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Heracles or Hercules?

So The Story Goes....

Hercules had a cousin named Eurystheus (Eury for short). Eury was the king of a little village in the city-state of Argos. Eury was an evil man. He thought everyone wanted to steal his crown, especially Hercules. One day, when Hera and Eury were chatting about their mutual hatred for Hercules, Hera came up with a plan - a plan to kill Hercules! She was sure this one would work.

Hera helped Eury design 12 Labors (missions/tasks) that Hercules had to complete. Supposedly, when Hercules had completed the 12 Labors, he would earn his immortality, or so Hera promised.

Hercules was no fool. He asked the Oracle at Delphi who agreed. Actually, the oracle had said, "If you complete 12 Labors, immorality will be yours." Being an oracle, she never explained what she meant by "immortality" - would he live forever in legend or for real? Hercules never asked. (She would not have told him anyway.)

Hercules not only lived, he had great adventures, discovered true friends, and rid the world of some really nasty critters. And that's the story of Hercules in a nutshell.

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We Set The Record Straight.

Many of our readers are confused by the "real" name of this Greek hero. Heracles is the Greek spelling/name and Hercules is the Roman spelling/name. Our roving reporter, Artemis Sparta filed the following expose on the hero known as Heracles/Hercules.

Hercules was half man and half god. His mother was a mortal. But his father was a king - a very special king, the king of all the gods, the mighty Zeus. But Hercules did not know he was part god until he had grown into a man.

Right from the beginning, Hera, Zeus' wife, was very jealous of Hercules. She tried all kinds of ways to kill him, including sending a couple of big snakes into his crib. Hercules crushed those snakes in a flash! Hercules was incredibly strong, even as a baby!

Zeus loved his little son. He figured that sooner or later Hera might actually find a way to kill little Hercules. To keep his small son safe from attack, Zeus sent him to live with a mortal family on earth. Hercules grew up loved and noble. But he didn't fit in on earth. He was too big and too strong. One day, his earth father told him he was a god, well, part god anyway. The rest of the story of Hercules is a bunch of little stories that together tell the tale of how Hercules earned his way into the heavens, to take his place with the gods.

Perseus: The Interview

We sat down with Perseus to discuss his background and his legend. The following is his interview with Olive Spanikopita .

OS:Thank you for taking the time to talk to me Perseus.

P:The pleasure is mine.

OS: So can you give the readers some history?

P: I would be delighted. I was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Danae. My mother's father, King Acrisius, learned after consulting an oracle that he would have not sons. My mother was his only daughter. He also learned that upon my birth, I would kill him. He tried to escape his fate by locking my mother in a tower. While locked up, my mother was visited by Zeus and subsequently I came about. When Acrisius became aware of my existence, he had both my mother and myself placed in a wooden chest and put out to sea.

OS: That is a rather tragic beginning to your life Perseus!

P: You are telling me Olive! But we were saved by a fisherman named Dictys, the brother of King Polydectes. Polydectes fell in love with my mother, who did not return the feelings. Polydectes devised a plan to get rid of me so he could have my mother to himself. So the king levied a tax of a horse from every man on the island. since I was being raised by a poor fisherman who not have any money for a horse, he offered the king any request and he would fulfill it. Wanting to be rid of me, the king asked for the head of Medusa. Medusa was a Gorgon whose look could turn a person to stone. Medusa lived with her two sisters. All of them had golden wings, claws of brass, and serpents for hair.

OS: Go on, please I am intrigued!

P: I received help from two of the gods, Athena and Hermes. They provided me with winged sandals to get in and out of the cave quickly and quietly. They also gave me the cap of darkness, which made the wearer invisible, a sword and a pouch to put Medusa’s head in.

I traveled to a cave where three witches lived. They had only one eye and a tooth between them. I needed them to tell him the secret location of Medusa’s cave. I patiently waited until one of them took out the eye to hand it to another, and grabbed it. While holding the eye hostage, I forced them to tell him the location of Medusa and her two sisters. After getting the location of Medusa’s cave, I threw the eye into a nearby lake.

Using the cap of darkness, I entered Medusa’s cave. I used a polished bronze shield to watch the three gorgons so not to look at them directly and turn to stone. I then waited for them to fall asleep. Once asleep, I took out my sword and used the shield to guide my swing. I chopped off Medusa’s head, stuffing it quickly into my pouch. I then used the winged sandals to get out of the cave before Medusa’s sisters were able to locate me.

OS: Thank you Perseus for sharing your tale with us. I do hope you come back and discuss more of your stories and adventures.

P: You are quite welcome.

Myth of Perseus (with English Subtitles

Myth Of Perseus (with English subs)

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© Ms. Stockman and Mrs. Collins. 2013