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Myth Madness- Hercules

Disney Herc
In Greek Mythology everyone probably knows or has heard of this guy right here, the Demi-god Hero and son of Zeus; Hercules.

Herc has been revitalized and reborn countless times throughout history as one of Greek Mythology’s greatest hero’s. Romans started by taking the original Greek myth and adapting it to their own, while medieval and even renaissance era’s reprinted and published the works of his legend.
Shown above is his 1997 rendering in Disney’s Hercules, but since then he’s had several live action movies including the 2014 title Hercules.

However the story behind him is a little more risqué than the typical zero-to-hero that Disney might lead you to believe. Herc was the bastard child of the god Zeus and the very mortal Alcmene. Hera, Zeus’ wife sent twin serpents to kill the child before he grew too old in a fit of jealous rage. Her plans failed as when Herc’s caretakers returned, they found the child spouting nonsense while holding a strangled serpent in each hand.

The boy was known for his extreme strength and ability, yet Hera still managed to drive him mad. Herc killed his children, and to atone for his wrongdoings he had to complete 12 trials, or ‘labours’.

• Slay the Nemean Lion.
• Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
• Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
• Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
• Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
• Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
• Capture the Cretan Bull.
• Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
• Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
• Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
• Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
• Capture and bring back Cerberus

Most of these were depicted shortly in the Disney film, usually in some comical fashion. After the labours and his eventual atonement, Hercules continued with a few more adventures before eventually falling to poisonous hydra venom.

The story goes that Herc once allowed a Centaur to ferry his wife across the river, yet the beast ended up attacking her after. Hercules shot the Centaur with an arrow poisoned in hydra venom, killing it before his wife was slain. In a dying breath the beast told Hercules’ wife to take his blood to make a love potion.

She did and to make sure Hercules would stay loyal, coated his tunic with the potion. She however did not know that the blood still contained venom, and Hercules died in pure agony once he put his tunic on. The legend doesn’t end completely sad though, as Hercules became a full-fledged god after death due to his miraculous achievements.

Sources:
http://www.dl.ket.org/latin/mythology/3fables/heroes/hercules.htm

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This entry was posted on 09/09/2014 by in Myth Madness and tagged , , , .
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