The New Student's Reference Work/Hercules
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Hercules (hẽr'kū́-lēz), the son of Zeus and Alcmene of Thebes. Incurring the wrath of Hera, the wife of Zeus, he was made to serve Eurystheus, who enjoined upon him the performance of many difficult tasks. Thus he became to the Greeks the type of manly strength and manly endurance. The poets differ as to the number and character of the tasks set before him, but they are generally supposed to have been twelve, called the twelve labors of Hercules. The manner of his death is uncertain, although the story was that the poisoned robe of Nessus sent him by his wife so crazed him that he threw himself upon the funeral pyre of Mt. Œta, and was carried to Olympus, the heaven of the Greeks.