Δευτέρα, 27 Ιουνίου 2016

Hercules : The legendary story of the greatest greek hero

Heracles born Alcaeus or Alcides was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson/half-brother of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well. Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him. Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders. Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the lion skin and the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children. By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have "made the world safe for mankind" and to be its benefactor. Heracles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends (such as wrestling with Thanatos on behalf of Prince Admetus, who had regaled Heracles with his hospitality, or restoring his friend Tyndareus to the throne of Sparta after he was overthrown) and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him, as Augeas, Neleus and Laomedon all found out to their cost. Driven mad by Hera, Heracles slew his own children. To expiate the crime, Heracles was required to carry out ten labors set by his archenemy, Eurystheus, who had become king in Heracles' place. If he succeeded, he would be purified of his sin and, as myth says, he would be granted immortality. Heracles accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus did not accept the cleansing of the Augean stables because Heracles was going to accept pay for the labor. Neither did he accept the killing of the Lernaean Hydra as Heracles' nephew, Iolaus, had helped him burn the stumps of the heads. Eurystheus set two more tasks (fetching the Golden Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus), which Heracles performed successfully, bringing the total number of tasks up to twelve. Not all writers gave the labours in the same order. The Bibliotheca (2.5.1–2.5.12) gives the following order: 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 (he had the help of Atlas to pick them after Hercules had slain Ladon). Capture and bring back Cerberus. After completing these tasks, Heracles joined the Argonauts in a search for the Golden Fleece. He also fell in love with Princess Iole of Oechalia. King Eurytus of Oechalia promised his daughter, Iole, to whoever could beat his sons in an archery contest. Heracles won but Eurytus abandoned his promise. Heracles' advances were spurned by the king and his sons, except for one: Iole's brother Iphitus. Heracles killed the king and his sons–excluding Iphitus–and abducted Iole. Iphitus became Heracles' best friend. However, once again, Hera drove Heracles mad and he threw Iphitus over the city wall to his death. Once again, Heracles purified himself through three years of servitude—this time to Queen Omphale of Lydia. Omphale was a queen or princess of Lydia. As penalty for a murder, imposed by Xenoclea, the Delphic Oracle, Heracles was to serve as her slave for a year. He was forced to do women's work and to wear women's clothes, while she wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried his olive-wood club. After some time, Omphale freed Heracles and married him. Some sources mention a son born to them who is variously named. It was at that time that the cercopes, mischievous wood spirits, stole Heracles' weapons. He punished them by tying them to a stick with their faces pointing downward. Hesiod's Theogony and Aeschylus' Prometheus Unbound both tell that Heracles shot and killed the eagle that tortured Prometheus (which was his punishment by Zeus for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals). Heracles freed the Titan from his chains and his torments. Prometheus then made predictions regarding further deeds of Heracles. Heracles appears as the ancestral hero of Scythia in Herodotus' text. While Heracles is sleeping out in the wilderness, a half-woman, half-snake creature steals his horses. Heracles eventually finds the creature, but she refuses to return the horses until he has sex with her. After doing so, he takes back his horses, but before leaving, he hands over his belt and bow, and gives instructions as to which of their children should found a new nation in Scythia. All of Heracles' marriages and almost all of his affairs resulted in births of a number of sons and at least four daughters. One of the most prominent is Hyllus, the son of Heracles and Deianeira or Melite. The term Heracleidae, although it could refer to all of Heracles' children and further descendants, is most commonly used to indicate the descendants of Hyllus, in the context of their lasting struggle for return to Peloponnesus, out of where Hyllus and his brothers - the children of Heracles by Deianeira - were thought to have been expelled by Eurystheus. The children of Heracles by Megara are collectively well known because of their ill fate, but there is some disagreement among sources as to their number and individual names. Apollodorus lists three, Therimachus, Creontiades and Deicoon; to these Hyginusadds Ophitus and, probably by mistake, Archelaus, who is otherwise known to have belonged to the Heracleidae, but to have lived several generations later. A scholiast on Pindar' s odes provides a list of seven completely different names: Anicetus, Chersibius, Mecistophonus, Menebrontes, Patrocles, Polydorus, Toxocleitus. The divine sons of Heracles and Hebe are Alexiares and Anicetus. Other well-known children of Heracles include Telephus, king of Mysia (by Auge), andTlepolemus, one of the Greek commanders in the Trojan War (by Astyoche). There is also, in some versions, reference to an episode where Heracles met and impregnated a half-serpentine woman, known as Echidna; her children, known as the Dracontidae, were the ancestors of the House of Cadmus. According to Herodotus, a line of 22 Kings of Lydia descended from Hercules and Omphale. The line was called Tylonids after his Lydian name.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heracles

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