HERCULES THE ANCIENT HERO
Hercules was both the most famous hero of ancient times and the most beloved. More stories were told about him than any other hero. Hercules was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome.
Zeus, Hercules' father, was the most powerful of the gods. That meant Zeus could do anything he pleased, but it also meant that sometimes Zeus was not a very good husband to his wife, Hera, the queen of the gods
Hera remained angry. How could she get even? Hera knew that she would lose in a fight, and that she wasn't powerful enough to prevent Zeus from having his way. Hera decided to pay Zeus back for his infidelity by making the rest of Hercules' life as miserable as she could.
When Hercules regained his senses and saw the horrible thing that he had done, he asked the god Apollo to rid him of this pollution. Apollo commanded the hero to do certain tasks as a punishment for his wrongs, so that the evil might be cleansed from his spirit.
Apollo had many divine responsibilities. As Phoebus, he was the sun god, and every day he drove the chariot of the sun across the sky. He was the god of healing and music. Finally, Apollo was a god of prophecy: the Greeks believed that Apollo knew what would happen in the future, and that he could advise people how to act.
Hercules hurried to the temple where Apollo gave such advice. It was in the town of Delphi and was called the Delphic oracle. Apollo said that in order to purify himself for the spilling of his family's blood, he had to perform 10 heroic labors (this number would soon be increased to 12).
After he completed the 12 Labors, Hercules didn't just sit back and rest on his laurels. He had many more adventures.