Labors of Hercules

Facebook Twitter

Labours of Hercules. The twelve labours of Hercules or dodekathlon (Greek: δωδέκαθλον, dodekathlon) are a series of episodes concerning a penance carried out by Heracles, the greatest of the Greek heroes, whose name was later Romanised as Hercules.

Labours of Hercules

The episodes were later connected by a continuous narrative. The establishment of a fixed cycle of twelve labours was attributed by the Greeks to an epic poem, now lost, written by Peisander, dated about 600 BC.[1] Context[edit] Mares of Diomedes. The Eighth Labour of Heracles[edit] After capturing the Cretan bull, Heracles was to steal the Mares.

Mares of Diomedes

In one version of the story, Heracles brought a number of youths to help him. They took the mares and were chased by Diomedes and his men. Stymphalian birds. In Greek mythology, the Stymphalian birds (Greek: Στυμφαλίδες ὄρνιθες, Stymphalídes órnithes) were man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and were pets of Ares, the god of war.

Stymphalian birds

Furthermore, their dung was highly toxic. They had migrated to a lake in Arcadia to escape a pack of wolves, and bred quickly and took over the countryside, destroying local crops, fruit trees and townspeople. The Sixth Labour of Heracles[edit] Hippolyta. In Greek mythology, Hippolyta, Hippoliyte, or Hippolyte (Ἱππολύτη) was the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war.


The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons. She figures prominently in the myths of both Heracles and Theseus. As such, the stories about her are varied enough that they may actually be about a few different characters.[1] Geryon. Geryon was often described as a monster with human faces.


According to Hesiod[4] Geryon had one body and three heads, whereas the tradition followed by Aeschylus gave him three bodies.[5] A lost description by Stesichoros said that he has six hands and six feet and is winged;[6] there are some mid-sixth-century Chalcidian vases portraying Geryon as winged. Some accounts state that he had six legs as well while others state that the three bodies were joined to one pair of legs.

Augeas. In Greek mythology, Augeas (or Augeias, /ɔːˈdʒiːəs/, Ancient Greek: Αὐγείας), whose name means "bright", was king of Elis and father of Epicaste.


Some say that Augeas was one of the Argonauts.[1] He is best known for his stables, which housed the single greatest number of cattle in the country and had never been cleaned—until the time of the great hero Heracles. Augeas' lineage varies in the sources—he was said to be either the son of Helius and Nausidame,[2] or of Eleios, king of Elis, and Nausidame,[3] or of Poseidon,[4] or of Phorbas and Hyrmine.[5] His children were Epicaste, Phyleus, Agamede (who was the mother of Dictys by Poseidon),[6] Agasthenes, and Eurytus.

Cerberus. Cerberus /ˈsɜrbərəs/,[1] or Kerberos, (Greek form: Κέρβερος, [ˈkerberos])[2] in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed (usually three-headed) dog, or "hellhound" [1][3][4] with a serpent's tail, a mane of snakes, and a lion's claws.[5] He guards the entrance of the underworld to prevent the dead from escaping and the living from entering.


Cerberus is featured in many works of ancient Greek and Roman literature and in works of both ancient and modern art and architecture, although the depiction of Cerberus differs across various renditions. The most notable difference is the number of his heads: Most sources describe or depict three heads; others show Cerberus with two or even just one; a smaller number of sources show a variable number, sometimes as many as 50 or even 100. Erymanthian Boar. In Greek mythology, the Erymanthian Boar (Greek: ὁ Ἐρυμάνθιος κάπρος; Latin: aper Erymanthius) is remembered in connection with The Twelve Labours, in which Heracles, the (reconciled) enemy of Hera, visited in turn "all the other sites of the Goddess throughout the world, to conquer every conceivable 'monster' of nature and rededicate the primordial world to its new master, his Olympian father," Zeus.[1] The Fourth Labour of Heracles[edit] Heracles' fourth labour—by some counts, for there is no single definitive telling—was to capture the Boar.

Erymanthian Boar

On the way there, Heracles visited Pholus ("caveman"), a kind and hospitable centaur and old friend. Hesperides. In Greek mythology, the Hesperides (/hɛˈspɛrɪdiːz/; Ancient Greek: Ἑσπερίδες) are nymphs who tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the neighbourhood of Cyrene[1] or Benghazi[2] in Libya or the Atlas mountains in North Africa at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean.[3] The nymphs are said to be the daughters of Hesperus.[4] According to the Sicilian Greek poet Stesichorus, in his poem the "Song of Geryon", and the Greek geographer Strabo, in his book Geographika (volume III), the garden of the Hesperides is located in Tartessos, a location placed in the south of the Iberian peninsula.


By Ancient Roman times,[when?] The garden of the Hesperides had lost its archaic place in religion and had dwindled to a poetic convention, in which form it was revived in Renaissance poetry, to refer both to the garden and to the nymphs that dwelt there. Nemean lion. The Nemean[pronunciation?]

Nemean lion

Lion (Greek: Λέων τῆς Νεμέας (Léōn tēs Neméas); Latin: Leo Nemaeus) was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles. It could not be killed with mortals' weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than mortals' swords and could cut through any armor. Nowadays lions are not part of the Greek fauna (or the fauna of Europe). Lernaean Hydra. The Second Labour of Heracles[edit] Eurystheus sent Heracles to slay the Hydra, which Hera had raised just to slay Heracles. Upon reaching the swamp near Lake Lerna, where the Hydra dwelt, Heracles covered his mouth and nose with a cloth to protect himself from the poisonous fumes. Cretan Bull. Origin[edit] The myth of Poseidon sending the bull (which seduced Minos' wife) may simply be an earlier version of the myth of Zeus seducing Europa, as in earlier Mycenean times, Poseidon had significantly more importance than Zeus. The change of gods was due to the replacement of the Mycenean culture and religion, with a later one favoring Zeus.

Poseidon and Zeus, which have the same etymological origin (Poseidon deriving from Posei-Deion which means Lord God[citation needed], and Zeus deriving from Deus which also means God[citation needed]), may be the result of the parallel evolution of the same original god in separate cultures, one (Poseidon - who is also associated with horses) becoming associated more with the sea (due to change in the main source of trade), and thus eventually becoming noticeably different. The Seventh Labour of Heracles[edit] Thayod is an engraving of Hercules performing one of his labors as he forces the Cretan Bull to the ground. Ceryneian Hind. In Greek mythology, the Ceryneian Hind (Greek: Κερυνίτιδα Έλαφος), also called Cerynitis or the Golden Hind, was an enormous hind (deer), who lived in Keryneia, Greece. It was sacred to Artemis, the chaste goddess of the hunt, animals and unmarried women.

It had golden antlers like a stag and hooves of bronze or brass, and it was said that it could outrun an arrow in flight.