Sunday, 1 February 2015

Alcmene

                                                         In Greek mythology, Alcmene was descrided as the daughter of Electryon, king of Tiryns and Mycenae or Medea in Argolis (the son of Perseus and Andromeda) and Anaxo (daughter of Alcaeus and Astydamia) or Lysidice (daughter of Pelops and Hippodameia)or Eurydice (daughter of Pelops).
                                         Electryon, asked his nephew, Amphitryon (son of Electryon's brother, Alcaeus, king of Tiryns) to take over his kingdom when he went to battle the Taphians, who had killed his eight sons. Before leaving, Electryon promised his daughter Alcmene to Amphitryon as a bride.
                                     When Electryon returned from war, Amphitryon accidentally killed him while throwing a club at some cattle. Forced to flee, Alcmene went with Amphitryon to Thebes, where king Creon cleared Amphitryon of guilt for the killing. However, Alcmene refused to marry Amphitryon until he had avenged the death of her eight brothers. Creon agreed to help if Amphitryon would rid Thebes of the Teumessian fox which had been sent by Dionysus to ravage the country.
Alcmene

               
                                  After overcoming the fox, Amphitryon set out with an army to battle the Taphians. The Taphian king had golden hair that made him immortal and his city unconquerable. But when his daughter, Comaetho, saw Amphitryon, she fell in love with him and cut her father's golden hair. The king immediately died. The city fell to Amphitryon, who then killed Comaetho for betraying her father and her city.
                                               While Amphitryon was away, Zeus visited Alcmene disguised as Amphitryon. Believing Zeus to be Amphitryon, Alcmene let him came into the bed chamber.  Extending one night into three, Zeus had sex with Alcmene. Amphitryon returned home the next day and learned from the blind prophet Tiresias that Alcmene had slept with Zeus and would give birth to a great hero. That night Amphitryon slept with Alcmene, and she became pregnant by him as well. Alcmene later gave birth to twins. One twin—Iphicles, the son of Amphitryon and Hercules, the son of Zeus.
Zeua and Alcmene


                                          When Alcmene was about to give birth to Hercules, Zeus announced to all the gods that on that day a child, descended from Zeus himself, would be born who would rule all those around him. Hera, after requesting Zeus to swear an oath to that effect, descended from Olympus to Argos and made the wife of Sthenelus (a son of Perseus) give birth to Eurystheus after only seven months, while at the same time preventing Alcmene from delivering Heracles. This resulted in the fulfilment of Zeus's oath by Eurystheus rather than Heracles.
                       According to some versions, while in labour, Alcmene was having difficulty giving birth to such a large child. After seven days and nights in agony, Alcmene stretched out her arms and called upon Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. However, while Eileithyia did go to Alcmene, she was instructed by Hera to stop the delivery. With her hands clasped and legs crossed, Eileithyia muttered charms, thereby preventing Alcmene from giving birth. Alcmene struggled in pain, cursed the heavens, and became close to death. Galanthis, a maid of Alcmene who was nearby, observed Eileithyia's actions and quickly deduced Hera's plans. She announced that Alcmene had safely delivered her child, and this surprised Eileithyia so much that she immediately jumped up and unclenched her hands. As soon as Eileithyia leapt up, Alcmene was released from her spell and gave birth to Hercules. As punishment for deceiving Eileithyia, Galanthis was transformed into a weasel and continued to live with Alcmene.
birth of Hercules
                                                             According to some versions, Hera sent witches (the Thebans) to hinder Alcmene's delivery of Hercules. The witches were successful in preventing the birth until Historis, daughter of Tiresias, thought of a trick to deceive the witches. Like Galanthis, Historis announced that Alcmene had delivered her child; having been deceived, the witches went away, allowing Alcmene to give birth.
       According to one version, Alcmene calls upon Zeus, who performs a miracle allowing her to give birth quickly and without pain. After a crash of thunder and light, the baby arrives without anyone's assistance. 

                                                      After the death of Amphitryon, Alcmene married Rhadamanthys (son of Zeus and Europa), and lived with him in exile at Ocaleae in Boeotia. In some versions, Rhadamanthys was described as a tutor to Hercules. 
                                                       Alcmene died at Megara, while walking from Argos to Thebes. The Heracleidae fell into disagreement about where to take Alcmene's body, with some wishing to take her corpse back to Argos, and others wishing to take it to Thebes to be buried with Amphitryon and Heracles' children by Megara. However, the god in Delphi gave the Heracleidae an oracle that it was better to bury Alcmene in Megara. According to other version, when Alcmene died, she was turned from human form to a stone.

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