Hercules and the Lernean Hydra

Hercules and the Lernean Hydra

15 June 2015,   By ,   0 Comments

A Greek Myth

Hercules was a famous hero in ancient Greece who was made to perform twelve great tasks.  One of these was to kill the Lernean Hydra. From the murky waters of the swamps near a place called Lerna, the hydra would rise up and terrorize the countryside. The hydra was a monstrous serpent with nine heads that attacked with poisonous venom. This beast was not easy prey, for one of the nine heads was immortal and therefore indestructible.

Hercules set off to hunt the nine-headed menace, but he did not go alone. His trusty nephew, Iolaus, was by his side and together they discovered the lair of the loathsome hydra.

First, Hercules lured the coily creature from the safety of its den by shooting flaming arrows at it. Once the hydra emerged, Hercules seized it. The monster was not so easily overcome, though, for it wound one of its coils around Hercules’ foot and made it impossible for the hero to escape. With his club, Hercules attacked the many heads of the hydra, but as soon as he smashed one head, two more would burst forth in its place!

To make matters worse, the hydra had a friend of its own: a huge crab began biting the trapped foot of Hercules. Quickly disposing of this nuisance with a swift bash of his club, Hercules called on Iolaus to help him out of this tricky situation.

Each time Hercules bashed one of the hydra’s heads, Iolaus held a torch to the headless tendons of the neck. The flames prevented the growth of replacement heads, and finally, Hercules had the better of the beast. Once he had removed and destroyed the eight mortal heads, Hercules chopped off the ninth, immortal head. This he buried at the side of the road leading from Lerna to Elaeus, and for good measure, he covered it with a heavy rock. As for the rest of the hapless hydra, Hercules slit open the corpse and dipped his arrows in the venomous blood.


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