Classics 430:
Greek and Roman Mythology
6 February 2002

I.   Herakles

1. Family Background
    a. Alcmena, Amphitryon, Zeus, Iphicles, Eurystheus
    b. Born in Thebes, whilst Amphitryon was off at war
    c. Zeus came to Alcmena is the form of Amphitryon, impregnated her
    d. Amphitryon returns, sleeps with Alcmena, impregnates again
    e. Sons are born: Herakles (of Zeus) and Iphicles (of Amphitryon)

2. The Early Years, Details
    a. Hera hates Herakles, sends snakes to the baby in the crib
    b. Herakles kills the snakes, huzzah!
    c. Educated by Autolycus (wrestling), Eurytus (archery), Castor (fighting), Linus (lyre playing)
    d. An aristocratic hero: stories of hunting, etc., throughout Greece.
    e. Known for sexual prowess and skill at fighting: also drunkenness and violence

3. Marriage, Madness, Murder
    a. Heracles marries Megara, the daughter of Creon (king of Thebes)
    b. Hera sends madness upon Heracles, he kills Megara and his three children
    c. Theme: a hero is a dangerous thing in times of peace.

4. The Labors (Herakles, Eurystheus, Copreus ëshitmaní): Nemean Lion, Lernean Hydra, Ceryneian Deer, Erymanthian Boar (centaur story), Augean Stables, Stymphalian Birds, Cretan Bull (killed later by Theseus!), Horses of Diomedes, Girdle of Hippolyta, Cattle of Geryon (Cacus ëBadmaní story), Apples of the Hesperides (Antaeus, Prometheus), Cerberus.

5. Herakles and Deianeira (Ovid, Heroides X)
    a. Deianeira (her name means: man destroyer) is the second wife: H. wins her by wrestling Achelous (a kind of bull / sea monster)
    b. Deianeira and Herakles head off to Trachis
    c. On the way there, they cross the EVENUS
    d. Centaur NESSOS ferries across Deianeira, tries to rape her
    e. H. Kills him with poisoned arrow (Hydra): Nessos intructs Deianeira
    f. Deianeira is spurned by Herakles (he goes after the young girl Iole)
    g. Trying to win him back, she applies centaur blood to shirt
    h. In Ovid, Deianeira berates Herakles humorously for having so many affairs with foreign women:
     i.  Auge, Iole, Omphale [cross-dressing!]