Bet you thought we were done with old Herc, huh?
Nope. Hercules has a textbook full of myths associated with him. His mythology intertwines with so many other myths that for the purposes of my research I have to know about him even though I killed him off before book 1 AND had him drink from the Lethe (i.e I have no plans for Herculean adventures in my series, though he may pop up in short stories or prequels.) That research should count for something, so settle in for a few more weeks worth of the most famous of all the demigods. I promise, I will eventually move on.
Okay, so I mentioned in young Hercules that Hercules was driven mad by Hera and killed his wife Megaera and his children. It took him many years and many labors, but he eventually moved on to Princess Iole. Her father promised her as a prize for an archery contest. Hercules won, but when her father (who’d actually taught Hercules archery as a child) realized who Hercules was, and recalled the fate of Hercules’ first wife, he refused to allow Hercules to marry his daughter.
Iole’s brother Iphitus thought his father was over reacting, so in an effort to bond/help Herc prove himself, he asked for help tracking down some of his father’s missing horses. Herc agreed, but Hera randomly drove him nuts again, so Hercules ended up murdering Iphitus.
Hercules felt bad about the murder, so he consulted/and or depending on the version of the myth was commanded by The Oracle of Delphi to atone for the blood on his hands. The Oracle sent him to serve Queen Omphale for one to three years depending on the source. Omphale, daughter of a river god, made Hercules dress as a woman and do women’s work for the time he was in servitude. He must have been into that kind of thing, because when he was freed, he married her.
The marriage didn’t last. Hercules later met the beautiful, and by far one of the more interesting women in Greek mythology, Deianira. Her father had arranged her marriage to a river god, but she wasn’t having it. She drove a chariot, studied war, and made her own choices, and she set her sights on Hercules.
She eventually caused the death of Hercules with her jealousy…
Hmm… interesting interpretation most of my research comes to that. Lets rephrase that to get a better representation of what actually happened.
Hercules the womanizing, cheating, scumbag got what was coming to him.
Herc and Deianira had to cross a river, a centaur named Nessus offered to help but ended up trying to kidnap and rape Deianira. Herc got pissed and shot him with one of his poisonous arrows. As Nessus bled out, he offered her a spell to keep Hercules faithful. Mix his (Nessus’) blood with olive oil.
Fast forward a bit, and Hercules has fathered children all across Greece with other women (fifty of them the daughter of one man given to him as a reward for one night, who all bore children, long and kind of gross story). He also slept with Echidna, and had monster-children, more on them later, and he may or may not, depending on which version of the myth you read, have slept with every man mentioned by name in all of the Hercules Mythology Mondays.
Hercules randomly remembered that Iole’s father never did give him his prize. So he attacked her city. Iole threw herself off a wall, attempting suicide rather than living with Herc. However her fluffy dress saved her, and she landed unharmed, whereupon Hercules took her as his concubine.
Understandably miffed, Deianira slathers the bloody mixture on to Hercs clothes. He puts it on, and the poison in the blood from his hydra tipped arrows burned through his skin, causing so much pain that Hercules ended up leaping onto a funeral pyre to end it all.
Deianira stabbed herself with a knife.
Greek myths are so cheerful 🙂