Hercules had a complicated family tree. According to legend, his father was Zeus, ruler of all the gods on Mount Olympus and all the mortals on earth, and his mother was Alcmene.
The Lernaean Hydra
You shall not live any longer foul fiend
When Zeus’ wife Hera heard that her husband’s mistress was pregnant, she flew into a jealous rage. First, she used her supernatural powers to prevent the baby Hercules from becoming the ruler of Mycenae.
The Erymanthean Boar
The Nemean Lion First, Apollo sent Hercules to the hills of Nemea to kill a lion that was terrorizing the people of the region. (Some storytellers say that Zeus had fathered this magical beast as well.) Hercules trapped the lion in its cave and strangled it. For the rest of his life, he wore the animal’s pelt as a cloak.
Second, Hercules traveled to the city of Lerna to slay the nine-headed Hydra—a poisonous, snake-like creature who lived underwater, guarding the entrance to the Underworld. For this task, Hercules had the help of his nephew Iolaus. He cut off each of the monster’s heads while Iolaus burned each wound with a torch.
Fourth, Hercules used a giant net to snare the terrifying, man-eating wild boar of Mount Erymanthus.
TLater in his life, Hercules had a number of other adventures—rescuing the princess of Troy, battling for control of Mount Olympus—but none were as taxing, or as significant, as the labors had been. When he died, Athena carried him to Olympus on her chariot. According to legend, he spent the rest of eternity with the gods.