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The first labor takes place in the region of Nemea in the land of Greece! Some events take place in Cleonae.

Heracles is believed to have lived around 2100 BCE. While the myth began in Greece, the story was later adopted into Roman society.

Heracles was a myth about a demigod born from a union between the god Zeus and a mortal named Alchmene. Zeus tricked alchmene into physical intimacy by taking the form of her husband Amphytrion. Zeus’ wife Hera persecutes the hero from craddle to grave.

There was a curse placed on Heracles by Zeus’ wife Hera. This curse caused Heracles to go mad and kill his wife and children. As punishment or penance for the hero’s violence, Heracles would perform the 12 labors. 

The First Labor of Heracles: The Nemean Lion


As punishment for slaughtering his own wife and children, Hercules had to complete 12 labors. His first labor was to bring Eurysthrus the skin of an invulnerable LION that terrorizes the hills around Nemea. Hercules strangled the lion to death and sacrificed himself and a friend named Molorchus. After discovering the death of the lion, Eurystheus became afraid of Hercules and sent him his commands to forbid him from entering through the gates of the city.

What is the task?

The task is to bring King Eurystheus the skin of an invulnerable lion that terrorizes the hills around Nemea.

What town and who did Hercules stay with?

Hercules stayed with a poor workman for hire, Molorchus, in a town called Cleonae.

What did Molorchus offer?

Molorchus offered to sacrifice an animal to pray for a safe lion hunt.

What did Hercules tell Molorchus?

Molorchus will wait 30 days, if Hercules returned then they would sacrifice to Zeus, however, if Hercules died, Molorchus will sacrifice instead to Hercules.

Where did Hercules lead the lion?

Hercules leads the lion into a cave with two entrance, one which Hercules blocked.

How did the lion die?

Hercules grasps the lion in his mighty arms and choked the lion to death.

How did King Eurystheus react to Hercules completing the labor?

King Eurystheus became afraid of Hercules and forbid him from entering through the gates of the city.

What did King Eurystheus have?

Eurystheus had a large bronze jar made and buried partway in the earth, where he can hide from Hercules if he needed to.

What did King Eurysthe send?

King Eurystheus sent his commands to Hercules through a herald, because he refused to see Hercules face to face.