Heracles, or Hercules for the Romans, is one of the most famous characters in Greek mythology.
The myth tells that he was a demigod, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal married to a soldier.
Hera, wife of Zeus and queen of Olympus , learned of her husband’s betrayal, was seized by fury and Alcmene, in fear, decided to abandon her child in a plain.
Hera found the newborn, brought him home, and looked after him as though he were her own son.
When she found out who the orphan really was, she decided to send two huge snakes into his crib to kill him.
However, Heracles managed to strangle the two snakes with his bare hands, showing superhuman strength. As an adult, the son of Zeus chose to use his strength to help those in need; he soon became the hero acclaimed by gods and people for his accomplishments and the dangerous monsters he killed. Hera, however, continued to harbour hatred for the hero and plotted her terrible revenge. One day, she drove the young man mad and in his delirium, Heracles killed his wife Megara and his children.
To atone for his sin, he was forced by Eurystheus, his cousin, to perform twelve labours, the most famous of which was the conquest of the golden apples from the Garden of the Hesperides.
Once he had completed all the difficult trials Heracles was welcomed into Olympus as a god.