See also: Héraclès (homonymy), Hercules
Héraclès (in Greek old Ἡρακλῆς / Hêraklễs ), of its first name Alcide , wire of Zeus and a mortal, is one of the the most venerated heroes ancient Greece. The Greek Mythologie lends a very great number of adventures to him which see it travelling throughout the known world of the Dorien S then of all the the Mediterranean starting from the expansion of large Greece, until the Enfers, and whose most famous twelve work is the , which however represents only one small share of its heroic epic.
It corresponds to the Roman Hercules, with which it is often confused, although Hercules shows sometimes less violent one that his alter Greek ego and knows some specific adventures in Italy.
It is interesting to bring closer the Babylonian epopee to it to Gilgamesh: certain authors thus establish a filiation between the epopee of Gilgamesh, the Glory of Uruk , written in Mésopotamie of the 18th century before Jesus-Christ, and the myth of Hercules, the Glory of Hera , consigned by Homère to the 8th century before Jesus-Christ. Indeed, the similarity is striking between Gilgamesh, king de Uruk, two thirds god and a human third, carrying out a series of works having to lead it to immortality, and Hercules, Gloire of Héra, half god and half man, carrying out 12 work which will lead it to its turn with immortality.
See on this subject the work of the Syrian anthropologist Firas Al-Sawah فراسالسواح (in Arabic only): جلجامش: ملحمةالرافدينالخالدة (دراسةشاملةمعالنصوصالكاملةوإعداددرامي), طب 1, دمشق, 1996 - gilgamesh: malhamat rear-râfidayn Al-khâlida (dirâsa shâmila ma' has Al-nuçûç Al-kâmilat wa i' dâd drâmy, dimashq , 1996, Gilgamesh: the eternal epopee mésopotamienne (study supplements with the whole account and dramatic presentation), Damas, 1996.
Design of Héraclès
The design of Héraclès is not alleviating, indeed, Zeus prepared to face the immortal giants vis-a-vis the gods. Also decided it to give life to a demigod equipped with a force extraordinary, able to overcome wire of Gaia.
Zeus threw its reserved on Alcmène, the wife of Amphitryon, king of Thèbes. One day, Amphitryon engaged his army against the Leucadiens. Benefitting from this absence, Zeus took the appearance of Host, prolonged the one night duration and slept with Alcmène which believed that he was Amphitryon. From return of countryside, Amphitryon learned the subterfuge by the mouth from the god himself which convinces it to accept the situation and not to repudiate his wife. This same night, Amphitryon decided to react and starts the design of his own descent: Iphiclès.
Birth of Héraclès
On order of Héra, the birth of Héraclès was delayed by Ilithyie and this in order to prevent that it does not reign on Tirynthe and Mycènes with the profit of his cousin Eurysthée. This last was born before term, gestation lasted only seven months.
Little time after the birth of Héraclès, Hermes removed the child and placed it in the bed of Héra deadened. The famished child approached the goddess and started with téter. It téta so extremely that divine milk was spread in the sky in a trail blanchâtre, the Milky Way. Of this food, Héraclès became immortal.
The revenge on HéraHéra (Junon), wearied inaccuracies of Zeus (Jupiter), tried, to be avenged, to get rid on several occasions of Héraclès (Hercules).
Héraclès (then named Alcide, of the name of Alcée, father of Host) and his/her twin brother Iphiclès have eight month and sleep in the same room when Héra (Junon) placed in the cradle of each one a viper. Awaked by the whistle of the Iphiclès snakes started to shout, which alerted the parents while Héraclès (Hercules), silencer, has fun and strangles with naked hands the two snakes. This exploit, first of long series is often quoted, and inter alia in Cyrano :
“Roxane: But, since it is cruel, you were stupid
- Of not, this love, to choke it with the cradle!
- Cyrano: Also I tried it, but… null attempt:
- This… new-born, Madam, is small… Hercules.
- Roxane: It is better!
- Cyrano: So that it… strangula like nothing…
- two snakes… Pride and… Doubt. ”
- Of not, this love, to choke it with the cradle!
Another version tells that Amphitryon was unaware of who was his true son. When the two children reached the eight month age, it placed itself the snakes in the cradles in order to put to the test the small children. The result was not made wait by comparing the reaction of Iphiclès with that of Héraclès.
The adolescence of Héraclès
Héraclès and Iphiclès, like all the noble young people, accepted an education with the best trainers.
- Beaver and Pollux taught the raising of the horses and the combat out of weapons to them.
- Chiron was their teacher in Médecine and Astronomie.
- Linos, brother of the musician Orphée and grandson of Apollo, was their Master for the letters and the music. Undisciplined and turbulent, contrary to his/her half-brother, Héraclès accepted a punishment which will not be with its taste. It killed its professor by smashing cranium with the quadrant to him on which Linos obliged its pupil with long and difficult exercises. Héraclès was shown of murder, then discharged, under the terms of the sentence of Rhadamanthe which granted to it self-defense to him.
- Because Héraclès became a threat from its ardor and its lack of self-control, Amphitryon moved away it from the court. It sent his adoptive son to supervise his herds in the countryside where its education was taken again by Teutoros, a Scythian herdsman which taught the shooting with the arc to him (In certain legends, it is reported that it was Rhadamante, which married Alcmène with dead of Host, which taught him the shooting with the arc, or Eurytos, the king of Œchalie).
Héraclès at Thespios
Héraclès was invited in the king Thespios (regent of Thespis, city close to Thèbes) with two precise aims:
- to kill the lion of the Mount Cithéron;
- to generate a descent in the line of the gods.
For the continuation of the events, there exist three versions:
- Thespios let Héraclès court Procris, his/her oldest daughter.
- Thespios is the father of fifty capricious girls. Also, it counted on Héraclès for the engrosser and thus to assagir them. During fifty nights, the girls followed one another and were pregnant. From these unions were born fifty and one son: the Thespiades . Procris, the elder one of the girls, had twins indeed: Antiléon and Hippée.
- Thespios will enivra Héraclès and sent his/her daughters one after the other, the same night. Having the so scrambled spirit, Héraclès believed to be linked with the same girl but fifty times.
In certain accounts, these events occur after Héraclès keep silent the lion and, in reward, is lodged by Thespios.
The lion of the Cithéron mount
The lion of the Mount Cithéron, close to Thèbes, terrorized the kingdom of Créon and Thespios. No hunter dared to face the animal.
At eighteen years, Héraclès carried out the second of its exploits by killing the deer using its bludgeon cut of only one part in a wild olive-tree uprooted on the Hélicon. Héraclès cut up the animal and covered the head of its skin as a helmet. According to some, it would be about the skin of the Lion of Némée.
The war against Minyens
Périérès, the driver of the tank of Ménécée (king of Thèbes and father of Créon), wounded Clyménos mortally the king of Orchomène while launching a stone to him whereas it was in the sanctuary of Onchestos at the time of one of the festivals of Poséidon.
Brought back to half-death to Orchomène, before expiring, it made promise with his son, Erginos, to avenge it. Erginos accepted and engaged its army against king Créon who was demolishes. With an aim of humiliating overcome, Erginos stripped them of their weapons and obliged Créon to provide him annually and during 20 years, a livestock of 100 animals. In order to perceive this royalty, Erginos sent a delegation annually.
After its exploit on the Cithéron mount, Héraclès went down again towards Thèbes and crossed the road of these emissary. Not supporting the humiliation imposed on Créon, Héraclès sliced the nose and the ears with each one of them and made pendentive. The tax collectors were thus sent back to the palate of Erginos.
Héraclès did not stick to this demonstration. In its turn, it led Thébains to the combat vis-a-vis the king of the Minyens. In this fight, Amphitryon will lose the life. Camped in front of the walls, the army of Créon started the head office of Orchomène. One night, Héraclès slipped into the enclosure of the city and set fire to the palate of Erginos. The area was devastated and Minyens are transfered in their turn imposed of renewal fees of 200 heads of cattle.
Later Héraclès married the girl of the king of Thèbes, with which it had several children: the Alcaïdes . Their number varies from two, three or eight. The three principal ones are Thersimaclos, Créontidas and Deicoon.
Lycos the usurper and the madness of Héraclès
The most widespread version
Héraclès left Thèbes for one moment. On his return, king Créon was deceased and it found on the throne some Lycos which passed to be the murderer of Créon. Lycos came from Eubée where it had taken refuge between the defeat of the seven chiefs and the forwarding of the Épigones against Thèbes.
Fearing the influence of Alcaïdes on Thèbes, Lycos decided to carry out the descent of Créon when of accuracy, Héraclès was presented to the palate and killed the usurper.
At the time of the rejoicings which followed the release, Héraclès was hallucinated by Héra and took its sons for wild beasts. It empoigna its arc and transpierced them. Mégara interposed and was not saved. According to the Pseudo-Apollodore, Mégara was not killed and married Iolaos whose brothers had been immolés by Héraclès.
Version of Euripide
In the tragedy of Euripide, the Madness of Héraclès , the reason of the achievement of work is not given.
After the last test with Argos (descent into Hell), Héraclès went to Thèbes and noted the usurpation of Lycos which it killed.
Héraclès amused his/her children tenderly when, the top of the Olympe, Héra madness struck it. It confused its sons with those of Eurysthée and carried out its family. Taking again its spirits little by little and horrified by its acts, it was exiled towards Athens accompanied by Thésée which it had released from the Enfers at the time of its last search.
Oracle and twelve work
See also: Work of Héraclès
After its momentary madness, Héraclès took again its spirits and sank in despair. It was exiled of Thèbes and went to Thespios which purified it. Tormented by the drama, Héraclès consulted the Oracle de Delphes, according to the proposal of his/her brother Iphiclès. The Pythie explained to him why it had, for expier his fault, to put itself at the service of his/her cousin, Eurysthée, with which it maintained an old enmity.
Previously Héraclès bore the name of Alcide in relation to the name of his/her Alcée grandfather, name which it will give up on the councils of the Pythea to adopt that of Héraclès (“glory of Héra”) with a possible aim to calm the goddess. Héraclès went to Tirynthe where Eurysthée inflicted a terrible punishment to him, inspired by Héra: they are the twelve work, considered as unrealizable (to refer to the article detailed for more information).
Once these twelve completed works, which took ten years to him, it became again free, its crime of blood being finally washed.
Died and apotheosis
Héraclès married then Déjanire, girl of Œnoé. Vis-a-vis the large river Événos in prey with an exceptional rising, Héraclès saw that, if it could easily cross it, it could not do it while carrying Déjanire. To them a Centaure was presented then named Nessos which proposed to help Déjanire to cross the river, while Héraclès would swim on its side. When Héraclès arrived, he saw that Nessos tried to misuse Déjanire. He then took a coated arrow of the poison of the Hydre de Lerne and stripped it between the scapulas of Nessos. With the anguish, this last tightened its tunic with Déjanire and says to him to soak it in its blood then to offer it to Héraclès in order to thus ensure itself for eternity of its fidelity.
Well later Déjanire, fearing to lose her husband who was enthusiast of Iole the girl of the king Eurytos, gave the tunic to Lichas which insisted that it covered it. Héraclès felt however that clothing burned it; trying to demolish itself some, it noted that its skin left with, in scraps. It then included/understood the trap in which Déjanire had been let take: the blood of the centaur was soiled by the poison of Hydre de Lerne, which had killed Nessos and which now killed the son of Zeus. Making set up one to rough-hew, it was thrown to it while Déjanire was hung. Zeus could not intervene but a place offered to him on the Olympe, among the gods.
Work of Héraclès
- representations of Hercules on the currencies of the Roman Empire.
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