ACHELOUS (ak e lo’us) God of the river of the same name. He could change shapes. Wrestled with Heracles as a bull.
ACHILLES (a kil’ ez) The son of Peleus and the Nereid Thetis. Greek hero of the Trojan War.
ADMETA (ad me’ ta) Daughter of Eurystheus. Heracles brought the Amazon Queen’s girdle back for her in one of his labors.
ADMETUS (ad me’ tus) King of Thessaly. Heracles rescued his wife from the underground.
ALCESTIS (al ces’ tis) Wife of Admetus, who was willing to die in his place. Saved by Heracles.
ALCMENA (alc me’ na) The wife of Amphitryon, mother of Heracles by Zeus.
AMAZONS (am’ a zonz) A warlike race of women living on the coast of the Black Sea.
AMPHITRYON (am fit’ ri on) Husband of Alcmena and stepfather to Heracles.
ANTAEUS (an te’ us) Gigantic wrestler, son of earth and sea. His strength was derived from the earth. He wrestled with Heracles.
APOLLO (a pol’ o) Olympian god of archery, phrophecy, music and healing. He was the son of Zeus and Latona and the brother of Artemis.
ARCADIA (ar ka’ di a) A district in the Peloponnesus where many of Heracles’ labors took place.
ARES (a’ res) Olympian god of war.
ARGONAUTS (ar’ go nawts) Jason’s crew in search of the Golden Fleece.
ARTEMIS (ar’ te mis) Olympian goddess of childbirth and wild animals. Daughter of Zeus and Latona and the sister of Apollo.
ATHENS (ath’ enz) The capital of Attica.
ATHENA (ath’ en a) Olympian goddess of the arts and war. She was born from the head of Zeus. The patron goddess of Athens. She was helpful to Heracles.
ATLAS (at’ las) A Titan who was condemned by the gods to hold the heavens on his shoulders. His kingdom was in nothern Africa (Atlas Mountains).
AUGEAS (aw’ je as) A King of Elis and owner of the Augean stable that Heracles cleaned out.
CACUS (ka’ kus) A giant living near Rome who stole some of Geryon’s cattle from Heracles and was killed by him.
CERBERUS (ser’ ber us) Watch dog at the entrance of Hades. He had at least 3 heads, a mane of snakes and a snake for a tail.
CHAOS (ka’ os) Original confusion in which earth, sea and air were mixed up. The beginning of the world.
CHARON (ka’ ron) The ferryman of Hades. He ferried the souls of the dead across the river Styx.
CHEIRON (ki’ ron) A centaur (half man, half horse) friendly to Heracles who was accidently killed by Heracles’ arrow.
CITHAERON (si the’ ron) A mountain near Thebes. Home of the Cithaeron lion whom Heracles killed at the beginning of his career. Heracles either wore the skin of this or the skin of the Nemean lion.
CORINTH (kor’ inth) City and Isthmus of Corinth.
CREON (kre’ on) King of Thebes and father of Megara first wife of Heracles.
DEIANEIRA (de’ ya ni’ ra) The daughter of Oeneus and Althea, sister of Meleager and second wife of Heracles inadvertantly responsible for his death.
DELPHI (del’fi) A town famous for it’s temple to Apollo and it’s oracle.
DEMETER (de me’ ter) Olympian goddess of harvest and seasons.
DIOMEDES (di’ o me’dez) A king of the Bistones in Thrace. He owned four horses who ate human flesh. Heracles took them.
DIONYSUS (di’ o ni’ sus) The Olympian god of wine and vegetation. A son of Zeus and mortal Semele.
ECHIDNA (e kid’ na) A monster, half women and half snake. The mother of various monsters including the Nemean Lion, Cerberus and the Hydra.
ERYTHEIA (er i the’ ya) The island home of Geryon in the far west in the river Oceanus.
EURYSTHEUS (u ris’ the us) A king of Mycenaea and Tiryns. Heracles was subject to him for 12 years. He devised the twelve Labors of Heracles.
EURYTION (urit’ i on) A centaur killed by Heracles. This is also the name of the herdsman of Geryon whom Heracles also killed.
GE (je’) The earth, and the goddess of the earth.
GANYMEDE (gan’ i med) A son of Trojan king Laomedon. Zeus took him to be his cupbearer and gave his father two fine horses.
GERYON (je’ri on) A monster son of Medusa, the king of Erytheia. He had three heads, or the bodies of three men from the waist down. His dog Orthus had two heads. He had a famous and large herd of cattle.
EURYTUS (u ri’tus) King of Oechalia father of Iole and Iphitus.
HADES (ha’ dez) The Greek god of the underground, and also the name of his place. He was a brother of Zeus.
HEPHAESTUS (he fes’ tus) Olympian god of fire and metal working. The son of Zeus and Hera. He is said to have made Heracles’ armor.
HERA (he’ ra) The olympian goddess of marriage and childbirth. She was married to Zeus and was the queen of the gods and Olymus. She was also the sister of Zeus and jealous of his many affairs. She persecutes Heracles throughout his life.
HERACLES (her’ a klez) The son of Zeus and Alcmena. He was one of a set of twins. His twin Iphicales was fathered by Amphitryon, who raises them both. When he was a baby sleeping in his crib with his brother, Hera sent two deadly snakes to kill him. He strangled both of them. His family then became aware of his superhuman strength. He was eight feet tall and excelled in archery and wrestling. He used his strength and skills for good, putting down tyrants, killing monsters and restoring order. He was honest, brave and loving. He was also quick-tempered, lustful and cruel. His behavior was excessive in every way. His labors were in atonement for the killing of his wife and children. He had many adventures following his twelve labors for Eurytheus. His children settled all over the ancient world, which he traveled extensively. He aided the gods in their war with the giants and was said to be the founder of the Olympic games. On his way home to Trachis with his new wife Deianeira, he came to a river. The centaur Nessus ferried travelers across. Heracles waded across himself but hired Nessus to carry Deianeira across. Nessus tried to abduct (rape) her, and hearing her cries for help, Heracles shot Nessus with his deadly arrows. As he was dying, Nessus told Deianeira to dip some cloth in his blood and keep it as a love potion to apply to Heracles’ robe when she felt she was losing his love. She kept the potion, and some years later when Heracles was returning from one of his adventures, she had cause to use it. Heracles had won his war against the king of Oechalia, Eurytus. He had taken the king’s young daughter as his concubine (he had won her in a contest to be his wife before marrying Deianeira, but her father had refused to give her to Heracles claiming that Heracles had murdered his other wife). Heracles sent his messenger Lichas to his wife to ask for fresh clothes so that he could make proper sacrifices to Zeus for his victory. Deianeira heard about his new love, Iole, and wishing to keep her husband’s love, she rubbed some of the potion on his new robes. When Heracles lit the fires, the heat activated the potion and his clothes clung and burned into his skin searing and melting his flesh. He returned in agony to Trachis and Deianeira, learning of the consequences of her intended love potion, killed herself. Heracles had his son Hyllus build a funeral pyre. Hyllus could not bring himself to light the pyre, nor could any of the others watching. Finally a passing herdsman, Philoctetes, volunteered. Heracles gave him his famous bow and arrows in gratitude. The flames engulfed Heracles’ mortal remains. A cloud enveloped the pyre and then carried his remains to Olympus, to the Gods. Heracles achieved immortality. Hera reconciled with him and gave him her daughter Hebe to be his wife. Heracles was worshiped as a god and became a powerful cult figure to the ancient Greeks and other nations of the ancient world.
HERMES (hur’mez) The messenger of the gods and guide for travelers.
HESIONE (he si’ o ne) The daughter of Laomedon. When Poseidon sent a sea monster to Troy, she was to be sacrificed to it. Heracles saved her. She later married Telemon, a friend of Heracles, and ransomed her younger brother Podarces, who became Priam of the Trojan War.
HESPERIDES (hes per’ i dez) Nymphs that guarded the golden apples sacred to Hera. There were 3-7 of them, possibly daughters of Atlas or of Night. A dragon, Ladon, also guarded these apples. Heracles got some of the apples either via Atlas or by killing the dragon and getting them himself.
HIPPOLYTE (hi pol’ i te) The Queen of the Amazons. She is sometimes confused with Antiope (another Amazon whom Theseus is said to have married). Heracles sought her girdle for Eurystheus and got it from her, but Hera stirred her followers up and he killed her.
HYDRA (hi’ dra) A monster, son of Echidna, whom Heracles slew. He had many heads. If you lopped off one, two grew in it’s place. One of the heads was immortal and it’s blood was deadly. Heracles used the blood of the Hydra to dip his arrows in.
IOLAUS (i o la’ us) The son of Iphicles, the twin of Heracles. He was a charioteer for Heracles and helped him to slay the Hydra.
IOLE (i o le) The daugher of Eurytus, King of Oechalia (see Heracles).
IPHICLES (if’ i klez) The son of Amphitryon and Alcmena, twin of Heracles.
IPHITUS (if’ i tus) The son of Eurytus, brother of Iole. He sided with Heracles against his father, but was killed by Heracles in a fit of rage.
LADON (la’ don) A hundred headed snake or dragon that guarded the golden apples with the Hesperides.
LAOMEDON (la om’ e don) The King of Troy who hired Heracles to pay his debt.
MEGARA (meg’ a ra) The first wife of Heracles, daughter of Creon. Heracles killed her in a fit of maddness brought on by Hera.
MELEAGER (mel’ e a’ jer) A greek hero, brother of Deianeira.
MINOS (mi’ nos) The King of Crete when Heracles captured the bull. There are lots of stories about Minos. They may be the same king or one of many.
NEMEAN LION (ne me’ an) Heracles slew this beast for his first labor. The lion was an offspring of Echidna and had an impenatrable skin. Heracles wore the skin of the creature, and it became his trademark.
NEREUS (ne’ rus) An ancient sea god, who could change his shape. Heracles met up with him while seeking the golden apples.
NESSUS (nes’us) A centaur whom Heracles met on several adventures. Heracles killed him, but the centaur’s blood ultimately destroyed Heracles (see Heracles).
OETA (e’ ta) The mountain on which Heracles had his pyre built.
OLYMPUS (o lim’ pus) A mountain, the top of which was believed to be the home of the gods.
ORTHRUS (orth’ rus) A two-headed dog that guarded the cattle of Geryon.
PERSEPHONE (per sef’ o ne) The goddess of the underworld and wife of Hades. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.
POSEIDON (po si’ don) The god of the sea, of earthquakes and horses. He was a brother of Zeus. He also had many children by many different women, Heracles killed a few.
PROMETHEUS (pr o me’ thus) A Titian. He was perhaps the creator of man whom he molded out of clay. He gave the gift of fire to man and was punished by Zeus. He was tied to a cliff and and eagle picked at his liver. Since he was immortal, he was there for a long time. Heracles rescued him by shooting the eagle and undoing his chains.
STYMPHALIAN BlRDS (stim fa’ li an) Maneating birds with metal feathers and claws.
TELEMON (tel’ a mon) Warrior, friend and companion of Heracles.
THESEUS (the’ sus) A super hero and friend of Heracles. Theseus took Heracles home with him to Athens after Heracles killed his family. Heracles released Theseus from Hades.
ZEUS (zus) The ruler of the Olympian gods. He was husband to his sister Hera, and father of many children by goddesses, demi-gods and mortals. He was God of the skies, master of all, and his trademark and weapon was the thunderbolt.