"Hercules combatant Achelous." Louvre, Paris, France. The statue above depicts Hercules fighting against the monster Achelous.
Click on image for full size
courtesy of Corel Corporation.
According to the Greek mythology, a particular group of
represents the figure
of the most famous Greek hero, Heracles. Heracles was a muscular man endowed with
extraordinary courage and physical strength. The ancient Romans called him Hercules.
Heracles was the son of the sky god
Zeus and the queen of
Tiryns, Alcmene. When Hera discovered Zeus' infidelity, she decided to kill the
child born from the Zeus' relationship with Alcmene. That child was Heracles. Hera placed two serpents in Heracles' cradle, but the child strangled the snakes with his bare hands, clearly revealing his divine nature. This and many other heroics made Heracles famous throughout the ancient world.
Hera was so annoyed at Heracles' growing fame that she cast a spell of madness over him. Out of control, Heracles killed his own wife and children. His remorse was so profound that when he returned to his senses he could find no peace of mind. He visited the oracle of Delphi to see how he could demonstrate his remorse.
The oracle advised him to obey the orders of Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae. Eurystheus ordered Heracles to accomplish twelve difficult tasks (the so-called Twelve Labors of Heracles). Heracles completed the twelve labors and is celebrated to this day for his great courage and strength.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
More than two thousand years ago, Greeks believed the god Zeus placed the figure of a gigantic lion in the sky with the rest of the stars. This lion lived in the city of Nemea. The people who lived in...more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more