Juno found out about the affair and hated Hercules even before he was born

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-Jupiter had an affair with a mortal woman named Alcmene. Jupiter disguised himself as Alcmene’s husband, Amphitryon, who was away at war.

-Juno found out about the affair and hated Hercules even before he was born.

-After Hercules was born, Juno tried to kill him by sending two serpents to kill the 8 month old while he was in his cradle. Hercules woke up and strangled both of the serpents with his bare hands.

-Hercules grew up and was taught by Linus. Hercules, however, was not a great student and lacked focus. Once, when Linus was scolding Hercules, Hercules lost his temper and killed Linus.

-Hercules was charged with murder but was acquitted because he pleaded self-defense.

-Some years later, Hercules married Megara. They had 3 children.

-Juno still hated Hercules. So, one day she put a spell on Hercules. Hercules went insane and killed his wife and children.

-When Hercules came to his senses, he was overcome with grief. Hercules decided to ask the Delphic Oracle what he should do to atone for his crimes and regain his honor. The Oracle told Hercules to go to Eurystheus, king of Mycenae.

-Eurystheus came up with 12 tasks that Hercules had to perform. These tasks are known as the 12 Labors of Hercules.

-The 1st Labor was to kill the Nemean Lion. The lion lived in a cave with two exits and had skin that couldn’t be pierced. Hercules shot it with arrows but these couldn’t pierce its skin. Hercules took his club and drove the lion back into its cave. He then grabbed it and strangled it with his bare hands. Hercules used the lion’s own claws to strip off the skin. This skin was impervious to both metal and fire. Hercules then wore this skin as a type of armor.

-The 2nd Labor was to kill the Hydra. The Hydra was a huge snake with 9 heads. One of the 9 heads was immortal. When someone cut off the other heads, 2 more would grow back. Also, its breath was poisonous. The Hydra lived in a swamp.

-Hercules approached the Hydra and shot it with flaming arrows. He then tried to cut off its heads. When 2 more kept growing back, he knew he needed to try something else. He was helped by his nephew, Iolaus.

-Iolaus set fire to the surrounding trees and used the burning branches to cauterize the necks after the head was cut off by Hercules. Hercules then buried the one immortal head beneath a mountain.

-Before Hercules left, he dipped his arrows in the poisonous blood of the Hydra for later use.

-The 3rd Labor was to capture a stag that was sacred to Diana. This stag had golden horns and was bigger than a bull. Hercules chased it for one year and finally captured it.

-The 8th Labor of Hercules was to get the man-eating horses of Diomedes, the king of a Thracian tribe called the Bistones, and bring them back to Mycenae.

-Hercules went to Thrace and killed Diomedes. He then fed Diomedes to the horses. The horses seemed to become tamer.

-Hercules drove the horses back to Eurystheus. Eurystheus set them free and they wandered around until eventually they came to Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, where they were eaten by wild beasts.

-The 9th Labor of Hercules was to bring back the belt of Hippolyta. This was no ordinary belt and no ordinary warrior. Hippolyta was queen of the Amazons, a tribe of women warriors.

- This leather belt had been given to her by Mars, the war god, because she was the best warrior of all the Amazons. She wore this belt across her chest and used it to carry her sword and spear. Eurystheus wanted Hippolyta's belt as a present to give to his daughter.

- After a long journey, Hercules reached the land of the Amazons. When Hercules got off the boat, Hippolyta came down to visit him.

- She asked Hercules why he had come, and when he told her, she promised to give him the belt.

-The goddess Juno, however, knew that the arrival of Hercules meant nothing but trouble for the Amazons.

-Disguised as an Amazon warrior, Juno went up and down the army saying to each woman that the stranger who had arrived was going to carry off the queen. So the Amazons put on their armor.

-A fight broke out. Hercules drew his sword and killed Hippolyta. Then he undid her belt and took it away from her. A great battle occurred. Hercules killed many Amazons and escaped.

-The 10th Labor of Hercules was to bring back the cattle of Geryon. Geryon lived at the end of the world. He had three heads and three sets of legs all joined at the waist.

-Geryon lived on an island called Erythia, which was near the boundary of Europe and Africa. On this island, Geryon kept a herd of red cattle guarded by Cerberus's brother, Orthus, a two-headed dog, and a herdsman Eurytion.

-Hercules set off for Erythia, meeting and killing many wild beasts along the way, and he came to the place where Africa met Europe.

-Here, Hercules built two massive mountains, one in Europe and one in Africa, to commemorate his long journey.

-These mountains became known as the Gates or Pillars of Hercules. The strait Hercules made when he broke the mountain apart is now called the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco, the gateway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

-Hercules reached the island of Erythia. Not long after he arrived, Orthus, the two-headed dog, attacked Hercules.

-Hercules bashed him with his club. He also clubbed Eurytion to death. Another herdsman in the area reported these events to Geryon. Just as Hercules was escaping with the cattle, Geryon attacked him. Hercules fought with him and shot him dead with his arrows.

-Then, Hercules brought the cattle of Geryon to Eurystheus, who sacrificed the herd to Juno.

-The 11th Labor of Hercules was to bring Eurystheus golden apples which belonged to Jupiter. Juno had given these apples to Jupiter as a wedding gift.

-These apples were kept in a garden at the northern edge of the world, and they were guarded not only by a hundred-headed dragon, named Ladon, but also by the Hesperides, nymphs who were daughters of Atlas, the Titan who held the sky and the earth upon his shoulders.

-Hercules' first problem was that he didn't know where the garden was. He journeyed through Libya, Egypt, Arabia, and Asia, having adventures along the way.

-Hercules came to the rock on Mount Caucasus where Prometheus was chained. Prometheus stole the secret of fire from the gods and gave it to humans.

-He was sentenced by Jupiter to a horrible fate. He was chained to the mountain, and every day a huge eagle came and ate his liver, pecking away at Prometheus' tortured body.

-After the eagle flew off, Prometheus' liver grew back, and the next day he had to endure the eagle's painful visit all over again. This went on for 30 years, until Hercules showed up and killed the eagle.

-In gratitude, Prometheus told Hercules the secret to getting the apples. Hercules would have to send Atlas after them, instead of going himself. Atlas hated holding up the sky and the earth so much that he would agree to the task of fetching the apples, in order to pass his burden over to Hercules.

-Everything happened as Prometheus had predicted, and Atlas went to get the apples while Hercules was stuck in Atlas's place, with the weight of the world literally on his shoulders.

-Then Atlas returned with the golden apples. He told Hercules he would take them to Eurystheus himself, and asked Hercules to stay there and hold the heavy load for the rest of time.

-Hercules agreed, but asked Atlas whether he could take the load back again, just for a moment, while the he put some soft padding on his shoulders to help him bear the weight of the sky and the earth.

-Atlas put the apples on the ground, and lifted the burden onto his own shoulders. Hercules picked up the apples and quickly ran off to Eurystheus.

-There was one final problem: because the apples belonged to the gods, they could not remain with Eurystheus.

-After all the trouble Hercules went through to get the apples, he had to return them to Minerva, who took them back to the garden at the northern edge of the world.

-The 12th Labor of Hercules was to go to the Underworld and kidnap the beast called Cerberus.

-Cerberus was a vicious beast that guarded the entrance to the Underworld and kept the living from entering the world of the dead.

-Cerberus was a strange mixture of creatures: he had three heads of wild dogs, a dragon or serpent for a tail, and heads of snakes all over his back.

-Cerberus' parents were the monster Echidna (half-woman, half-serpent) and Typhon (a fire-breathing giant covered with dragons and serpents). Even the gods of Olympus were afraid of Typhon.

-Hercules went to a place called Taenarum in Laconia. Through a deep, rocky cave, Hercules made his way down to the Underworld.

-He encountered monsters, heroes, and ghosts as he made his way through Hades.

-Then, finally, he found Pluto and asked the god for Cerberus. The lord of the Underworld replied that Hercules could take Cerberus with him, but only if he overpowered the beast with nothing more than his own brute strength.

-Weaponless, Hercules set off to find Cerberus. Near the gates of Acheron, one of the 5 rivers of the Underworld, Hercules found Cerberus.

-Hercules put his strong arms around the beast, grasping all three heads at once, and wrestled Cerberus into submission.

-The dragon in the tail of the dog bit Hercules, but that did not stop him.

-Cerberus finally gave up and Hercules brought him to Eurystheus.

-Euystheus was terrified to see Cerberus. Hercules had to return Cerberus to Hades, where he resumed guarding the gateway to the Underworld.

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