A half-human, half-god hero, Heracles (called Hercules by the Romans) is most well-known for his twelve labors.
Heracles was originally named Alcides by his family before being renamed Heracles in honor of the goddess Hera. He was renamed Hercules by the Ancient Romans.
Many myths talk about Heracles. Most stem from the fact that he was born from a mortal woman by the king of the gods, Zeus. Zeus’s wife, Hera, hated Heraclesbecause he was living proof of Zeus’s infidelity, so she sought to kill Heracles many times throughout his life, starting when he was only eight months old.
Hera sent two massive snakes to kill Heracles and his fully-human, twin half-brother Iphicles. Iphicles cried and hid from the snakes, but Heracles strangled them both with his bare hands.
As a youth, Heracles married the daughter of a king, Megara, and had children with her. In a fit of madness caused by Hera, Heracles killed Megara and their children.
To be purified of his heinous sin, Heracles subjected himself to ten years of servitude to King Eurystheus. A creature of Hera, Eurystheus did whatever she told him to.
As part of his penance, Heracles was sentenced by Eurystheus to twelve impossibly difficult tasks, known as the Twelve Labors. They included killing the Nemean Lion — whose pelt Heracles wore for the rest of his life — the Lernean Hydra, and the man-eating mares of Diomedes, as well as capturing the apples of the Hesperides and the guard dog of the Underworld, Cerberus.
Heracles was killed when his third wife, Deianira, gave him a tunic to wear that was poisoned.