HERCULES Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles , son of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter ), and the mortal Alcmene . Early Roman sources suggest that the imported Greek hero supplanted a mythic Italic shepherd called "Recaranus" or "Garanus", famous for his strength who dedicated the Ara Maxima that became associated with the earliest Roman cult of Hercules.  While adopting much of the Greek Heracles' iconography and mythology as his own, Hercules adopted a number of myths and characteristics that were distinctly Roman. With the spread of Roman hegemony, Hercules was worshiped locally from Hispania through Gaul Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles , son of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter ), and the mortal Alcmene . Early Roman sources suggest that the imported Greek hero supplanted a mythic Italic shepherd called "Recaranus" or "Garanus", famous for his strength who dedicated the Ara Maxima that became associated with the earliest Roman cult of Hercules.  While adopting much of the Greek Heracles' iconography and mythology as his own, Hercules adopted a number of myths and characteristics that were distinctly Roman. With the spread of Roman hegemony, Hercules was worshiped locally from Hispania through Gaul Hercules was married to Deianeira . One day, long after Hercules' marriage to Deianira, the centaur Nessus offered to ferry them across a wide river that they had to cross. Nessus set off with Deianeira first, but tried to abduct her. When Hercules realized the centaur's real intention, Hercules chased after him and shot him with an arrow which was poisoned with Hydra's blood. Before he died, Nessus told Deianeira to take some of his blood and treasure it, since it was a very powerful medicine and: if she ever thought Hercules was being unfaithful, the centaur told her, the blood would restore his love. Deianeira kept the vial of blood. Many years after that incident she heard rumours that Hercules had fallen in love with another woman. She smeared some of the blood on a robe and sent it to Hercules by a servant named Lichas . Lichas spilled some blood on the floor and when the sun's rays fell on it the blood begun to burn. Because of this Deianeira began to suspect Nessus's advice and decided to send another servant to fetch Lichas back before he could hand over the blood soaked robe to Hercules. She was too late. Hercules had already put on the robe and when he did so the blood still poisoned from the same arrow used by Hercules, burnt into his flesh. When he jumped into a nearby river in hope of extinguishing the fire, it only made it worse. When he tried to rip off the robe from his body his organs were also ripped off with it. Furiously, Hercules caught Lichas and tossed him into the sea. After that he told his friend Philoctetes to build him a pyre on the mountain Oata. He was burnt to death on the pyre. Before dying, Hercules offered his bow and arrows as a token of gratitude to Philoctetes. His father Zeus then turned him into a god. Deianeira, after hearing what she had caused, committed suicide.
THE 12 FEATS OF HERCULES Slay the Nemean Lion . Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra . Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis . Capture the Erymanthian Boar . Clean the Augean stables in a single day Slay the Stymphalian Birds . Capture the Cretan Bull . Steal the Mares of Diomedes . Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta , Queen of the Amazons . Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon . Steal the apples of the Hesperides .(With the help of Atlas). Capture and bring back Cerberus . As a reward for finishing these twelve treacherous tasks, he was given the gift of immortality after his death by Zeus, his father. Hera forgave him and gave him her daughter Hebe for his bride.
300 OF LEONIDAS In 480 BC the Persians with their king Xerxes invaded Greece. When the united Greek forces invited the Spartans to join the rest of the army against the Persians, the Spartans went to the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle gave a prophecy : either Sparta would fall or the Spartans would lose a king. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[ change ] Fighting back
In August 480 BC, Leonidas went to Thermopylae with 300 of his personal bodyguards. Other Greek forces joined him there and formed an army of 4,200 soldiers. This army would try to hold the pass of Thermopylae against the great army of Xerxes I, who was the king of Persia.
Leonidas and his men held Thermopylae for 3 days. On the 3rd day a Greek traitor named Ephialtes led the Persian army behind the Spartans. It was then that Leonidas sent away all the Greek troops except 700 Thespians, who refused to leave the battlefield. The small Greek force was attacked from both sides. They fought hard but finally they were all killed. Xerxes told his men to cut Leonidas' head, put it on a stake and crucify his body. Now the only thing that reminds Leonidas is a monument near Leonidas’ death site, which carries the following inscription:
Go, stranger, and in Lacedaemon tell that here, obeying her behests, we fell, that we died here obeying what they told us to do
Only 2 Spartans survived. One was Kirtanian, who was injured and was sent behind the lines. The other one was Pantites, who was sent by Leonidas to raise support in Thessaly, but returned to Thermopylae only after the battle was finished. At the end, he hanged himself because he was called a coward. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS <ul><ul><ul><li>Early years </li></ul></ul></ul>Pelias (Aeson's half-brother) was very power-hungry, and he wished to gain dominion over all of Thessaly . Pelias was the product of a union between their shared mother, Tyro ("high born Tyro") the daughter of Salmoneus , and allegedly the sea god Poseidon . In a bitter feud, he overthrew Aeson (the rightful king), killing all the descendants of Aeson that he could. He spared his half-brother for unknown reasons. Alcimede I (wife of Aeson) already had an infant son named Jason whom she saved from being killed by Pelias, by having women cluster around the newborn and cry as if he were still-born. Alcimede sent her son to the centaur Chiron for education, for fear that Pelias would kill him — she claimed that she had been having an affair with him all along. Pelias, still fearful that he would one day be overthrown, consulted an oracle which warned him to beware of a man with one sandal. Many years later, Pelias was holding games in honor of the sea god and his alleged father, Poseidon, when Jason arrived in Iolcus and lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros ("wintry Anauros"), while helping an old woman to cross (the Goddess Hera in disguise). She blessed him for she knew, as goddesses do, what Pelias had up his sleeve. When Jason entered Iolcus (modern-day city of Volos ), he was announced as a man wearing one sandal. Jason, knowing that he was the rightful king, told Pelias that and Pelias said, "To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece." Jason happily accepted the quest. <ul><ul><ul><li>The Quest for the Golden Fleece </li></ul></ul></ul>/wiki/File:Jason_Pelias_Louvre_K127.jpg /wiki/File:Jason_Pelias_Louvre_K127.jpg /wiki/File:Jason_Pelias_Louvre_K127.jpg Jason bringing Pelias the Golden Fleece , Apulian red-figure calyx krater , ca. 340 BC–330 BC, Louvre Jason assembled a great group of heroes, known as the Argonauts after their ship, the Argo . The group of heroes included the Boreads (sons of Boreas , the North Wind) who could fly, Heracles , Philoctetes , Peleus , Telamon , Orpheus , Castor and Pollux , Atalanta , and Euphemus .
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Isle of Lemnos </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>The isle of Lemnos is situated off the Western coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey ). The island was inhabited by a race of women who had killed their husbands. The women had neglected their worship of Aphrodite , and as a punishment the goddess made the women so foul in stench that their husbands could not bear to be near them. The men then took concubines from the Thracian mainland opposite, and the spurned women, angry at Aphrodite, killed all the male inhabitants while they slept. The king, Thoas , was saved by Hypsipyle , his daughter, who put him out to sea sealed in a chest from which he was later rescued. The women of Lemnos lived for a while without men, with Hypsipyle as their queen. During the visit of the Argonauts the women mingled with the men creating a new "race" called Minyae . Jason fathered twins with the queen. Heracles pressured them to leave as he was disgusted by the antics of the Argonauts. He hadn't taken part, which is truly unusual considering the numerous affairs he had with other women. [note 1] <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cyzicus </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>After Lemnos the Argonauts landed among the Doliones , whose king Cyzicus treated them graciously. He told them about the land beyond Bear Mountain, but forgot to mention what lived there. What lived in the land beyond Bear Mountain were the Gegeines which are a tribe of Earthborn giants with six arms and wore leather loincloths. While most of the crew went into the forest to search for supplies, the Gegeines saw that a few Argonauts were guarding the ship and raided it. Heracles was among those guarding the ship at the time and managed to kill most them until Jason and the others returned. Once some of the other Gegeines were killed, Jason and the Argonauts set sail. Sometime after their fight with the Gegeines, they sent some men to find food and water. Among these men was Heracles' servant Hylas who was gathering water while Heracles was out finding some wood to carve a new oar to replace the one that broke. The nymphs of the stream where Hylas was collecting were attracted to his good looks, and pulled him into the stream. Heracles returned to his Labors, but Hylas was lost forever. Others say that Heracles went to Colchis with the Argonauts, got the Golden Girdle of the Amazons and slew the Stymphalian Birds at that time.[ citation needed ] The Argonauts departed, losing their bearings and landing again at the same spot that night. In the darkness, the Doliones took them for enemies and they started fighting each other. The Argonauts killed many of the Doliones, among them the king Cyzicus. Cyzicus' wife killed herself. The Argonauts realized their horrible mistake when dawn came and held a funeral for him.
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Phineas and the Harpies </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Soon Jason reached the court of Phineas of Salmydessus in Thrace . Zeus had sent the Harpies to steal the food put out for Phineas each day. Jason took pity on the emaciated king and killed the Harpies when they returned; in other versions, Calais and Zetes chase the Harpies away. In return for this favor, Phineas revealed to Jason the location of Colchis and how to pass the Symplegades , or The Clashing Rocks, and then they parted. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Symplegades </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>The only way to reach Colchis was to sail through the Symplegades (Clashing Rocks), huge rock cliffs that came together and crushed anything that traveled between them. Phineas told Jason to release a dove when they approached these islands, and if the dove made it through, to row with all their might. If the dove was crushed, he was doomed to fail. Jason released the dove as advised, which made it through, losing only a few tail feathers. Seeing this, they rowed strongly and made it through with minor damage at the extreme stern of the ship. From that time on, the clashing rocks were forever joined leaving free passage for others to pass. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The arrival in Colchis </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>/wiki/File:Douris_cup_Jason_Vatican_crop.jpg /wiki/File:Douris_cup_Jason_Vatican_crop.jpg /wiki/File:Douris_cup_Jason_Vatican_crop.jpg Jason and the Snake Jason arrived in Colchis (modern Black Sea coast of Georgia ) to claim the fleece as his own. It was owned by King Aeetes of Colchis. The fleece was given to him by Phrixus . Aeetes promised to give it to Jason only if he could perform three certain tasks. Presented with the tasks, Jason became discouraged and fell into depression. However, Hera had persuaded Aphrodite to convince her son Eros to make Aeetes's daughter, Medea , fall in love with Jason. As a result, Medea aided Jason in his tasks. First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, the Khalkotauroi , that he had to yoke himself. Medea provided an ointment that protected him from the oxen's flames. Then, Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon into a field. The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors. Medea had previously warned Jason of this and told him how to defeat this foe. Before they attacked him, he threw a rock into the crowd. Unable to discover where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and defeated one another. His last task was to overcome the sleepless dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece . Jason sprayed the dragon with a potion, given by Medea, distilled from herbs. The dragon fell asleep, and Jason was able to seize the Golden Fleece. He then sailed away with Medea. Medea distracted her father, who chased them as they fled, by killing her brother Apsyrtus and throwing pieces of his body into the sea; Aeetes stopped to gather them. In another version, Medea lured Apsyrtus into a trap. Jason killed him, chopped off his fingers and toes, and buried the corpse. In any case, Jason and Medea escaped
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS <ul><ul><ul><li>The return journey </li></ul></ul></ul>On the way back to Iolcus, Medea prophesised to Euphemus , the Argo's helmsman, that one day he would rule Libya . This came true through Battus , a descendant of Euphemus. Zeus , as punishment for the slaughter of Medea's own brother, sent a series of storms at the Argo and blew it off course. The Argo then spoke and said that they should seek purification with Circe , a nymph living on the island called Aeaea. After being cleansed, they continued their journey home. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sirens </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Chiron had told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus , the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Sirens — the same Sirens encountered by Odysseus in Homer 's epic poem the Odyssey . The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them, which resulted in the crashing of their ship into the islands. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew his lyre and played music that was more beautiful and louder, drowning out the Sirens' bewitching songs. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Talos </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>The Argo then came to the island of Crete , guarded by the bronze man, Talos . As the ship approached, Talos hurled huge stones at the ship, keeping it at bay. Talos had one blood vessel which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail (as in metal casting by the lost wax method). Medea cast a spell on Talos to calm him; she removed the bronze nail and Talos bled to death. The Argo was then able to sail on. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jason returns </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Medea, using her sorcery, claimed to Pelias' daughters that she could make their father younger by chopping him up into pieces and boiling the pieces in a cauldron of water and magical herbs. She demonstrated this remarkable feat with a sheep, which leapt out of the cauldron as a lamb. The girls, rather naively, sliced and diced their father and put him in the cauldron. Medea did not add the magical herbs, and Pelias was dead. It should be noted that Thomas Bulfinch has an antecedent to the interaction of Medea and the daughters of Pelias. Jason, celebrating his return with the Golden Fleece, noted that his father was too aged and infirm to participate in the celebrations. He had seen and been served by Medea's magical powers. He asked Medea to take some years from his life and add them to the life of his father. She did so, but at no such cost to Jason's life. Pelias' daughters saw this and wanted the same service for their father. Pelias' son, Acastus , drove Jason and Medea into exile for the murder, and the couple settled in Corinth.
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS <ul><li>Treachery of Jason </li></ul>In Corinth, Jason became engaged to marry Creusa (sometimes referred to as Glauce ), a daughter of the King of Corinth, to strengthen his political ties. When Medea confronted Jason about the engagement and cited all the help she had given him, he retorted that it was not she that he should thank, but Aphrodite who made Medea fall in love with him. Infuriated with Jason for breaking his vow that he would be hers forever, Medea took her revenge by presenting to Creusa a cursed dress, as a wedding gift, that stuck to her body and burned her to death as soon as she put it on. Creusa's father, Creon , burned to death with his daughter as he tried to save her. Then Medea killed the two boys that she bore to Jason, fearing that they would be murdered or enslaved as a result of their mother's actions. When Jason came to know of this, Medea was already gone; she fled to Athens in a chariot sent by her grandfather, the sun-god Helios. Later Jason and Peleus , father of the hero Achilles , attacked and defeated Acastus, reclaiming the throne of Iolcus for himself once more. Jason's son, Thessalus , then became king. As a result of breaking his vow to love Medea forever, Jason lost his favor with Hera and died lonely and unhappy. He was asleep under the stern of the rotting Argo when it fell on him, killing him instantly. The manner of his death was due to the deities cursing him for breaking his promise to Medea.