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Herakles, also known by Hercules in Roman mythology, was a legendary Greek hero. The demi-god son of Zeus, Herakles was born to Alkmene and was the half-brother of Perseus, as well as his great-grandson.


Early life

The goddess Hera resented Herakles due to him being another illegitimate child of Zeus, as a result, she set out to make Herakles' life as miserable as possible.[1] As a child, he was found by a kindly old couple, Amphitryon and Alkmene, and was raised by them. During his infancy, Hera sent two snakes to kill him, but he squeezed them to death.[2]

Herakles' most famous weapon was his club, a branch of a wild olive tree in Argolis.[3] This was taken and hidden from him by the Cercopes, mischievous wood spirits, and the club was said to have sprouted roots and leaves when it hit the ground.[4]

Labours of Herakles

Among his many adventures, the most famous were the Twelve Labours. When Herakles married and had children, Hera drove him mad and made him attack and kill his family.[1] Serving his cousin, King Eurystheas of Mycenae, Herakles was given the task of completing Ten Labours.[5] However, after completing ten, Eurystheas discounted two, and thus demanded Herakles to complete two more, raising the number to twelve.[6] In some of these, Herakles was aided by companions, most notably Abderos[7] and Iolaos.[8][9]

His labours were as follows:

1. Slay the Nemean Lion
The hide of the Nemean Lion was said to be impervious to fire or weapons. Herakles cunningly trapped it in its den and strangled it with his own two hands. After succeeding he wore its hide as a cloak for the remainder of his journeys.[10][5][11][12][13]
2. Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra
Herakles killed the hydra by cutting off each of its heads and cauterizing its necks to prevent them from growing back.[14][8]
3. Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis
After chasing the Hind for a year, Herakles succeeded in capturing it and presented it to Eurystheas.[15]
4. Capture the Erymanthian Boar
Herakles tracked the Erymanthian Boar near a forest in Elis where he also met and killed the centaur Pholos. He was eventually also successful in capturing the boar.[16][17][18]
5. Clean the Augeian stable
the Augeian stable was the home of over 1,000 immortal cattle which belonged to King Augeias of Elis. Herakles accomplished the near-impossible task by diverting the rivers Alpheios and Pineios to run through the stable .[19]
6. Slay the Stymphalian birds
After the man-eating birds of Stymphalos begun to be a menace to men as well as livestock, Herakles was sent to slay the fearsome birds, ending their plight.[20][21]
7. Capture the Kretan Bull
After subduing the father of the Minotaur, Herakles delivered it to Eurystheas. The beast was set free and it rampaged again until it was killed by Theseus.[22][23]
8. Steal the Mares of Diomedes
The man-eating mares of King Diomedes of Thrace were retrieved by Herakles who fed them their owner.[7]
9. Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons
Hippolyta was an Amazon queen and she had a girdle given to her by her father. Herakles had to retrieve the girdle and return it to Eurystheas.[24]
10. Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon
The next challenge was to capture the herd guarded by a two-headed dog called Orthos, the herdsman Eurytion and the owner, Geryon; a giant with three heads and six legs. He killed the first two with his club and the third with a poisoned arrow. Herakles then herded the cattle to Eurytheas.[25]
11. Steal the golden apples of the Hesperides
Aided by Athena, Herakles succeeded in stealing the apples from the garden of the Hesperides. After tricking the Titan Atlas, Herakles walked away with the fruits.[26][6]
12. Capture and bring back Cerberos
His final and most difficult labour was to capture the Underworld's guard-dog Cerberos. To accomplish this, Herakles went to Tainaros, the so-called gateway to the Underworld guarded by Cerberos and captured it. Herakles took the creature back to Mycenae, causing Eurystheas to be fearful of the power and strength of this hero.[27][28]


Ultimately, Herakles was poisoned by one of his own arrows. The poison ate at his flesh, and knowing he was dying, Herakles tore the tallest trees he could find from their roots and built his funeral pyre before succumbing to the poison.[29]


"Respect, young one! You fight like an Argonaut!"
―Herakles while fighting Kassandra, c. 422 BCE.[src]-[m]

Herakles recruited by Kassandra

In a simulation created by the Isu Aletheia, Herakles's soul resided in a vault inside the prison fort of Tartaros within the Underworld. During the Peloponnesian War, he met the Spartan misthios Kassandra, who was sent by Hades to recruit him as a guardian of the Underworld. After being defeated by Kassandra in combat, Herakles agreed and traveled to the Gate of the Strong to defend it.[30]

Legacy and influence

In some of the stories of his adventures, Herakles is counted among the Argonauts. [citation needed]

In classical antiquity the Kretan town of Heraklion[31] and the Egyptian city of Herakleion were named after him.[32]

In 5th century BCE Herakles was widely celebrated all over Greece, whether by word of mouth or as statues and in murals. A tradition held that the island of Mykonos was built from the petrified corpses of Giants slain by Herakles,[33] [34] and in Elis, a statue of him watched over the Sacred Way.[35] In Argolis, not only was the olive tree his club had come from revered, but the southern region, full of sinkholes, was regarded as his.[9]

Of special note is the island of Thasos, wherein Herakles was considered the most important of the Greek pantheon, and called Soter, the savior. He was celebrated as the protector of the city, and his image was minted on Thasian coins.[36]

In 48 BCE, a gladius named Hercules' Gladius was marketed as the very sword he used to kill the Hydra although Roman swords did not exist in his lifetime.[32]

During the Italian Renaissance, Ercole Massimo's family was said to have originated from the union of Hercules and an unnamed nymph. [37]

In 2012, Clay Kaczmarek included the story of Hercules in the Garden of the Hesperides in a set of Glyph puzzles he'd hidden within the Animus for his follower, Desmond Miles to find. The puzzle in question, "In the Beginning," was the first of the set. It was suggested that the apple that Hercules retrieved from the garden was in fact an Apple of Eden. Accompanying this was the 1638 painting by Peter Paul Rubens.[26] Desmond deciphered this message in September of that year.[38]

In 2018, one of Layla Hassan's Animus modifications enabled an avatar based on the mythical hero to become a lieutenant aboard Kassandra's ship, the Adrestia.[9]

Personality and characteristics

Herakles was considered the strongest man to have ever lived, he was also incredibly intelligent being able to outwit many of his opponents. Having a considerable amount of willpower, Herakles was able to move enough to build his own funeral pyre even with dead Hydra poison in his veins.[29]

In the simulation of the Underworld, Herakles was eagerly waiting to fight a worthy opponent.[30]

Equipment and skills

In the simulation of the Underworld, Herakles was armed with his trusty club torn from an Argolian olive tree and was capable of delivering many powerful blows with it. He also wore a variant of the Arena Fighter's Helmet and wore the pelt of the Nemean Lion across his shoulders.[30] A bow and mace are also allegedly attributed to the legendary Greek hero.[9]

Behind the scenes

Herakles is a mythological figure and character introduced in Assassin's Creed II via the Glyph puzzles. He is mentioned in some of the following titles, until Assassin's Creed: Odyssey where in the DLC The Fate of Atlantis: Torment of Hades he made his debut actual appearance.

Herakles (Ἡρακλῆς) is an Ancient Greek name meaning "Glory of Hera" combining Ἥρᾱ (Hērā) "Hera" and κλεος (kleos) "glory". Herakles took the name in an attempt to appease the goddess. His birth name is recorded as Alcaeus (Ἀλκαῖος) or alternatively Alcides (Ἀλκείδης), derived from Ἀλκα (alka) "strength" and appended by a patronymic.

The painting featuring Herakles bringing Cerberos to Eurystheas, as seen in Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece, is from a Caeretan hydria from around 530 BCE. [citation needed]




  1. 1.0 1.1 Wikipedia-W-visual-balanced.svg Heracles on Wikipedia
  2. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyA Treasury of Legends
  3. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Olive Tree of Herakles
  4. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Club of Herakles
  5. 5.0 5.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceArgolis: The Nemean Lion
  6. 6.0 6.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceHydrea: The Golden Apples of the Hesperides
  7. 7.0 7.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceMakedonia: The Mares of Diomedes
  8. 8.0 8.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceArgolis: The Hydra
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  10. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Nemean Lion
  11. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceSamos: Samos Banner
  12. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceThasos: Thasos Banner
  13. Assassin's Creed: Pirates
  14. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Learna Swamp
  15. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceEuboea: The Keryneian Hind
  16. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyElis: Forest of Pholos
  17. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Erymanthian Boar
  18. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceElis: The Erymanthian Boar
  19. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceElis: The Augean Stables
  20. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArkadia: Stymphalos
  21. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceArkadia: The Stymphalian Birds
  22. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Kretan Bull
  23. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceMessara: The Kretan Bull
  24. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceKorinthia: The Belt of Hippolyta
  25. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceArkadia: The Cattle of Geryon
  26. 26.0 26.1 Assassin's Creed IIGlyph 1: "In the Beginning"
  27. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLakonia: Tainaros
  28. Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceElis: Cerberos
  29. 29.0 29.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Fate of Atlantis: Torment of Hades – The Fallen: Herakles the Legendary
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Fate of Atlantis: Torment of HadesThe Underworld's Fallen Guardians
  31. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMessara: Heraklion
  32. 32.0 32.1 Assassin's Creed: Origins
  33. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMykonos: Mykonos City
  34. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyTrouble in Paradise
  35. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyElis: Statue of Herakles
  36. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThasos: Temple of Herakles
  37. Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodThe Da Vinci DisappearanceDatabase: Ercole Massimo
  38. Assassin's Creed: InitiatesThe Desmond Files