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In Greek mythology, Heracles (sometimes spelt Herakles) was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, a hero of superhuman strength and resourcefulness. As one of the illegitimate sons of Zeus he was hated by the goddess Hera who inflicted a temporary madness on him, in which he killed his own children. Going to the Delphic oracle for purification, he was advised to serve Eurystheus, king of Argos, for twelve years. Eurystheus imposed tasks on him: the twelve labours of Heracles. He also performed other feats and appears in other myths.

He died from putting on a poisoned shirt which his wife Deianeira had been deceived into giving him. Zeus granted him immortality and a place on Olympus.

The Roman equivalent was Hercules.