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Heracles 1

(based on Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, by Carlos Parada)

Heracles 1

Heracles 1 (behind his back he is holding the Apples of the HESPERIDES)  

Alcides was the first name of Heracles 1 until a Pythian priestess first called him Heracles 1. The Pythian priestess told him to serve Eurystheus for twelve years and to perform the labours imposed on him, and when the tasks were accomplished he would become immortal.

Amphitryon, king of Thebes, was married with Alcmena and during his absence Zeus took his form and lay with her. Before Amphitryon returned home from war, Zeus came, and prolonging the one night threefold he assumed the likeness of Amphitryon and bedded with Alcmena. But when Amphitryon arrived and she told him that he had come the night before and slept with her, Amphitryon went to Tiresias and the seer told him how Zeus had enjoyed her.

When Heracles 1 was about to be born, Zeus declared that a descendant of Perseus 1, then about to be born, would be king of Mycenae. But Hera, out of jealousy, persuaded Ilithyia to retard Alcmena's delivery, and contrived that Eurystheus, also a descendant of Perseus 1, should be born a seven-month child. In that way Heracles 1, the favourite of Zeus, lost the throne of Mycenae.


Curriculum vitae (Labours in red).


1. Eight months old kills the Serpents.
When Heracles 1 was eight months old, Hera, desiring his death, sent two serpents to his bed. But Heracles 1 arose and strangled the serpents with his hands. And when he was eighteen years old he slew the Lion of Cithaeron. 
2. Education.  Heracles 1 was taught to drive the chariot by Amphitryon, to wrestle by Autolycus, the art of archery by Eurytus 4, to fence by Castor 1, and to play the lyre by Linus 4. 
3. Presents.  He received a sword from Hermes, bow and arrows from Apollo, a golden breastplate from Hephaestus, and a robe from Athena
4. Death of Linus 4.  For being struck by him, Heracles 1 flew into a rage and slew him with a blow of the lyre. 
5. Daughters of Thespius.  King Thespius of Thespiae in Boeotia entertained Heracles 1 for fifty days and each night bedded one of his daughters with him. The children of Heracles 1 by the daughters of Thespius were called Thespiades. Two of them remained in Thebes and seven in Thespiae. All the other Thespiades joined Iolaus 1 in the founding of a colony in Sardinia. 
6. Death of Erginus 1.  Erginus 1 was king of the Minyans. He imposed a tribute to the Thebans after his father was killed by Perieres 2. Heracles 1 met the heralds on their way to Thebes to demand this tribute, and he cut off their ears, noses and hands, and send them back to Erginus 2. Indignant at this outrage, Erginus 2 marched against Thebes. But Heracles 1, having received weapons from Athena and taken the command, killed Erginus 2, defeated the Minyans, and obliged them to pay double the tribute to Thebes. In this war Amphitryon was killed. 
7. Marriage.  As a prize for his courage Heracles 1 received in marriage Megara, daughter of Creon 2, and they had several children: Therimachus, Deicoon 1, Creontiades and Ophites 1 (some say their children were eight in number).

About this time Lycus 6, son of Poseidon and descendant of Lycus 5 from Dirphys in Euboea, killed Creon 2 and seized power in Thebes. He was planning to kill Megara too but was in time detected by Heracles 1 who killed him. 

8. Domestic violence.  Hera drove him mad and he killed his wife Megara, and his children by her he flung into the fire. But some say only his children were killed and that Megara later married another man (see below). Some say that Heracles 1 was about to kill Amphitryon too, but Athena threw a stone at him and rendered him unconscious. 
9. Delphi.  When he recovered his reason he decided to go into exile and, arriving at Delphi, the Pythian priestess told him to dwell in Tiryns, serving Eurystheus for twelve years and to perform the Ten Labours (which became twelve). 
10. Nemean Lion (1st Labour).  His first Labour was to destroy the Nemean Lion. Heracles 1 shot an arrow at him, but when he perceived that the Lion was invulnerable, he broke its neck with his bare hands. 
11. Hydra (2nd Labour)  As a second labour he was ordered by Eurystheus to kill the Lernaean Hydra, offspring of Typhon and Echidna, a monster with nine heads, one of them being immortal. He chopped all heads and the immortal one he buried putting a heavy rock on it. 
12. Cerynitian Hind (3rd Labour)  As a third labour he was ordered to bring the Cerynitian Hind alive to Mycenae. The Hind had golden horns and was sacred to Artemis. So Heracles 1 did not wish to wound it, but at the end he shot it just as it was about to cross a river. He catched it and hastened through Arcadia towards Mycenae. But Artemis and Apollo met him, and rebuked him for attempting to kill her sacred Hind. But Heracles 1 put the blame on Eurystheus, pleaded necessity, and so he appeased Artemis ' anger and carried the Hind alive to Mycenae
13. Erymanthian Boar (4th Labour).  As a fourth labour he was ordered to bring the Erymanthian Boar, which ravaged Psophis, alive. 

14. Death of Chiron. 

While Heracles 1 was hunting the Erymanthian Boar, he was received by Pholus 1 the Centaur. In the occasion a jar of wine belonging to the CENTAURS in common was opened. When the CENTAURS discovered this a fight broke up, in the course of which Heracles 1 repelled them. The CENTAURS took refuge with the wise Centaur Chiron and Heracles 1, then, shot Chiron involuntarily with his poisoned arrows. The wound proving incurable, Chiron renounced immortality in favour of Prometheus 1
15. Augeas' Stables (5th Labour).  The fifth labour was to carry out the dung of the cattle of Augeas, king of Elis, in a single day. Heracles 1 went to Augeas, and without revealing the command of Eurystheus, said that he would carry out the dung in one day, if Augeas would give him the tenth part of the cattle. Augeas was incredulous, but promised. Having taken Augeas' son Phyleus 1 to witness, Heracles 1 made a breach in the foundations of the cattle-yard, and then diverting the courses of two rivers, he turned them into the yard. When Augeas learned that this had been accomplished at the command of Eurystheus, he would not pay the reward. When arbitrators were called Phyleus 1 bore witness against his father and Augeas ordered both Phyleus 1 and Heracles 1 to leave Elis. 

16. Death of the Centaur Eurytion 3. 

Mnesimache's father, Dexamenus 1, betrothed her by force to Eurytion 3, but when he came to fetch his bride, she called for Heracles 1's help and Heracles 1 slain the Centaur. 
17. The Stymphalian Birds (6th Labour).  The sixth Labour was to chase the man-eating birds who used their feathers as arrows. Their place of abode was the Stymphalian Lake in Arcadia. Athena gave Heracles 1 brazen castanets, which she had received from Hephaestus. By clashing these on a certain mountain that overhung the lake, he scared the birds. They could not abide the sound, but fluttered up in a fright, and in that way Heracles 1 shot them.Some of them were also found by the ARGONAUTS
18. The Cretan Bull (7th Labour).  The seventh Labour consisted in bringing the Cretan Bull. Some say that this is the Bull that ferried Europa to Crete, but some say it was the Bull that Poseidon sent up from the sea to Minos 2 (about this last Bull see Minotaur). Heracles 1 came to Crete, and requested aid, but Minos 2 told him to fight the Bull for himself. Nevertheless Heracles 1 caught it and brought it to Eurystheus, and after showing the Bull to him he let it go free. 
19. MARES OF DIOMEDES 1 (8th Labour).  Diomedes 1, king of the Bistonians in Thrace, owned man-eating Mares. Heracles 1 sailed with some volunteers to Thrace, and having overpowered the grooms he drove the Mares to the sea and committed the Mares to the guardianship of Abderus. However the Mares killed Abderus by dragging him after them. But Heracles 1 slew Diomedes 1 and defeated his army. He also founded a city Abdera beside the grave of Abderus. When Heracles 1 returned from Thrace he gave the Mares to Eurystheus. But Eurystheus let them go free and they were destroyed by the wild beasts in Mount Olympus. 
20. The Belt of Hippolyte 2 (9th Labour).  The ninth Labour was to fetch the Belt of Hippolyte 2, queen of the AMAZONS. She had the belt of Ares for being the best among the AMAZONS. Heracles 1 was sent to fetch it because Admete 2, daughter of Eurystheus, desired to get it. When he arrived to the land of the AMAZONS a fight broke up and Heracles 1 killed Hippolyte 2 and stripped her of her belt. And having defeated the rest he sailed away to Troy. After several adventures (see below) he came to Mycenae and gave the Belt to Eurystheus. 

21. Death of the sons of Minos 2. 

When Heracles 1 sailed in order to fetch the Belt of Hippolyte 2, he came to the island of Paros, where the sons of Minos 2 lived. Some of Heracles 1's men landed and were killed. Indignant at this, Heracles 1 killed the sons of Minos 2 and besieged the rest. When he left he took the sons of Androgeus as hostages. 

22. Defeats the Bebrycians. 

In his way to the AMAZONS he came to Mysia, to the court of King Lycus 3 of the Mariandynians. Heracles 1 was entertained by him; and in a battle between him and the king of the Bebrycians, Heracles 1 sided with Lycus 3 and slew many, among others King Mygdon, brother of Amycus 1. And he took much land from the Bebrycians and gave it to Lycus 3, who called it all Heraclea. 

23. Rescues Hesione 2 and gives her as a prize. 

Apollo and Poseidon, desiring to put Laomedon 1, king of Troy, to the test, assumed the likeness of men and undertook to fortify Troy for wages. But when they had fortified it, he would not pay their wages. Therefore Apollo sent a pestilence, and Poseidon sent Sea-monster 2, which snatched away the people of the plain. But as oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon 1 would expose Hesione 2 to be devoured by the sea-monster, he exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea. Seeing her exposed, Heracles 1 promised to save her on condition of receiving from Laomedon 1 the mares which Zeus had given in compensation for the rape of Ganymedes. On Laomedon 1's saying that he would give them, Heracles 1 killed the monster and saved Hesione 2. But when Laomedon 1 would not give the stipulated reward, Heracles 1 threatened to make war on Troy. Having killed Laomedon 1, Heracles 1 assigned her as a prize to Telamon. 

24. Death of Sarpedon 2. 

In Aenus he was entertained by Poltys. And as he was sailing away he shot Sarpedon 2, son of Poseidon and brother of Poltys. 

25. Conquers Thasos. 

After Aenus he came to Thasos and, having subjugated the Thracians who inhabited the island, he gave it to the sons of Androgeus to dwell in (see 21.). 

26. Kills the sons of Proteus 2. 

In Torone he was challenged to wrestle by Polygonus and Telegonus 2 and he killed both in the wrestling match. 
27. The Cattle of Geryon (10th Labour)  As the tenth labour he was ordered to fetch the Cattle of Geryon. Geryon lived in the island of Erythia. He had the body of three men grown together and joined in one at the waist, but parted in three from the flanks and thighs. The cattle was guarded by Orthus, a two-headed hound. When the dog and Eurytion 4, herdsman of Geryon, saw Heracles 1 coming they attacked him, but Heracles 1 killed them both. But Menoetes, who was there pasturing the cattle of Hades, reported to Geryon the presence of Heracles 1 and Geryon attacked him, but Heracles 1 killed him too and took his cattle away. After several adventures (see below) he gave the cattle to Eurystheus. 

28. Killing of wild beasts. 

While he travelled through Europe to fetch the Cattle of Geryon he killed many wild beasts. 

29. The Pillars. 

Coming to Tartessus (a Phoenician city near Gades [C·diz] in Spain) he erected two pillars at the boundaries of Europe and Libya [Africa]. 

30. Gift of Helius

Helius gave him a golden goblet so that he could cross the Ocean. Short after having sailed in the goblet Heracles 1 gave it back to Helius

31. Bandits. 

In Liguria Ialebion and Dercynus, sons of Poseidon, attempted to rob him of the Cattle of Geryon, but he killed them. 

32. Eryx 1. 

In Italy King Eryx 1 challenged Heracles 1 to wrestle for the sake of a bull (which he had taken from the Cattle of Geryon and mingled with his own herds). Heracles 1 killed him in the wrestling, took the bull and drove the herd to the Ionian Sea. 

33. Hera's gadfly. 

Finally he had difficulties to collect the Cattle, which had been dispersed by a gadfly sent by Hera
34. Apples of the HESPERIDES (11th Labour).  Eurystheus ordered Heracles 1, as the eleventh Labour (because he did not acknowledge Augeas' Stables nor the Hydra), to fetch the Golden Apples of the HESPERIDES. These apples were not, as some have said, in Libya, but on Atlas among the Hyperboreans. They were presented by Gaia to Zeus after his marriage with Hera, and guarded by an immortal dragon with a hundred heads. Some say that Heracles 1 sent Atlas to fetch the Apples, first relieving him of his burden, but others say that he killed the dragon and took the Apples himself. But before he reached there he had several adventures (see below). 

34. Cycnus 2. 

When Heracles 1 was in his way to fetch the Apples Cycnus 2, son of Ares, challenged him to single combat near the river Echedorus in Macedonia, but a thunderbolt was hurled between the two and parted them. 

35. Meets proteic Nereus. 

Heracles 1 seized Nereus while he slept, and though he changed into all kinds of shapes, Heracles 1 hold him and did not release him until Nereus told the whereabouts of the Apples and the HESPERIDES. 

36. Antaeus 1. 

Next he came to Libya, where the ruler was Antaeus 1, who used to kill strangers by forcing them to wrestle. Antaeus 1 was son of Gaia, according to some or son of Poseidon, according to others. He became stronger when he touched the Earth, because he derived his strength from it, but Heracles 1 killed him while holding him in the air. And when he had done this he subdued Libya, which at the time was full with wild animals. He also brought large parts of the desert under cultivation so that it was filled with ploughed fields and vineyards and olive orchards. In this way Libya came to know prosperity. Likewise Heracles 1 punished those who defied the law as well as arrogant rulers, giving prosperity to the cities. 

37. Busiris 2. 

And next he came to Egypt, whose ruler Busiris 2 used to sacrifice strangers. Him Heracles 1 sacrificed or slew with his club. 

38. Prometheus 1 unbound. 

Then we went to Ethiopia and there he killed King Emathion, son of Eos, and after that he delivered Prometheus 1. Prometheus 1 moulded men out of water and earth and gave them fire, having stolen it from the gods. But when Zeus learned of it, he ordered Hephaestus to nail his body to a rock in Mount Caucasus. Prometheus 1 was nailed on the rock and kept bound for many years. Every day an eagle came to him and devoured his liver, which grew by night. In that way was Prometheus 1 punished for the theft of fire. But Heracles 1 came to Mount Caucasus killed the eagle and released him. 
39. The Hound of Hades (12th Labour).  The twelfth Labour which Eurystheus imposed on Heracles 1 was to bring Cerberus 1 from Hades (see Underworld for a description of this singular dog). Before performing this Labour Heracles 1 went to Eleusis to be initiated and later he descended to Hades in Taenarum in Laconia. In Hades he saw Theseus, who was not supposed to be there yet, and he rescued him. When Heracles 1 asked Hades for Cerberus 1, Hades told him to take it provided he mastered him without any weapons. Heracles 1 flung his arms round Cerberus 1's head (one of them!), and though the dragon in the dog's tail bit him, he did not released the beast. Having ascended in Troezen, he showed Cerberus 1 to Eurystheus and carried him back to Hades

After the Labours

40. Megara to Iolaus 1.  After the Labours Heracles 1 comes back to Thebes and gives his wife Megara to Iolaus 1, which means the death of Megara mentioned in (8) was perhaps an exaggerated rumour. Some say that Heracles 1 divorced her on the ground that he had lost the children he had by her (whom he had himself killed). Iolaus 1 and Megara had a daughter Leipephilene who was as beautiful as the Olympian goddesses. 
41. In love with Iole.  Heracles 1 won Iole's hand through a contest in archery and yet he did not get the bride (see also 50.). 
42. Raises Alcestis.  The MOERAE had decided that, when King Admetus 1 should be about to die, he might be spared if someone else would voluntarily die in his place. And when the day of his death came neither his father nor his mother would die for him, but Alcestis, his wife, died in his stead. But some say that Heracles 1 fought with Hades and brought her up from the Underworld
43. Death of Iphitus 1.  Not long after, some cattle were stolen by the notorious thief Autolycus 1 (his father gave him the gift of being such a skilful thief that he could not be caught, making him able to change whatever he stole into some other form or colour), and Heracles 1 was held responsible; but Iphitus 1 did not believe it and went to see Heracles 1. And meeting him, he invited him to seek the cattle with him. Heracles 1 promised to do so but suddenly he went mad again and he threw Iphitus 1 from the walls of Tiryns killing him. Heracles 1 went then to see Neleus, the founder of Pylos, in order to be purified for the death of Iphitus 1, but Neleus refused. Instead he was purified by Deiphobus 2 in Amyclae. But Heracles 1 could not find peace after this death and he repaired to Delphi. And not being satisfied with the answers of the Pythian priestess he plundered the temple and carried off the tripod with the idea of starting an oracle of his own. But Apollo opposed him and Zeus threw a thunderbolt between them. 
44. Omphale.  Heracles 1 received an oracle anyway, which declared that the cure for his disease was for him to be sold, and to serve for three years, and to pay compensation for the death of Iphitus 1. So Hermes sold Heracles 1, and he was bought by Omphale, queen of Lydia. During this servitude he punished the CERCOPES at Ephesus, killed Syleus in Aulis, buries Icarus and throws a stone against a statue by Daedalus representing him. And some say that it is after and not before his time with Omphale that he kills King Laomedon 1, rescues Hesione 2 and puts Priam 1 in the throne of Troy (see 23.). Some say also that it is about this time that the expedition of the ARGONAUTS and the Calydonian Boar Hunt take place. Heracles 1 was one of the ARGONAUTS
45. Return from Troy Whenever his return from Troy took place (see 23. and 44.), when Heracles 1 was sailing, Hera sent storms against him, and that is why Zeus, to protect his son, hung her from Olympus. Heracles 1 sailed to Cos, and the Coans, thinking he was leading a piratical squadron, received him with a shower of stones. But he took the city by night, and slew King Eurypylus 4, son of Poseidon
46. Fighting the GIANTS After all this Heracles 1 sided with the OLYMPIANS during the revolt of the GIANTS. His participation in this war was necessary, because the GIANTS could not be killed only by the immortals. A mortal was needed. 
47. Uses Augeas' trick as a pretext for ravaging the Peloponnessus.  Now the time came to remind Augeas of his trick (see 15.). He collected an Arcadian army and marched against Augeas. In the war he killed the MOLIONIDES and Augeas and then he gave the throne to Phyleus 1, Augeas' son. And having captured Elis he extended the war and attacked Pylus. And after taking the city he slew Periclymenus 1, who used to change his shape in battle. And he slew Neleus and all his sons, except Nestor who was too young. During the fight he also wounded Hades, who helped the Pylians and smote Hera on the right breast with a three-barbed arrow and wounded Ares in his thigh. After the Pylians he attacked Hippocoon 2, who had expelled Icarius 1 and Tyndareus from Lacedaemon and became king of the Lacedaemonians. He killed all the Hippocoontides because they had murdered Oeonus, for having killed their dog that had attacked him. In this war the king of Tegea, Cepheus 2, who was reluctant to go to war, perished in battle, together with his sons, helping Heracles 1 against the Lacedaemonians. Heracles 1 restored Tyndareus in the throne of Lacedaemon. 
48. Debauches Auge 2.  Passing by Tegea Heracles 1 seduced Auge 2 and she hid her babe in the precinct of Athena, whose priesthood she held. But the land remaining barren, and the oracles declaring that there was impiety in the precinct of Athena, she was delivered by her father to Nauplius 1 to be put to death, and from him Teuthras 1, prince of Mysia, received and married her. 
49. Meets his fate: Deianira 1.  Heracles 1 and Achelous wrestled for the hand of Deianira 1. Achelous assumed the likeness of a bull; but Heracles 1 broke off one of his horns and married her. Later Heracles 1 and Deianira 1 came to a river, at which the centaur Nessus 2 sat and ferried passengers across for hire. So Heracles 1 crossed the river by himself, but entrusted Deianira 1 to Nessus 2 to carry over. But he, in ferrying her across, attempted to violate her. When Heracles 1 heard her, he shot Nessus 2 in the heart when he emerged from the river. Being at the point of death, Nessus 2 called Deianira 1 to him and gave her a love-charm mixed with the blood that flowed from his wound. 
50. Some of his last exploits.  He marches against the Thesprotians and takes Ephyra. He knows Astyoche 2 and she gives him a son, Tlepolemus 1. Feasting with Oeneus he kills Eunomus 1 accidentally and goes into exile to Trachis, and together with the king of Trachis, Ceyx 2, conquers the Dryopians. Later he meets Aegimius 1, king of the Dorians, who had a dispute about the boundaries of the country with the Lapiths and was helped by Heracles 1 in the war against them. Aegimius 1 adopted Hyllus 1, son of Heracles 1, on the death of the latter. In that war Heracles 1 killed Coronus 1, general of the Lapiths, and Laogoras, king of the Dryopians. After this, passing by Itonus he was challenged to single combat by Cycnus 3, son of Ares and Pelopia 3 and he killed him.When Heracles 1 came to Ormenium, king Amyntor 1 took arms and forbade him to march through, but Heracles 1 slew him. Then he decided to punish Eurytus 4, father of Iphitus 1, perhaps for not having accepted the compensation for the death of the latter that Heracles 1 had offered him. So he killed Eurytus 4, pillaged the city (Oechalia) and took Iole captive (see 41.). 
51. Death and Apotheosis.  At this point Deianira 1 learned about Iole and Heracles 1, and believing that the blood of Nessus 2 was in truth a love-charm (see 49.), smeared a tunic with it and gave it to Heracles 1. When Heracles 1 put it on and proceeded to offer sacrifice the tunic was warmed and the poison of the Hydra (introduced into the blood of the Centaur by the arrow of Heracles 1) began to corrode his skin. Seeing that he was dying Heracles 1 constructed a pyre for himself and gave orders to kindle it. Nobody would do so but Poeas, Philoctetes' father, who passed by and set a light to it. Heracles 1 gave him his bow. Thereafter he obtained immortality, and being reconciled to Hera, he married her daughter Hebe in heaven. 
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Zeus and Alcmena.

Mates and Offspring:

For mates and offspring see: HERACLES 1's OFFSPRING.

  Heracles 1 in GROUPS:







Note: Heracles 2 is one of the so called DACTYLS. Heracles 3, also called Maceris, is a Libyan, celebrated mainly because of his journey to Delphi. Heracles 4 was born very much earlier than Heracles 1; because both bore the same name the deeds of Heracles 4 were transferred to Heracles 1, the majority of men being ignorant of actual facts. Heracles 5 is said to have compiled the sacred books of Phrygia. Heracles 6, a son of Zeus and Asteria 1, is chiefly worshipped at Tyre. For the interesting story about the descendants of Heracles 1, see HERACLIDES, where the consequences are described of the substitution of Heracles 1 by Eurystheus in the throne of Mycenae.

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