Hercules and the twelve labors By Jazmine and Jade

the nemean lion

Hercules's first labor was the Nemean Lion. It's skin couldn't be penetrated by arrows or spears so Hercules trapped it in it's cave and fought it with his fists. After he wore it's skin as a cloak and it's head as a helmet.

The Hydra

The Hydra is a monster that lived in the swamps of Lerna. It has many heads and each time one is chopped off, two more grow. It's breath was lethal and even smelling it's footprint could kill a mortal. Hercules found it in it's lair and brought it out with flaming arrows. The Hydra twined it's head around Hercules and tried to trip him. It also had an ally, a huge crab that also lived in the swamp. The crab bit Hercules. Hercules called on his nephew, Iolaus, who cauterized the Hydra's necks after Hercules cut one off until they were all gone. Hercules buried the one head that is supposed to be immortal under a rock.

The cerynitian hind

The Cerynitian Hind is a female deer with golden horns. It was sacred to Artemis so Hercules didn't wound it so he carefully shot an arrow throw the tendons and bones of the two forelegs pinning it down without harming it. Artemis was still not happy so Hercules blamed his taskmaster, Eurystheus.

the erymanthian boar

For his fourth task he was challenged to bring back the Erymanthian Boar alive. While tracking it down Hercules visited the centaur Pholus who was examining one of Hercules's arrows covered in Hydra venom when he dropped it on his foot and he succumbed immediately. Hercules finally tracked down the boar on Mount Erymanthus and he drove it into a snow bank where he picked it up and carried back to Eurystheus.

the augean stables

Eurystheus thought this labor would humiliate Hercules. Hercules had to clean out the stables of King Augeas in a single day. Augeas possessed enormous herds of cattle which had deposited manure in the stables for years so a thick aroma hung over the entire Peloponnesus. Hercules diverted two rivers through the stable yard and cleaned it all out without getting dirty. But Eurystheus refused to count it as a labor because he had demanded payment for it.

the stymphalian birds

The Stymphalian birds inhabited a marsh near lake Stymphalus in Arcadia. The birds feasted on humans and shot people with their brass feathers. The ground was too swampy for Hercules to approach them so he made a racket from the castanets given to him by Athena and made them take flight. Then he shot them down with arrows.

the cretan bull

Queen Pasiphae of Crete fell in love with a bull which was the doing of a vengeful god. The result was a Minotaur, half man and half bull the monster haunted the Labyrinth of King Minos. Pasiphae's husband wanted the bull gone since it was ravaging the Cretan countryside so Hercules made this his seventh task. Even though the bull belched flames Hercules beat it and shipped it back to the mainland for Theseus to deal with.

the mares of diomedes

The Mares of Diomedes were horses who ate travelers who made the mistake of accepting Diomedes' hospitality. Hercules pacified them by feeding them their master. He rounded them up and sent them down to sea. Once he showed them to his taskmaster he turned them loose and they were eventually eaten by wild animals on Mount Olympus.

hippolyte's belt

Hercules went to the land of the Amazons to retrieve their leader's belt for Eurystheus' daughter. The Amazons were a race of warrior women. They were great archers who invented the art of fighting from horseback. Hercules recruited heros to accompany him, one of them was Theseus. The Amazon queen, Hippolyte, ended up just giving Hercules her belt. Hera wasn't going to let Hercules off so easy so she stirred up the Amazons with a rumor that the Greeks captured their queen and a great battle ensued. Hercules ran off with the belt and Theseus kidnapped an Amazon princess.

the cattle of geryon

Hercules was challenged with stealing Geryon's famous cattle. The cattle had three heads and/or three separate bodies from the waist down. Geryon's watchdog, Orthus, had only two heads. This labor took somewhere in Spain. Orthus went after Hercules while he was getting away with the cattle. Hercules killed Orthus with a club and Geryon was dispatched as well. Hercules took a wrong way back to Greece and went through Italy.

the apples of hesperides

The Hesperides were nymphs given certain apples by Hera that were given to her as a wedding present. The apples were kept in a grove surrounded by a high wall and guarded by a many headed dragon named Ladon. The grove was located in the far-western mountains named for Atlas, one of the titans that sided against Zeus who was punished by being forced to support the weight of the heavens. Hercules had been told that he could not find the apples without the aid of Atlas. The titan was happy to help. He told Hercules to hold the pillar while he fetched the apples, but first Hercules had to kill the dragon guarding the apples. Atlas returned but didn't want to carry the burden of the pillar again so Hercules asked if Atlas would hold the pillar while he got a cushion, but he left and didn't return.

The capture of cerberus

For his last labor Hercules had to bring up the hellhound Cerberus from the kingdom of the dead. Hercules scared Charon so much that Charon conveyed him across the Styx. The bigger challenge was Cerberus who had razor sharp teeth, multiple heads, a venomous snake for a tail, and snakes growing out of it's back. The snakes lashed at Hercules while Cerberus went for his throat, but the lion skin protected Hercules. Hercules eventually choked Cerberus into submission and dragged him to Tiryns.

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http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/cerberus.html

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