Heracles and the Heracleidae
  • Amphitryon went to Thebes and was purified by Creon for the killing of Electryon. Then, when he was off continuing Electryon's campaign against the Taphians, Zeus in the likeness of Amphitryon had intercourse with Alcmene. Amphitryon returned from the war and had intercourse with Alcmene on the next night, and Alcmene gave birth to two sons — Heracles, son of Zeus, and Iphicles, son of Amphitryon. stemma 3
  • When Heracles was about to be born, Zeus declared among the gods that the descendant of Perseus then about to be born would reign over Mycenae. Thereupon, Hera out of jealousy persuaded the goddess of childbirth Eleithyia to retard Alcmene's delivery, and contrived that Eurystheus, son of Sthenelus, should be born a seven-month child.
  • Hera continued her persecution of Heracles, and when he was eight months old sent two snakes to his bed which the baby Heracles strangled.
  • When he was grown, Heracles married Megara, a daughter of Creon, but later, driven mad by Hera, he killed her and their children. Inquiring of the oracle at Delphi, he was told to serve his cousin Eurystheus, ruler of Tiryns and Mycenae. It was Eurystheus who sent Heracles upon the famous twelve labors.
  • Preceding and following the twelve labors, Heracles embarked upon a further set of miscellaneous adventures, and left behind children by a variety of women — including Hyllus and Macaria by Deianara, and fifty sons by the fifty daughters of Thespius, ruler of Thespiae in Boeotia, where Heracles performed the first of his great feats, the killing of the lion of Cithaeron (a doublet of the labor of the Nemean lion).
  • These children are known collectively as the Heracleidae ("children of Heracles"). After the death of Heracles, these children, after many wanderings, found refuge from the persecutions of Eurystheus at Athens. Eurystheus, on his demand for their surrender being refused, attacked Athens, but was defeated and slain.
  • This is the mythological juncture at which the Pelopidae take over the rule of Mycenae.
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