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This is when he was said to have founded the Olympic Games. They belonged to the god of war, Ares , and lived in the area of the lake Stymphalia, where they destroyed all the surrounding area and the towns. Heracles was unable to go too deep into the swamp as he would eventually drown.

Athena helped him by providing him with a rattle; the sound the rattle produced scared the birds and made them fly from their hiding place. While in the air, they were an easy target for Heracles , who shot many of them down with his poisonous arrows. This was a legendary creature that wreaked havoc on the island of Crete , destroying crops and land.

After getting permission from King Minos , Heracles managed to catch the bull with his bare hands and sent it back to Eurystheus ' court. Upon seeing the creature, Eurystheus hid in his jar and decided to sacrifice the animal to Hera. The goddess rejected the offer, as this would glorify Heracles ' success even more. It was later caught by Theseus and was sacrificed to Athena and Apollo. They were owned by Diomedes, king of Thrace. It was believed that due to their unnatural diet, the horses were seized with madness, uncontrollable and sometimes they even breathed fire. According to one source, Heracles brought a number of young men with him to help him with his task.

After they managed to steal the animals, they were all chased by Diomedes and his army. Heracles told his companion Abderus to take care of the horses, while he was fighting Diomedes.

Labours of Hercules

Upon his return, Heracles realised that Abderus was devoured by the mares. Overcome with anger, Heracles fed Diomedes to his own horses, and later founded the city of Abdera in memory of his friend. After the horses were fed, they became calm and Heracles seized the opportunity to bind their mouths shut. He brought them back to Eurystheus , who either sacrificed them to Hera or left them roam free, as they had now become permanently calm.


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Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus , learned that Hippolyta , queen of the Amazons , had been given a girdle as a gift from her father, Ares , and wanted it for herself. Heracles took some friends with him and set sail for the region of Themiscyra, where the Amazons dwelled.

The Labours of Hercules in the Hall of the Five Hundred

On their way there, they stopped at the island of Paros, where the sons of king Minos of Crete killed two of Heracles ' friends. Thus, two of Minos ' grandsons joined the band, and they all set sail again. After a brief stop at the court of Lycus, a friend of Heracles , they eventually reached the land of the Amazons. At the same time, however, a disguised Hera went to the Amazons and started spreading rumours about Heracles wanting to abduct their queen. The Amazons decided to confront Heracles and rode towards the ship.

The tenth labour of Heracles was to steal the cattle of Geryon , who lived on the island of Erytheia, somewhere in the west.

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Heracles went on his quest, and he first had the cross the desert of Libya. At some point, having been so frustrated at the heat, he shot an arrow at the sun. Helios , the sun god, was so impressed by Heracles ' courage, that he decided to help him by offering him his own golden chariot with which he sailed across the sea from west to east every night.

There, his first obstacle was the two-headed dog Orthrus , brother of Cerberus , the three-headed dog and guardian of the Underworld. One blow with Heracles ' club was enough to kill Orthrus. Eurytion, the herdsman, heard what happened and when he tried to confront Heracles , he was killed in the same way.

Geryon immediately grabbed his three shields and three spears, while wearing three helmets and attacked the hero. There, a giant named Cacus stole some of the cattle, but they were later retrieved, called out by the animals remaining in the possession of Heracles. Heracles managed to get them back within a year. Before he reached Tiryns, though, Hera caused a flood that raised the level of a river so much that it could not be crossed.

Hercules - The Son of Zeus Scene (1/10) - Movieclips

So, Heracles started piling stones into the river, and bridged the two riverbanks. He eventually reached Tiryns, where the cattle were sacrificed to the goddess. So, two more labours had to be completed. Heracles managed to capture the Old Man of the Sea , a shape-shifting sea deity, in order to find out the exact location of the garden. To kill him, Heracles held him high so his feet wouldn't touch the ground, and crushed him with his hands. There are two versions on how Heracles managed to acquire the apples. According to another version, he came across Atlas , the Titan god who was condemned to hold the heavens on his shoulders.

Atlas was also the father of the Hesperides , and thus had access to the garden at any time. Heracles persuaded Atlas to change places for a while, so that Atlas would fetch some of the apples. Atlas agreed and indeed took some of the apples. However, on his return, he decided he did not want to take the heavens back on his shoulders. Heracles tricked him and he said he would be keeping the heavens but wanted to adjust his cloak first.

Atlas agreed to take the heavens back momentarily, but Heracles walked away taking the apples with him.

Labours of Hercules - Wikipedia

The final labour that Heracles had to complete was to capture Cerberus , the three-headed dog and guardian of the Underworld. Before going to the Underworld, Heracles decided to be initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, so that he would be taught how to travel alive from the world of the living to the realm of the dead and vice versa.

He then went to Tanaerum, where one of the entrances to the Underworld lay, and was helped there by Athena and Hermes. According to one version of the story, snakes coiled around their legs and then turned into stone. A different version has it that the god of the Underworld feigned hospitality and invited them to a feast. However, the chairs on which the heroes were seated magically caused forgetfulness, thus keeping them there.


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When the hero tried to save Pirithous , though, the earth started trembling; it seems that because he desired Persephone for himself, it was so insulting that he was not allowed to leave. Heracles found Hades and asked him to take Cerberus to the surface. 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.

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. 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. The Nemean Lion Labor 2: The Lernean Hydra Labor 3: The Hind of Ceryneia Labor 4: The Erymanthean Boar Labor 5: