The Legend of Herakles - the Greatest Hero in Greek Mythology


Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 21 February 2023

Herakles, who is also widely known by his Roman name Hercules, is probably the most famous hero from Greek mythology whose challenges and adventures started when he was an infant and carried through till his death. Herakles' mother, Alcmene, was visited by the god Zeus while her husband Amphitrion, was in Thebes, disguised as her husband, and being the son of Zeus made Herakles a demi-god, but still mortal. Initially, the infant Herakles was named Alcides by his parents but his name was changed to Herakles - “Glory of Hera” - in an attempt to appease Zeus’ wife Hera.

Herakles was plagued by Hera throughout his life. She caused the greek hero to go mad which resulted in him killing his wife Megara and their children. In penance, Herakle visited his cousin Eurystheus in Mycenae, who gave him twelve incredible challenging labours to complete before the guilt of his crime could be washed away. These challenges are now known as Herakles' twelve labours.



0:00​ Introduction
1:02 Early Life of Herakles
4:57 The Twelve Labours of Herakles
13:38 Herakles after his Twelve Labours
15:10 Death and Apotheosis of Herakles
17:45 Outro

The Life of Hercules in Myth & Legend–legend/
Megara (Wife of Herakles)
Hercule and Alcestis: Personal Excellence & Social Duty–social/
Shield of Herakles

Zeus, God of the Sky and King of the Olympian Gods
The Greek Myth of Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotaur
The Greek Hero Bellerophon and his Flying Horse Pegasus
Prometheus the Greek Titan of Forethought who Gave Fire to Humanity

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

World History Encyclopedia

#herakles #greekmythology #greekhero

Remove Ads
Subscribe to this author

About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, February 21). The Legend of Herakles - the Greatest Hero in Greek Mythology. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Legend of Herakles - the Greatest Hero in Greek Mythology." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 21, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Legend of Herakles - the Greatest Hero in Greek Mythology." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 21 Feb 2023. Web. 24 Jun 2024.