Hercules and the Hydra
Picture of Hercules and the Hydra

The Myth of Hercules

The mythical story of Hercules
by Gustav Schwab

The Myth of Hercules
Before the birth of Hercules
Jupiter had explained in the council of the gods that the first descendant of Perseus should be the ruler of all the others of his race. This honor was intended for the son of Perseus and Alcmene; but Juno was jealous and brought it about that Eurystheus, who was also a descendant of Perseus, should be born before Theseus.

So Eurystheus became king in Mycene, and the later-born Hercules remained inferior to him.

Eurystheus watched with anxiety the rising fame of his young relative, and called his subject to him, demanding that he carry through certain great tasks or labors. When Hercules did not immediately obey, Jupiter himself sent word to him that he should fulfill his service to the King of Greece.

Nevertheless the hero son of a god could not make up his mind easily to render service to a mere mortal. So he traveled to Delphi and questioned the oracle as to what he should do. This was the answer:

"The overlordship of Eurystheus will be qualified on condition that Hercules perform ten labors that Eurystheus shall assign him. When this is done, Hercules shall be numbered among the immortal gods."

Hercules fell into deep trouble. To serve a man of less importance than himself hurt his dignity and self-esteem; but Jupiter would not listen to his complaints.

The Legend and Myth of the 12 Labors of Hercules

The Myth of Hercules
The story of the 12 Labors of Hercules is featured in the book entitled Myths and Legends of All Nations edited by Logan Marshall published in 1914 by the John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia. The stories of Hercules are translated form the the German works of of Gustav Schwab.



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