Tagged: 12 Labors of Hercules

The Twelve Labors of Hercules (or Heracles, as he is known in Greek) is one of the most famous tales in Greek mythology.

These tasks were imposed on Hercules as penance for killing his wife and children during a fit of madness, instigated by the vengeful goddess Hera.

Here’s a brief explanation of each of the labors:

  1. Nemean Lion: In the town of Nemea lived a lion with impenetrable skin. Hercules trapped it in a cave and strangled it, later wearing its skin as protective cloak.
  2. Lernaean Hydra: Located in Lerna, this creature was a water serpent with nine heads. When one head was cut off, two more would grow in its place. With the help of his nephew, Iolaus, Hercules cauterized the stumps after decapitating each head, preventing them from growing back.
  3. Golden Hind of Artemis: This deer with golden antlers was sacred to the goddess Artemis. Hercules chased it for a year before capturing it, ensuring not to hurt the creature.
  4. Erymanthian Boar: A gigantic boar which ravaged the region of Erymanthus. Hercules captured it after driving it into thick snow.
  5. Augean Stables: King Augeas had thousands of cattle whose stables hadn’t been cleaned for years. Hercules was to clean them in a single day. He accomplished this by rerouting two rivers through the stables.
  6. Stymphalian Birds: Man-eating birds with bronze beaks, living near Lake Stymphalia. Hercules scared them into the air with a rattle given to him by Athena and shot them down.
  7. Cretan Bull: The bull, sent by Poseidon, was wreaking havoc on Crete. Hercules wrestled it into submission and returned it.
  8. Mares of Diomedes: Diomedes, a Thracian king, had horses that dined on human flesh. Hercules overpowered Diomedes, fed him to his own horses to pacify them, then brought them back.
  9. Belt of Hippolyta: Hippolyta was an Amazonian queen with a magical belt. Hercules was initially going to receive the belt peacefully, but due to misunderstandings incited by Hera, he ended up fighting the Amazons and took the belt.
  10. Cattle of Geryon: Geryon, a three-bodied giant, owned a prized herd of cattle. After a long journey and defeating Geryon, Hercules brought the cattle back.
  11. Golden Apples of the Hesperides: These were not a prize for Hercules but for Eurystheus. Hercules had to fetch apples from the garden of the Hesperides, guarded by a dragon. He tricked Atlas into retrieving them for him.
  12. Capture of Cerberus: As the final labor, Hercules descended into the Underworld to capture Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding its gates. With permission from Hades, he subdued Cerberus without weapons and brought him to the surface.


These labors were more than mere tasks; they symbolized Hercules’s journey of redemption, showcasing his strength, bravery, and wit. They further cemented his status as one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology.