The myth of Hercules: 12 labors in 8-bits – Alex Gendler

The myth of Hercules: 12 labors in 8-bits – Alex Gendler


Hercules, son of Zeus
and champion of humankind, gazed in horror as he realized he had just committed
the most unspeakable crime imaginable. The goddess Hera, who hated Hercules
for being born of her husband’s adultery, had stricken him
with a temporary curse of madness. And his own family were the casualties. Consumed by grief, Hercules sought out
the Oracle of Delphi, who told him the path to atonement lay
with his cousin, King Eurystheus of Tiryns,
a favorite of Hera’s. Eurystheus hoped to humiliate Hercules
with ten impossible tasks that pitted him against
invincible monsters and unfathomable forces. Instead, the king set the stage
for an epic series of adventures that would come to be known
as the Labors of Hercules. The first labor was
to slay the Nemean Lion, who kidnapped women
and devoured warriors. Its golden fur was impervious to arrows, but Hercules cornered
the lion in its dark cave, stunned it with a club, and strangled it with his bare hands. He found no tool sharp enough
to skin the beast, until the goddess Athena suggested
using one of its own claws. Hercules returned to Tiryns
wearing the lion’s hide, frightening King Eurystheus so much
that he hid in a wine jar. From then on, Hercules was ordered to present his trophies
at a safe distance. The second target was the Lernaean Hydra,
a giant serpent with many heads. Hercules fought fiercely, but every time he cut one head off,
two more grew in its place. The battle was hopeless until his nephew Iolaus thought
to cauterize the necks with fire, keeping the heads from regrowing. The dead serpent’s remains
became the Hydra constellation. Instead of slaying a beast,
Hercules next had to catch one, alive. The Ceryneian Hind was a female deer
so fast it could outrun an arrow. Hercules tracked it for a year, finally trapping it in the northern land
of Hyperborea. The animal turned out to be sacred
to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, and Hercules swore to return it. When Eurystheus saw the hind,
he demanded to keep it instead, but as soon as Hercules let go,
the animal ran to its mistress. Thus, Hercules completed his task
without breaking his promise. The fourth mission was to capture
the Erymanthian boar, which had ravaged many fields. Advised by the wise centaur Chiron, Hercules trapped it
by chasing it into thick snow. For the fifth task, there were no animals,
just their leftovers. The stables where King Augeas
kept his hundreds of divine cattle had not been maintained in ages. Hercules promised to clean them in one day if he could keep one-tenth
of the livestock. Augeas expected the hero to fail. Instead, Hercules dug massive trenches, rerouting two nearby rivers to flow
through the stables until they were spotless. Next came three more beastly foes, each requiring
a clever strategy to defeat. The carnivorous Stymphalian birds
nested in an impenetrable swamp, but Hercules used Athena’s special rattle
to frighten them into the air, at which point he shot them down. No mortal could stand before
the Cretan bull’s mad rampage, but a chokehold
from behind did the trick. And the mad King Diomedes, who had trained his horses
to devour his guests, got a taste of his own medicine when Hercules wrestled him
into his own stables. The ensuing feast calmed the beasts
enough for Hercules to bind their mouths. But the ninth labor involved someone
more dangerous than any beast, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Hercules was to retrieve the belt given
to her by her father Ares, the god of war. He sailed to the Amazon land of Themyscira
prepared for battle, but the queen was so impressed
with the hero and his exploits that she gave the belt willingly. For his tenth labor, Hercules had to steal a herd
of magical red cattle from Geryon, a giant with three heads and three bodies. On his way, Hercules was so annoyed
by the Libyan desert heat that he shot an arrow at the Sun. The sun god Helios admired
the hero’s strength and lent his chariot for the journey
to the island of Erytheia. There, Hercules fought off
Geryon’s herdsman and his two-headed dog,
before killing the giant himself. That should have been the end. But Eurystheus announced
that two labors hadn’t counted: the Hydra, because Iolaus
had helped Hercules kill it, and the stables,
because he’d accepted payment. And so, the hero set
about his eleventh task, obtaining golden apples from
the garden of the Hesperides nymphs. Hercules began by catching
the Old Man of the Sea and holding the shape-shifting water-god
until he revealed the garden’s location. Once there, the hero found the titan Atlas
holding up the heavens. Hercules offered to take his place
if Atlas would retrieve the apples. Atlas eagerly complied, but Hercules then
tricked him into trading places again, escaping with apples in hand. The twelfth and final task
was to bring back Cerberus, the three-headed hound
guarding the underworld. Helped by Hermes and Athena,
Hercules descended and met Hades himself. The lord of the dead allowed Hercules
to take the beast if he could do it without weapons, which he achieved by grabbing
all three of its heads at once. When he presented the hound
to a horrified Eurystheus, the king finally declared
the hero’s service complete. After 12 years of toil, Hercules had redeemed the tragic deaths
of his family and earned a place in the divine pantheon. But his victory held
an even deeper importance. In overcoming the chaotic
and monstrous forces of the world, the hero swept away what remained
of the Titans’ primordial order, reshaping it into one
where humanity could thrive. Through his labors, Hercules tamed the world’s madness
by atoning for his own.

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  1. Find out what went into the making of this video with this fun behind-the-scenes look from directors Jérémie Balais & Jeff Le Bars: http://bit.ly/HerculesBTS

  2. Eureka! I've found the solution to global warming. Let's nuke the Sun

    If Hercules can do it, so can we!

  3. Student version:
    After 12 years of toil,i have earn a place in the most important thing in mortal life
    GRADUATION

  4. why did Hercules play the rattle to scare the birds and made them fly When he could have shot them while they were sitting on the tree.

  5. Hera logic:Hate Hercules because husband did adultery then cursed him with madness now need to do 12 quests

  6. The awkward moment when you realise that the Greek mythical hero is named Heracles and not Hercules (Roman version). Nice video nonetheless.

  7. If you're gonna use names like "Zeus" and not "Jupiter/Jove", then he should be Herakles, not Hercules.

  8. Hercules isn't Zeus' son, Hercules is the roman counterpart of Heracles, so technically he's the son of Jupiter.

  9. in the labor of the Hydra couldn't he just bash it's head or kill it by attacking its body rather than beheading it?

  10. Ah, those nice, zesty Greek names and words… Hercules… Nemean… Erymanthian… Athena… Eurystheus… Tiryns… the most Hellenic video I've ever watched, so help me.

  11. If you wanna call him Hercules call his father Jove, his stepmother Juno and all the gods by their roman name. Heracles is the greek name.

  12. It would be better If more people explain more about Hércules and Hera relationship. It is closet to a abusive fostermon, Hércules name mean for the glory of Hera, she Gave It to him

  13. Helios: bruh you shot the thing i was known for
    Hercules: It was hot D:

    Helios: wanna ride?
    Hercules: lol sure

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