In the seventh installment of the 12 Labours of Hercules series, Jason and his friend Hercules have set out to steal the Golden Fleece from the land of Colchis. Together, they will need to build a ship and guide it through a treacherous sea to reach their destination. Heracles, Greek Herakles, Roman Hercules, one of the most famous Greco-Roman legendary heroes.Traditionally, Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene (see Amphitryon), granddaughter of Perseus.Zeus swore that the next son born of the Perseid house should become ruler of Greece, but—by a trick of Zeus’s jealous wife, Hera—another child, the sickly Eurystheus, was born first and became king.
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- . Historian Diodorus Siculus (circa 49 B.C.E.) calls the 12 labors the hero undertook a means to Hercules' apotheosis (deification). A later historian, referred to as Apollodorus (second century A.D.), says the 12 labors are a means of atonement for the crime of murdering his wife, children, and the children of Iphicles.
- Updated February 11, 2017 Infoplease Staff Hercules performed twelve labors given to him by King Eurystheus of Tiryns. For twelve years, he traveled all over to complete these incredible tasks. NOTE: Because different ancient poets gave their own accounts of Hercules's labors, some details may vary.
The goddess Hera, determined to make trouble for Hercules, made him lose his mind. In a confused and angry state, he killed his own wife and children.
When he awakened from his 'temporary insanity,' Hercules was shocked and upset by what he'd done. He prayed to the god Apollo for guidance, and the god's oracle told him he would have to serve Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae, for twelve years, in punishment for the murders.
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As part of his sentence, Hercules had to perform twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible. Fortunately, Hercules had the help of Hermes and Athena, sympathetic deities who showed up when he really needed help. By the end of these Labors, Hercules was, without a doubt, Greece's greatest hero.
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His struggles made Hercules the perfect embodiment of an idea the Greeks called pathos, the experience of virtuous struggle and suffering which would lead to fame and, in Hercules' case, immortality.
To read more about Eurystheus and the reasons for Hercules' Labors, see Further Resources.
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