Question: What are the 12 Labors of Hercules?
Hercules had lots of adventures and a couple of marriages. Among the heroic myths about him, it's told that Hercules went to the Underworld and traveled with the Argonauts on their voyage to collect the Golden Fleece. Were these included in the 12 labors of Hercules? If not, which exactly were the 12 Labors?
Answer: Yes and no. The labors include the fetching of the Hellhound Cerberus, but the stories of Hercules' adventures with the other great Greek heroes are neither part of the 12 labors nor among the most familiar stories about Hercules. For more on them, see: More You Should Know About Hercules and People in the Life of Hercules.
12 Labors Table of Contents contains a numbered list of Hercules' 12 labors with descriptions and pictures. Hercules had to perform them to make amends for murdering his family. The names of the 12 labors are: the Nemean Lion, Lernean Hydra, Cerynitian Hind, Erymanthian Boar, Stables of Augeas, Stymphalian Birds, Cretan Bulls, Mares of Diomedes, Belt of Hippolyte, Cattle of Geryon, Apples of Hesperides, and the Hound of Hades.
Background on Hercules' Labors
The earliest extant list of the canonical 12 comes from art.
Archaic Age Sources on Hercules
The great Greek epic poets were familiar with at least some of the 12 laborz.
Classical Age on Hercules
By the Classical Age there was a temple that showed the labors. A surviving written source for all 12 from the period is lacking.
- The Romans on Hercules