ancient indian history

Haracles the son of Zeus

Haracles or Hercules:
According to Homer, Heracles was the son of Zeus by Alcmene, the
wife of Amphitrycn, of Thebes Boeotia On the day on which Heracle was born,
Zeus boasted of becoming the father of a hero destined to rule over the race of Perseus, who was the grand
father of both of Amphitryon and Alcmene. Hera prevailed upon him to swear that the descendant of Perseus, born that day, should be the ruler.
Thereupon she hastened to Argos and there caused the wife of Sthenelus, the son of Perseus, to give
birth to Eurystheus; whereas she delayed the birth of Heracles, and thus robbed him of the empire, which
Zeus had destined for him. Zeus was enraged, but could not violate his oath. Alcmene brought into the world two boys, Heracles, the son of Zeus, and
Iphicles, the son of Amphitryon, who was one night younger than Heracles. While yet in the cradle, Heracles strangled the two serpents, Hera had sent to destroy him. As he grew up, he was instructed Amphitryon in driving the chariot by Autolycus in
wrestling, by Eurytus in archery, by Castor in fghting in heavy armour, and by Linus in singing and playing the lyre. Linus was killed by his pupil with
the lyre, because he had censured him and Amphitryon, to prevent similar occurrences, sent him to feed his cattle. In this manner he spent his life
till his eighteenth year. His first great adventure happened, while he was watching his father’s oxen.
A lion made havoc among the flocks of Amphitryon and Thespius, king of Thespiae. Heracles slew the
lion, Henceforth he wore its skin as his ordinary garment, and its mouth and head as his helmet.
Thespius rewarded him by giving up his fifty daughters to him. Another version is that his lions skin was taken from Nemean lion. He next defeated and killed Erginus, king of Orchomencs,
to whom the Thebans used to pay tribute. In this battle Hercules lost his father, Amphitryon, but Creon rewarded him with the hand of his daughter,
Megara, by whom he fathered many children. The gods made him presents of arms, and he carried a huge club, which he had cut for himself in the
neighbourbood of Nemea. Soon afterwards Heracles was driven mad by Hera, and in this state he killed his own childred by Megara and two of
Iphicles. In his grief he went into exile and met Thespius, who purified him: He then consulted the Oracle of Delphi as to where he should settle. The
Pythia was the first to call him by the name of Heracles-hitherto his name had been Alcides or Alcaeus and ordered him to live at Tiryns, and to
serve Eurystheus for the space of twelve years, after which he should become immortal. At Tiryns,
Heracles performed at the bidding of Eurystheus his twelve labours celebrated as per later writers. Homer
Soon afterwards
Homer mentions only one of the twelve eg his descent Into the lower world to carry off Cerberus. He also
mentions Hercules fight with a sea monster, his
expedition to Troy to fetch the horses which Laomedon had refused him, and his war against the Pylians

Chronologically the twelve labours are:-
(1) Strangulation of the Nemean lion with his hands
(2) Burning away of the eight heads of the Lernean hydra, and burying the ninth, the last and immortal
head, under a rock. This monster was a brother of the Nemean lion. When cut off, two grew in place of each one of its heads. Heracles poisoned his
arrows with the bile of the monster, whence the wounds inficted by them became incurable.
(3)Capture of the Arcadian stag, which had golden antlers and brazen feet
(4) Destruction of the Erymanthian boar. In the course of this and subsequent labours, Hercules
Performed other subordinate ones, called Parerga, the first of which was his fight with centaurs..
5 Cleansing of the stables of Augeas, king of Elis, in one day This Stable of 3000 Oxen had not been cleaned for thirty years He turned the rivers,
Alpheus and Peneus through the stalls, and thereby cleaned them in a single day. Augeas broke his promise to reward Heracles by handing over tenth
patt of his cattle. Heracles, therefore, invaded Elis at a later date and killed Augeas and his sons. After
this he founded the Olympic games.
6 Destruction of the Stymphalian birds brought up by Ares. These birds had brazen claws, wings and beaks, used their feathers as arrows, and ate human
flesh. With the brazen rattle provided by Athena, Heracles startled these birds and killed them with arrows.
(7) Capture of the Cretan bull. Poseidon had gifted this beautiful bull to Minos for sacrifice. But latter sacrificed another in its place. Poselon
punished Minos by driving the bull mad.
(8) Capture of the mares of the Thracian king Domedes
9 Seizure of the girdle of the queen of the Amazons, and on his way back, rescue of Hesione from a monster.
(10) Capture of the oxen of Geryones in the island of Erythia. On his way to this island he reached the
straits of Gibraltar, where he erected two pillars on the two sides of the straits. Annoyed by the heat
of the sun, Heracles shot at Helios (the Sun), who out of admiration for his boldness presented him with
a Rolden cup or boat in which he sailed to Erythia.
There he slew not only the monster Geryones who possessed three bodies but also the giant Eurytion
and his two-headed dog, Orthus, both of whom guarded the former’s oxen. On his way back he returned the boat to Helios.
( 11) Fetching the golcen apples of Hesperides. Hera
had received these apples at her wedding from Ge
the Earth. and had entrusted to the keeping of the Hesperides and the dragon Ladon, on Mt. Atlas.
On arriving at Mt. Atlas Heracles sent Atlas to fetch the apples, and in the meantime bore the weight of
heaven for him. Atlas returned with the apples, but refused to take back the burden of heaven.
Heracles, however contrived by stratagem to get the apples and hastened away. Later the apples
were dedicated to Athena, who returned them to their former place.
(12) Bringing Cerberus from the lower world. Pluto allowed Heracles to carry the monster to the upper
world, but without using the force of arms. Heracles accomplished it.

After he was released from the servitude of Eurystheus at the end of the twelve labours, he had to put in another three years service under Omphale, queen of Lydia, by way of atonement for the murder of Iphitus. During this period and afterwards he
performed many more feats, before he returned home.
Once his wife, Deianira, soaked Heracle’s garment with the blood of the centaur Nessus for pre-serving her husband’s love. But the blood had got
poisoned by the arrow with which Heracles had shot the centaur. The poison penetrated into all his limbs.
Heracles tore away whole pieces from his body in an attempt to wrench off the garment, which stuck to his flesh. He then raised a pile of wood on Mt.
Oeta, and tried to burn himself. When the pile was burning, a cloud came down from heaven. and among peals of thunder carried him to Olympus,
where he was honoured with immortality, became reconciled to Hera, and married her daughter Hebe.
In course of time his worship spread throughout Greece, Rome and Italy. The sacrifices offered to him consisted of bulls, boars, rams and lambs.
Farnese Heracles is his finest representation that has
survived (now in Naples Museum, it is probably a copy of the statue by Lysippus).
Heracles was the object of special worship among the Indo-Greek princes
Euthydemus. He appears to have been adopted by them as a family divinity. He figures very often on their coins. Curiously. he is scrupulously
excluded from coin-portraits by the rulers of the rival Greek house of Eukratides. He is depicted
or standing seated on rock, crowned with ivy, holding or wearing lion’s skin, and always carrying his club, sometimes also a catapult or a paim or a wreath. On one type of Zoilus, Nike is standing on his shoulder crowning him. He was identified by the Indo Greeks with the Indian God Vishnu.
As we are aware, Heracles and Hercules are two different names for the same figure, which is known for heroic feats of strength. Hercules, is Latin version of the original Greek name, Heracles.
He was originally named Alcides by his parents, but later on he was known as Heracles. Hera means pride or glory.

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