The Twelve Labors of Hercules - (Greek Mythology Explained)

The Twelve Labours of Heracles were a number of tasks that the mythical hero Heracles was told to complete by King Eurystheus.

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It all started when Hera, who loathed Heracles for he was a living example of her husband's infidelities, drove the hero mad, making him kill his wife Megara and his children. When he realised what he had done, he deeply regretted it and went to the Oracle of Delphi to ask for penance. There, he was told to serve Eurystheus, king of Tiryns, for twelve years; if he completed all tasks he would be given, he would become immortal. Although Heracles did not like this as he considered Eurystheus to be a lesser person than himself, he decided to follow the Oracle's advice.

When he arrived in Tiryns, Eurystheus initially asked Heracles to perform ten labours. These ten labours were:

  1. to kill the Nemean Lion,

  2. to kill the Lernaean Hydra,

  3. to capture the Ceryneian Hind,

  4. to capture the Erymanthian Boar,

  5. to clean the stables of Augeas in one day,

  6. to kill the Stymphalian Birds,

  7. to capture the Cretan Bull,

  8. to steal the Mares of Diomedes,

  9. to steal the girdle of the queen of the AmazonsHippolyta, and,

  10. to steal the cattle of the monster Geryon.

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