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HERACLES.

Farnese Juno at Naples, and the Ludovisi Juno in Rome, are copies of this work (see figs. 1 and 2). The Romans identified Hera with their own Juno. (See jono.)

Heracles (Herdklfs) = renowned through Hera; Latin Hercules. Heracles is not only one of the oldest heroes in the Greek mythology, but the most illustrious of all. Indeed, the traditions of similar heroes in other Greek tribes, and in other nations, especially in the East, were transferred to Heracles; so that the scene of his achieve­ments, which is, in the Homeric poems, confined on the whole to Greece, became almost extensive with the known world; and the story of Heracles was the richest and most comprehensive of all the heroic fables.

Heracles was born in Thebes, and was the son of Zeus by Alcmene, the wife of Amphitryon, whose form the god assumed while he was absent in the war against the TelebSI. On the day which he should have been born, Zeus announced to the gods that a descendant of Perseus was about to see the light, who would hold sway over all the Perseidse. Hera cunningly induced her consort to confirm his words with an oath. She hated the unborn sou as the son of her rival, and (in her capacity as the goddess of childbirth) caused the queen of Sthene-lus of Mycense, a descendant of Perseus, to give birth prematurely to Eurystheus, while she postponed the birth of Heracles for seven days. Hence it was that Heracles, with his gigantic strength, came into the service of the weaker Eurystheus. Hera pursued him with her hatred during the whole of his natural life. Heracles and his twin brother Iphicles, the son of Amphi­tryon, were hardly born, when the goddess sent two serpents to their cradle to destroy them. Heracles seized them and strangled them. The child grew up to be a strong youth, and was taught by Amphitryon to drive a chariot, by Autolycus to wrestle, by Eurytus to shoot with the bow, and by Castor to use the weapons of war. Chiron in­structed him in the sciences, Rhadamanthys in virtue and wisdom, Eumolpus (or accord­ing to another account Lmus), in music. When Linus attempted to chastise him, Heracles struck him dead with his lute. Amphitryon accordingly, alarmed at his untamable temper, sent him to tend his flocks on Mount Cithseron.

It was at this time, according to the Sophist Prodicus, that the event occurred which occasioned the fable of the " Choice

1 of Heracles." Heracles was meditating in I solitude as to the path of life which he should choose, when two tall women appeared before him, the one called Plea­sure, the other called Virtue. Pleasure promised him a life of enjoyment, Virtue a life of toil crowned by glory. He decided for Virtue. After destroying the mighty lion of Cithseron, he returned, in his eighteenth year, to Thebes, and freed the city from the tribute which it had been forced to pay to Erginus of Orch5menus. Creon, king of Thebes, gave him, in grati­tude, his daughter Megara to wife. But it was not long before the Delphic oracle commanded him to enter the service of Eurystheus king of Mycense and Tlryns, and perform twelve tasks which he should impose upon him. This was the humilia­tion which Hera had in store for him. The oracle promised him, at the same time, that he should win eternal glory, and in­deed immortality, and change his present name Alcseus or Alcides1 for Heracles (renowned through Hera). Nevertheless, he fell into a fit of madness, in which he shot down the three children whom Megara had born him. When healed of his madness, he entered into the service of Eurystheus.

The older story says nothing of the exact number (twelve) of the labours of Heracles. The number was apparently invented by the poet Pisander of Rhodes, who may have had in his eye the contests of the Phoenician god Melkart with the twelve hostile beasts of the Zodiac. It was also Pisander who first armed the hero with the club, and the skin taken from the lion of Cithseron or Nemea. Heracles was previously represented as carrying bow and arrows, and the weapons of a Homeric hero. The twelve labours of Heracles are as follows: (1) The contest with the invulner­able lion of Nemea, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Heracles drove it into its cavern and strangled it in his arms. With the impenetrable hide, on which nothing can make any impression but the beast's own claws, he clothes himself, the jaws covering his head. (2) The hydra or water-snake of Lerna, also a child of Typhon and Echidna. This monster lived in the marsh of Lerna, near Argos, and was so poisonous that its very breath was fatal. It had nine heads, one of which was immor­tal. Heracles scares it out of its lair with

1 He was called Alccsus (Alkaids] from his paternal grandfather; Alcldes (Alkldes) from alke, strength.

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