed the king and his sons–excluding Iphitus–and finally took Iole as his spouse. Iphitus became Heracles' best friend. However, once again, Hera drove Heracles mad and he threw Iphitus over the city wall to his death during a house party.

Heracles seeked to purify himself again, but when he begged the oracle of Delphi to aid him, she refused. Enraged, he threatened to kill her, to create a prophecy for himself. He would have succeeded, but Apollo, enraged, stopped him and fought him off. Zeus soon arrived, pleading for Apollo to forgive his son. Apollo agreed, and his oracle Xenoclea proposed that Heracles sell himself into servitude for three years, and he agreed. He was bought by Queen Omphale of Lydia.

Omphale forced to do women's work and to wear women's clothes, while she wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried his olive-wood club. After some time, Omphale freed Heracles and through fate she married him. They had a son named Agelaus. It was at that time that the cercopes, mischievous wood spirits, stole Heracles' weapons. He punished them by tying them to a stick with their faces pointing downward.

While walking through the wilderness, Heracles was set upon by the Dryopes. Heracles had mercilessly slain their king, Theiodamas, over one of the latter's bulls, and made war upon the Dryopes "because they gave no heed to justice in their lives". After the death of their king, the Dryopes gave in and offered him Prince Hylas.

He took the youth on as his weapons bearer and beloved. Years later, Heracles and Hylas joined the crew of the Argo. As Argonauts, they only participated in part of the journey. In Mysia, Hylas was kidnapped by the nymphs of a local spring.//Heracles, heartbroken, searched for a long time but Hylas had fallen in love with the nymphs and never showed up again. The Argo set sail without them.

Heracles came across the Titan Prometheus, suffering his punishment. He shot and killed the eagle that was torturing him (which was his punishment by Zeus for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals). Heracles freed the Titan from his chains and his torments. Prometheus then made predictions regarding further deeds of Heracles.

Years before the Trojan War, Heracles had made another expedition, to Troy, and sacked it. Previously, Poseidon had sent a sea monster to attack Troy. Laomedon planned on sacrificing his daughter Hesione to Poseidon in the hope of appeasing him. Heracles happened to arrive (along with Telamon and Oicles) and agreed to kill the monster if Laomedon would give him the horses received from Zeus as compensation for Zeus' kidnapping Ganymede. Laomedon agreed. Heracles killed the monster, but Laomedon went back on his word. Because of this, Heracles and his followers attacked Troy and sacked it. Then they slew all Laomedon's sons present there except for Podarces, who took the name Priam, who saved his own life by giving Heracles a golden veil Hesione had made. Telamon married Hesione and had a son named Teucer.

Death

Having wrestled and defeated Achelous, god of the Acheloos river, Heracles married Deianira.

While travelling to Tiryns, a centaur named Nessus offered to help Deianira across a fast flowing river while Heracles swam across. However, Nessus while Heracles was swimming across, Nessus attempted to steal Deianira away. Enraged, Heracles shot him with his arrows, which were dipped in the poisonous blood of the Lernaean Hydra. Thinking of revenge, Nessus gives Deianira his blood-soaked tunic before he dies, telling her that should Heracles' love for her diminish, she should give it to her husband and his devotion would be restored.

Years later, Deianira was told that she had a rival, another that Heracles loved. Deianira remembered Nessus' words and gave Heracles the bloodstained shirt. Lichas, the herald, delivered the shirt to Heracles. In that istant, Heracles was consumed by extraordinary pain, the poisons burning and tearing his skin and exposing his bones.

Deianira, struck with greif, killed herself with her husbands sword. Mortified and enraged by his wife's death, he threw Lichas into the sea, thinking he was the one who poisoned him.

Heracles fled, uprooting several trees and building his own funeral pyre. Being layed down, Poeas, father of Philoctetes, lights the fire. As his body burns, only his immortal side is left. Through Zeus' apotheosis, Heracles came to Olympus as he died.

Appearance

Personality

Capabilities

Heracles was the strongest demigod who ever existed. He gained these powers as a baby when he suckled from the goddess Hera.

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