Hercules, stripped of his armor, fighting the Nemean lion.
Hercules, stripped of his armor, fighting the Nemean lion. Hercules is the most famous member of the Argonauts and perhaps the most famous hero of all time. And, like all heroes, he was given many challenges to overcome to reach his goal. In this case, it was the Twelve Labours of Heracles, a penance for killing his wife and children during a temporary bought of insanity. Original artwork courtesy of Yaroslav Radeckiy

Hercules: The most famous Argonaut

Hercules (/ˈhɜːrkjuliːz, -jə-/) is a Roman hero and demigod also known in Greek as Heracles. He was the son of Zeus (Roman equivalent Jupiter) and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures, including his 12 labors and his voyage on the Argo.

Hercules movie
In this modern twist Hercules is a famous but washed-up hero haunted by his tragic past. As a traveling mercenary, he fights only for gold. When he is called to save a kingdom, will Hercules find the true hero within himself once again?

The myth of the Argonauts is one of the first western adventure stories about a hero on a literal quest for an object, which is a symbolic quest for self-improvement. Hercules was one of the sailors on the Argo along with Jason and the rest of the Argonauts.

The twelve labors of Hercules

  1. Kill the Nemean Lion.
  2. Kill the Lernean Hydra.
  3. Capture the Cerynian Hind.
  4. Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
  5. Clean the Augean Stables.
  6. Kill the Stymphalian Birds.
  7. Capture the Cretan Bull.
  8. Capture the Horses of Diomedes.
  9. Take the Girdle of the Amazon Queen Hippolyte.
  10. Capture the Cattle of Geryon.
  11. Take the Golden Apples of the Hesperides.
  12. Capture Cerberus.

Modern adaptions of Hercules’ story

Hercules’ story has been adapted countless times in popular culture. Today, yet another movie about the myth was released, and I have to say I’m excited to see this movie. Plus, I like the Rock and he is wearing a beard made from yak testicle hair.

We’ll be adding more info soon. In the meantime, if you want to read one of the original stories about Hercules, we suggest The Story of Jason and the Argonauts.

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More adaptations of the myth

There are hundreds of adaptations of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts including the famous movie of 1963. Here we present the most famous.

Ovid Metamorphoses illustrated by Johannes Baur. Book 7, Plate 62.

The Metamorphoses, Book VII

Arguably, Jason’s wife, Medea is the true hero of the story. The story of Jason and the Argonauts is told from Medea’s point of view in Book VII of The Metamorphoses by the poet Ovid.

The Argo, the Argonauts ship, named after her builder, Argus.

The crew of the Argo

The crew of the Argonauts varies depending on which version of the ancient myth you are reading. That sounds confusing, but the ancient storytellers were always adding to and embellishing the story, much like the modern superhero sagas.

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