Yale Info Hercules


Hercules! Hercules! hercules clash of the gods

pro forma: "on behalf of the form"; for the sake of appearances

prefer et dura : "endure and be tough"

formal: being in accordance with the usual requirements, customs, etc.

durable (durus,a ,um): able to exist for a long time without significant deterioration; tough

Heracles_Hercules_1.jpgwatch hercules online

Hercules: strongest man on earth; son of Zeus/Jupiter and a mortal woman by the name of Alcmena to whom Jupiter appeared as her husband who was away from home. He's tricky like that. She was unaware of her infidelity until her real husband returned home. Imagine her surprise. So, Hercules is a twin. Iphicles is his brother. Their parents (not including Zeus) did not know which infant was divine, but they figured it out pretty quickly.hercules_baby.jpgNormal babies do not act that way!

hercules, hercules
hercules clash of the gods



posse quia posse videntur (vergil):"they are able because they seem to be able" I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

timendi causa est nescire :" to not know is the cause of fear"; ignorance breeds fear

intimidate ( in +timere): to make afraid

possible (posse):able to be

Hercules! Hercules!

Megara: megara.jpg

Hercules' ill fated wife, mother of his sons all of whom he murders in a fit of madness ( they left that out of the Disney movies, I notice). Our poor Hercules was afflicted with a type of divine madness called Ate ( ahhtay), according to Hesiod (Theog.230), a daughter of Eris, and according to Homer (Il. xix. 91) of Zeus, was an ancient Greek divinity, who led both gods and men to rash and inconsiderate actions and to suffering(. She once even induced Zeus, at the birth of Heracles, to take an oath by which Hera was afterwards enabled to give to Eurystheus the power which had been destined for Heracles. When Zeus discovered his rashness, he hurled Ate from Olympus and banished her for ever from the abodes of the gods.


Hera did this to him to punish him for being a son of Zeus, but not of her. She's onery that way. This leads to him having to atone for his crime, hence the 12 Labors of Hercules.


Animum debes mutare, non caelum: "You must change your spirit ( disposition), not the sky." Where ever you go, there you are.

non est ad astra mollis e terris via: " the road from the earth to the stars is not easy" achievement requires effort and hard work

astral : concerning stars

mollify : to make soft; to soothe


Eurystheus:eurystheus.jpg cousin of Hercules, king of Tiryns and Mycenae ( on the peloponnese), given authority to assign tasks through which Hercules might expiate himself for his horrid crime. Eurystheus, who is a weak loser, got his power through Hera's trickery. When Alcmena was in labor, Zeus bragged that the next of his descendents wuld rule over 2 great kingdoms. Hera sent Eurycleia ( goddess of childbirth) to delay the birth until Eurystheus, a descendent of Zeus, was borne( pretty sneaky!)...thus, he fulfills Zeus' prophetic promise. So, Eurstheus, who fears and hates Hercules, sends him off on impossible tasks, thoroughly expecting him to be killed. These impossible tasks are the 12 Labors of Hercules. The first of which is the slaying of the Nemean Lion. The Nemean Lion was maurading about the countryside of Greece, terrorizing everybody. Its skin was invulnerable to weapons, making it very hard to stop the beast. Hercules used his gigantic strength to strangle the thing, then he used the claws of the lion to skin the lion and wears it both as armour and as a badge of honor.

nemean_lion.jpg nemeanlion_vase.jpg

nemean_lion_rubens.jpg [[#|Peter Paul]] Rubens

nemean_lion2.jpg This creature remains tres tres popular in modern popular culture as it has been for a very long time ( see all the above imagines).

praemunitum, praemonitum: Forewarned is forearmed. If you can anticipate what is coming, you can prepare for it.
Non sine pulvere palma.: No palm without dust; no reward without worklaurel-wreath-stock-300.jpg

premonition: warned before
pulverize: to smash into dust

The Lernean Hydra: Labor #2 hydragetty.jpgThe Getty Museum

The Hydra lurked in the swamps of Lernea. It had 9 heads, only one of which was mortal, and to complicate matter further, when one of its immortal heads was cut off, two emerged in its place. It also had poison blood.hydra.jpgA nasty beast...turpis ferus sine dubio.

Capturing the Cerynian Hind: Labor #3

A hind is a fancy word for a female deer ( doe, a deer, a female deer, ray a drop of golden sun, me a name I call myself...I digress) and Cerynia is where this special snowflake of a deer lived. The trick on this one is to capture it without hurting it, because it is sacred to Diane, her special little pet, and she is not a goddess one would ever ever ever ever ever under any circumstances wish to vex in any way ( remember the whole Acteaon debacle, and Niobe...).


hercules clash of the gods


fortis cadere, cedere non potest: "a brave man can fall, he cannot yield "

Arbiter elegantiae - "Judge in matters of taste." We need this as well as a dress code. Youth, just because you can wear something doesn't mean you should.

arbitrary:based on random choice or personal whim (i.e by one's own judgement not by a standard)

precedent(pre+cedere): that which goes before;

He says that the government will set a dangerous precedent if it refuses to allow the protesters to hold a rally.


The Eurymanthian Boar : a big, vicious boar who was coming out daily gouging people to death with his massive tusks. Hercules caught it with a net and took it back to Eurystheus who, you guessed it, hid in a wine jar.

Erymanthian.jpgHey! I got that boar you wanted!

erymanthian_boar.jpgSome Pig that's one big pig

Pholus: Centaur friend of Hercules with whom he was sharing a tottie and it went horribly wrong...

centaur.jpgIt's a little freaky.

Centaur_by_captainsavvy.jpgThis is creepy too. Maybe it's the subject matter.

Hercules in New York


Fortitudine vincimus: "we conquer through endurance"

Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus - "False in one thing, false in all" once a liar, always a liar; the antithesis of a hero

antithesis: the exact opposite of something or someone

falsetto: a very high voice used by a man (such as a male singer)


the Augean Stables: Hercules had to clean out the filth of the never cleaned stables in one day. He diverted two rivers to do it.


the Stymphalian Birds: As everyone knows, birds are creepy to begin with...imagine these birds that shoot their feathers like arrows.

Hercules had to get super spectacular castanets made by none other than Hephaestus to scare them out of the woods so he could shoot them down with his arrows.




durate et vosmet rebus servate secundis: "endure and preserve yourselves for more favorable things"; Vergil, Aeneid ( eum amo)

in defens: for [[#|defending]] (i.e. for the sake of defense)

duress( durus=hard): harsh or severe treatment He confessed under duress.

indefensible: not able to be defended

Coat_of_Arms_of_Scotland_(1660-1689)_svg.pngCoat of Arms Scotland

The Cretan Bull: This bull happens to be the father of the Minotaur ( half man/half bull monster who eats people )whom the hero Theseus slew.

This bull belonged to King Minos of Crete (Minos/Minotaur...it's all coming together now).

Minos himself, in order to prove his claim to the throne, had promised the sea-god Poseidon that he would sacrifice whatever the god sent him from the sea. Poseidon sent a bull, but Minos thought it was too beautiful to kill, and so he sacrificed another bull. Poseidon was furious with Minos for breaking his promise. In his anger, he made the bull rampage all over Crete, and caused Minos' wife Pasiphae to fall in love with the animal. As a result, Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Minos had to shut up this beast in the Labyrinth, a huge maze underneath the palace, and every year he fed it prisoners from Athens.

When Hercules got to Crete, he easily wrestled the bull to the ground and drove it back to King Eurystheus. Eurystheus let the bull go free. It wandered around Greece, terrorizing the people, and ended up in Marathon, a city near Athens.

cretan_bull.jpg minotaur-theseus-2.jpg[[#|Heroes]] everywhere.


faber est quisque fortunae suae: "everyone is the maker of his own fortune" You are the master(or mistress) of your own destiny.

Virtutis fortuna comes: "Courage is the companion of fortune" Fortune favors the brave...hey, where have I heard that before....

fabricate:to make or build (something) ;to create or make up (something, such as a story) in order to trick people He fabricated the story to save his own skin.

virtuous: morally good

The Man Eating Mares of Diomedes diomedes1.jpg

King Eurystheus of Mycenae sent Hercules to Thrace on his eighth labor to claim the man-eating mares of King Diomedes. A young man named Abderus from Pherae joined Hercules with several volunteers to help drive the man-eating mares into the sea, but Diomedes and his soldiers came to attack Hercules on his approach. The mares ate Abderus while Hercules was distracted, but Hercules tamed the mares by throwing to them their own master, Diomedes, to feast upon. The act repulsed the Thracian army and Hercules brought the tamed mares to Mycenae and abandoned them there. Not wanting the now tamed horses, Eurystheus released the mares to the wild. While wandering home the Thrace, they were attacked and killed by wild animals.

painting-diomedes1.jpg Diomedes Devoured by His Horses/ Gusatv Moreau
you reap what you sow


The Belt (aka Girdle) of Hippolyte

The ninth labor imposed on Heracles by Eurystheus, was to bring back the precious girdle of Hipployte, queen of the Amazons. She was the daughter of Otrera and Ares (the god of war). It was Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus, who begged her father for the possession of this symbolic girdle (it gave supremacy and power to the wearer). The Amazons were an all female race and is believed that they lived in the mysterious lands in the north, their capital Temiscyra, lay on the slopes of the Caucasus.

To execute this expedition Heracles had to organize a group of volunteers, among them were Telamon and Theseus. They armed a ship, expecting the Amazons to be hostile against them, then set sail on their long voyage. But when they reached Temiscyra on the mouth of the river Thermodon, they were unexpectedly welcomed by the Amazon women, especially by Hippolyte, who was charmed by the looks of the heroic band. Heracles explained to Hippolyte the reason for their expedition to her far off land, to which Hippolyte replied, you are welcome to take the girdle as a gift. Hera, on hearing this, took the form of an Amazon, then spread a rumor that Heracles had come to steal away their queen, and take her back with him to Greece. The female warriors, in protection of their queen, began fighting the heroes, and in the fierce battle that ensued, Hippolyte was killed by the hands of Heracles, thinking she had betrayed him.

After the battle had been won, Heracles took the girdle and they all made their way home. On their return voyage Heracles saved the life of Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, king of Troy. To save her Heracles killed a sea-monster, to which Hesione was to be sacrificed. This was after a dispute Laomedon had with Apollo and Poseidon. The gods had built the walls surrounding Troy, but Laomedon refused the payment he had promised. Apollo sent a plague and Poseidon a sea-monster. The only way to rid these curses was for Laomedon to sacrifice his daughter. Heracles was also promised payment, a team of horses, but after Heracles rescued Hesione, the king once again refused payment. Heracles gave Hesione to Telamon, his companion in arms who married her, then took her to Salamis in Greece.

Heracles in retribution killed Laomedon and his sons, but spared, at the request of Hesione, Podarces the youngest son, who later became known as Priam which means "bought or ransomed" because Heracles exchanged him for a beautiful veil, which Hesione had embroidered with gold.


hypploita_480x480.jpg Marvel Comics ...[[#|mother]] of Wonder [[#|Woman]].

hippolyte.jpg Heracles and The Amazons

hppolyte_2.jpg Take the [[#|darn]] belt.



Qui scribit bis legit: He who writes reads twice

facta non verba :"deeds not words"; be a doer, not a talker

verbose: wordy

ascribe: to attribute to; to characterize as

Cattle of Geryon:

Geryon had three heads and three sets of legs all joined at the waist.

geryon_original.jpg geryon_painted.jpg

Geryon_by_Eshto.jpg That's freaky freaky freaky.

And the daughter of Ocean, Callirrhoe... bore a son who was the strongest of all , Geryones, whom mighty Heracles killed in sea-girt Erythea for the sake of his shambling oxen.
Hesiod, Theogony, 980
Herodotus_Map.jpgThis is the world as ancient Greeks understood it.


Geryon lived on an island called Erythia, which was near the boundary of Europe and Libya. On this island, Geryon kept a herd of red cattle guarded by Cerberus brother, Orthus, a two-headed hound, and the herdsman Eurytion. Hercules set off on for Erythia, encountering and promptly killing many wild beasts along the way, and he came to the place where Libya met Europe. Here, Apollodorus tells us, Hercules built two massive mountains, one in Europe and one in Libya, to commemorate his extensive journey. Other accounts say that Hercules split one mountain into two. Either way, these mountains became known as the Gates or Pillars of Hercules. The strait Hercules made when he broke the mountain apart is now called the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco, the gateway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.


Sailing in a goblet which the Sun gave him in admiration, Hercules reached the island of Erythia. Not long after he arrived, Orthus, the two-headed dog, attacked Hercules, so Hercules bashed him with his club. Eurytion followed, with the same result. Another herdsman in the area reported these events to Geryon. Just as Hercules was escaping with the cattle, Geryon attacked him. Hercules fought with him and shot him dead with his arrows.



The Apples of the Hesperides :

Eurystheus commanded Hercules to bring him golden apples which belonged to Zeus, king of the gods. Hera had given these apples to Zeus as a wedding gift, so surely this task was impossible.

These apples were kept in a garden at the northern edge of the world, and they were guarded not only by a hundred-headed dragon, named Ladon, but also by the Hesperides, nymphs who were daughters of Atlas, the Titan who held the sky and the earth upon his shoulders.

Hercules' first problem was that he didn't know where the garden was. He journeyed through Libya, Egypt, Arabia, and Asia, having adventures along the way. He was stopped by Kyknos, the son of the war god, Ares, who demanded that Hercules fight him. After the fight was broken up by a thunderbolt, Hercules continued on to Illyria, where he seized the sea-god Nereus, who knew the garden's secret location. Nereus transformed himself into all kinds of shapes,trying to escape, but Hercules held tight and didn't release Nereus until he got the information he needed.Nereus.jpg


Amicus humani generis - A friend of the human race (philanthropist)

Gaudeamus dum sumus juvenes( Carmina Burana): Let us rejoice while we are young

( I put that one on here in honor of Spring and the youthful impulse to blow everything off this time of year, which, sadly, is the time when you most need to not do so...) Some things never ever change...nihil novi sub sole.
carmina burana

juvenile: pertaining to young people

apotheosize: to make into a god

Continuing on his quest, Hercules was stopped by Antaeus, the son of the sea god, Poseidon and Gaia who lived in Africa. He was a a nasty character, he would challenge travelers to a fight, and since he gained strength from contact with the earth, he could not be beaten. He made a temple to Poseidon with the bones of those whom he defeated. I have always pictured it like this ( although, this is something completely different!)bone-church-3.jpg

So, this Antaeus challenged Hercules to fight. Hercules defeated him in a wrestling match, lifting him off the ground and crushing him, because when Antaeus touched the earth (i.e. his mother)he became stronger. After that, Hercules met up with Busiris, another of Poseidon's sons, was captured, and was led to an altar to be a human sacrifice. But Hercules escaped, killing Busiris, and journeyed on.hercules-and-antaeus-.jpg

Hercules came to the rock on Mount Caucasus where Prometheus was chained. Prometheus, a trickster who made fun of the gods and stole the secret of fire from them, was sentenced by Zeus to a horrible fate. He was bound to the mountain, and every day a monstrous eagle came and ate his liver, pecking away at Prometheus' tortured body. After the eagle flew off, Prometheus' liver grew back, and the next day he had to endure the eagle's painful visit all over again. This went on for 30 years, until Hercules showed up and killed the eagle.Prometheus-Bound.jpg

In gratitude, Prometheus told Hercules the secret to getting the apples. He would have to send Atlas after them, instead of going himself. Atlas hated holding up the sky and the earth so much that he would agree to the task of fetching the apples, in order to pass his burden over to Hercules. Everything happened as Prometheus had predicted, and Atlas went to get the apples while Hercules was stuck in Atlas's place, with the weight of the world literally on his shoulders.

When Atlas returned with the golden apples, he told Hercules he would take them to Eurystheus himself, and asked Hercules to stay there and hold the heavy load for the rest of time. Hercules slyly agreed, but asked Atlas whether he could take it back again, just for a moment, while the hero put some soft padding on his shoulders to help him bear the weight of the sky and the earth. Atlas put the apples on the ground, and lifted the burden onto his own shoulders. And so Hercules picked up the apples and quickly ran off, carrying them back, uneventfully, to Eurystheus.atlas.jpg

There was one final problem: because they belonged to the gods, the apples could not remain with Eurystheus. After all the trouble Hercules went through to get them, he had to return them to Athena, who took them back to the garden at the northern edge of the world.


The final Labor of Hercules, and the one that is most obviously symbolic of the conquest of death is the Capture of Cerberus, the three headed hound of Hades.

Hercules went to a place called Taenarum in Laconia. Through a deep, rocky cave, Hercules made his way down to the Underworld. He encountered monsters, heroes, and ghosts as he made his way through Hades. He even engaged in a wrestling contest! Then, finally, he found Pluto and asked the god for Cerberus. The lord of the Underworld replied that Hercules could indeed take Cerberus with him, but only if he overpowered the beast with nothing more than his own brute strength.

A weaponless Hercules set off to find Cerberus. Near the gates of Acheron, one of the five rivers of the Underworld, Hercules encountered Cerberus. Undaunted, the hero threw his strong arms around the beast, perhaps grasping all three heads at once, and wrestled Cerberus into submission. The dragon in the tail of the fierce flesh-eating guard dog bit Hercules, but that did not stop him. Cerberus had to submit to the force of the hero, and Hercules brought Cerberus to Eurystheus. Unlike other monsters that crossed the path of the legendary hero, Cerberus was returned safely to Hades, where he resumed guarding the gateway to the Underworld. Presumably, Hercules inflicted no lasting damage on Cerberus, except, of course, the wound to his pride!

hercules cerberus.jpg