In This Chapter

The life of Heracles

Authored by: Robin Hard

The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138652606
eBook ISBN: 9781315624136
Adobe ISBN:


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The many myths that developed about Heracles in different parts of Greece fit into a fairly coherent biographical pattern that forms the framework for Chapter 11. The first part covers the myths connected with his origin, birth, and earlier life at Thebes, ending with the story of his first marriage, to Megara, which was brought to a tragic end when he killed his children in a fit of madness. To atone for this, he had to perform twelve labours for Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, which are described in the second part. The third part is mainly concerned with various campaigns that he was supposed to have conducted while still living in the Peloponnese after completing his labours. The final part of the chapter deals with the hero’s life in central and northern Greece, starting with his marriage to Deianeiara at Calydon, and proceeding to his subsequent confrontations with the Centaur Nessos and various local rulers, and ending with the story of his death and apotheosis.

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