The Hydra was a serpent-like water monster with nine heads that is often referenced in Greek mythology. It was an offspring of Typhon and Echidna bred by Hera to kill Hercules.
It was Hercules responsibility to slay the beast during his twelve Labors for King Eurystheus. The labors were his punishment for killing his wife and six sons after Hera had driven him temporarily mad. The Hydra was Hercules second labor. He attempted to cut off the heads of the beast but every time one was cut off, two more would grow back in its place. Another challenge in killing the Hydra was that its’ breath was poisonous to all who crossed its path. After many attempts at cutting off the Hydra’s heads, he distracted it by firing fiery arrows into the monsters lair. Hera sent a giant crab to distract Hercules who then sought his nephews’ assistance in killing the crab. His nephew handed him Athena’s golden sword which was successful in cutting off the Hydra’s one immortal head. Hercules then dipped his arrows into the Hydra’s blood and placed its head under the rock between Lerna and Elaius, a sacred path.
However, in the end the slaying of the Hydra does not count as a labor since Hercules received help from his nephew. King Eurystheus forces Hercules to complete an additional task.
The Hydra has been depicted throughout many pop culture films such as, Hydra (2009), (Walt Disney) as well as Jason and the Argonauts (1963).
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