Hercules

Hercules is the Latinized spelling of Greek name Herakles meaning “glory of Hera” from Greek elements kleos (glory) and the name of the goddess Hera. It’s rather an ironic name for the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, Alcmene, considering Hera hated him as she hated all of Zeus’s illegitimate offspring, and drove him mad enough to kill his wife Megara and their children, in which Hercules had to perform the Twelve Labors for penance. Hercules also had a twin brother, Iphicles, though he’s the son of Alcmene’s husband Amphitryon, and a full mortal. Apparently the same night Zeus seduced Alcmene (disguised as her husband), Amphitryon came home later that same night and slept with his wife, resulting in the birth of twin sons by different fathers).

As the son of a god, Hercules had great strength and killed many monsters. He was also very sexually active with many women (fathering many children) and men, and was killed (by accident) by his third wife Deianeira who was tricked into soaking his shirt with the blood of the centaur Nessus who attempted to kidnap and rape her before being killed by Hercules; after his death he became a full god and joined the other gods on Mount Olympus, where he married Hebe, the goddess of youth the cupbearer of the gods, and they had sons Alexiares and Anicetus.

Origin: Greek

Variants:

  • Herakles (Greek)
  • Heracles (Latinized spelling of Heracles)
  • Heraclius (Ancient Greek, Latinized spelling)
  • Herakleios (Ancient Greek)
  • Iraklis (Modern Greek)
  • Heraclio (Spanish)
  • Erekle (Georgian)
  • Irakli (Georgian)
  • Irakliy (Russian)
  • Hercule (French)
  • Ercole (Italian)
  • Ercwlff (Welsh)

 

Female forms:

  • Heraclea
  • Heracleia
  • Heraclia
  • Iraklia (Modern Greek)

 

 

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