HERCULES AND THE SERPENTS
THE LABORS OF HERCULES Hercules, a Greek hero celebrated for his great strength, was pursued throughout his life by the hatred of Juno. While yet an infant he strangled some serpents sent by the goddess to destroy him. During his boyhood and youth he performed various marvelous feats of strength, and on reaching man- hood he succeeded in delivering the Thebans from the oppression of the Minyac. In a fit of madness, sent upon him by Juno, he slew his own children; and, on consulting the Delphic oracle as to how he should cleanse himself from this crime, he was ordered to sub- mit himself for twelve years to Eurys- theus, king of Tiryns, and to perform whatever tasks were appointed him. Hercules obeyed the oracle, and during the twelve years of his servitude ac- complished twelve extraordinary feats known as the Labors of Hercules. His death was caused, unintentionally, by his wife Deiani'ra. Hercules had shot with his poisoned arrows a centaur named Nessus, who had insulted Deia- nira. Nessus, before he died, gave some of his blood to Deianira, and told her it would act as a charm to secure her husband's love. Some time after, Deianira, wishing to try the charm, soaked one of her husband's garments in the blood, not knowing that it was poisoned. Hercules put on the robe, and, after suffering terrible torments, died, or was carried off by his father Jupiter. HERCULES ET SERPENTES UII.i THE INFANT HERCULES AND THE SERPENTS Di* grave supplicium sumunt dg malls, sed ii qui legibus* deorum parent, etiam post mortem curantur. Ilia vita dis* erat gratissima quae hominibus miseris utilissima fuerat. Omnium autem praemiorum summum erat immortalitas. I Hud praemium Herculi datum est. Herculis pater fuit luppiter, mater Alcmena, et omnium hominum 5 validissimus fuisse didtur. Sed lQn(^, r€gina dednim, eum, adhQc
- This number refers to the lesson after which the selection may be read.
- Di and dis arc from deu*. Cf. § 468. ' ligibus, § 501. 14.