Document belonging to the Greek Mythology Link, a web site created by Carlos Parada, author of Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology
Characters • Places • TopicsImagesBibliographyPDF Editions
Copyright © 1997 Carlos Parada and Maicar Förlag.

The Original Hercules and Disney's

Disney's Hercules with Meg (Megara) and the Satyr Phil (Philoctetes)

In 1997 Walt Disney's Pictures released the animated cartoon Hercules, introducing the hero to a wide public. Some differences between Disney's inventions and the original Hercules are listed below for the benefit of those interested.


Disney's Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Heracles.

Original Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Heracles.

Born immortal, became mortal

Born mortal, became immortal.

Birth and snakes

Son of Zeus and Hera. Born in Olympus.

The two snakes which attack the child Hercules are two demons in disguise sent by Hades.

Son of Zeus and Alcmena, wife of Amphitryon.

Hera, who did not approve the love affair between Zeus and Alcmena, is Heracles 1's enemy and some say she sent the two snakes which he, being eight months old, killed.

Pegasus and Narcissus

Pegasus,the winged horse that keeps Hercules company at all times, is created by Zeus out of a cloud.

Narcissus appears in heaven watching himself in a mirror.

Pegasus, offspring of Poseidon and Medusa 1, is the winged horse which opened up a spring on a mountain by striking the rock with its hoof. Bellerophon mounted it when he went to kill the Chimera. It is said to have leapt forth from the teeming neck of the slain Medusa 1, its mane bespattered with blood. This horse never followed Heracles 1 in his adventures.

Narcissus still keeps gazing on his image in the waters of the river Styx in the Underworld.


Amphitryon and Alcmena are adoptive parents. They are peasants.

Amphitryon came to Thebes as an exile from Mycenae, and as a general he ravaged the islands of the Taphians. Amphitryon was married with Alcmena and during his absence in the course of one of his military campaigns, Zeus took his form and lay with her. Amphitryon died in the battlefield fighting against the Minyans.

Alcmena is daughter of Electryon 1, King of Mycenae.

Amphitryon and Alcmena had a son Iphicles, half brother of Heracles 1.

Hades is an evil force revolting against the established order.

Hades, as lord of the Underworld, is part of the order of the world, and he is not evil, even though mortals, fearing death, often consider him a hateful god.

The MOERAE, who cut the thread of life, appear sharing one eye, which means they have been combined with the GRAEAE.


The MOERAE are the three sisters who decide on human fate and cut the thread of life. For their just way of distributing, they are most honored by the gods, and when the GIANTS attacked heaven the MOERAE sided with the OLYMPIANS.

The GRAEAE (see Perseus 1) are sisters of the GORGONS (see Medusa 1) and old women from birth. The three had but one eye and one tooth, and these they passed to each other in turn.


The name Penelope is used for a mule, and the name Phidias for a potter. Philoctetes is the Satyr who trains Hercules.

Penelope is the name of Odysseus' wife. Phidias is the name of the celebrated Athenian sculptor from historical times, born about 490 BC. Philoctetes inherited the Bow and Arrows of Heracles 1 (for these objects see Trojan War), and with them killed Paris during the Trojan War.


When Hercules meets his trainer, the Satyr Philoctetes, also called Phil, the ARGONAUTS have already made their voyage long ago, and in the same way other heroes, like Odysseus, Theseus, Perseus and Achilles, belong to the past. The Trojan War is presented as having already taken place.

Heracles 1 was a descendant of Perseus 1, but otherwise he was an Argonaut himself. He is a contemporary of Theseus, and had already left this world at the time of the Trojan War. So both Odysseus and Achilles come after him. Philoctetes, who also fought in the Trojan War, never trained Heracles 1 because he was a child when Heracles 1 died.

The Centaur

The Centaur Nessus tries to rape the until then unknown lady in distress Megara.

The Centaur Nessus 2 tries to rape Heracles 1's wife Deianira 1, while ferrying her across a river. Heracles 1 shot this centaur with his arrows, but on dying he gives a charm to Deianira 1 that in time will cause the death of Heracles 1.


Megara, also called Meg, is the girl Hercules falls in love with.

She once sold her soul to evil Hades for the good purpose of saving her boyfriend's life. But this boyfriend found another sweetheart, and there she is now when Hercules meets her.

On a later occasion Megara saves Hercules.

Heracles 1 married Megara, daughter of the Theban Creon 2, who was Regent of Thebes in more than one occasion.

According to some Hera drove Heracles 1 mad and he killed his wife Megara, and his children by her. But she is also said to have married Iolaus 1, charioteer of Heracles 1, at the time when Heracles 1 had finished his Labours.

She did not sell her soul to Hades, who does not buy any.

Megara never saved Heracles 1.


The Hydra is just outside Thebes.

The Hydra was in Lerna, in the Peloponnesus.


Hercules tells Zeus about his submitting the Minotaur and the Gorgon Medusa.

The Minotaur was killed by Theseus in Crete and Medusa 1 was beheaded by Perseus 1.


Hades frees the TITANS, so that they may attack heaven. The TITANS are presented as representing the four elements: earth (as a stone monster), fire (as lava), air (as a hurricane) and water (as lethal ice).

The scene of Hercules helping the OLYMPIANS evokes the fight against the GIANTS.

Hades is an ally of Zeus. The TITANS are not the same as the four elements. According to some Zeus liberated the TITANS himself, and they never revolted against him, though Zeus became the ruler of the universe by attacking them (see Titanomachy).

The GIANTS attacked heaven and the OLYMPIANS were helped by Heracles 1.


A Cyclops, liberated by Hades, attacks Hercules who, recovering his strength, fights back and blinds his single eye.

The CYCLOPES were Zeus' allies in the fight against the TITANS. The CYCLOPES gave the thunderbolt to Zeus, the trident to Poseidon and the helmet of invisibility to Hades.

The savage Cyclops Polyphemus 2 was blinded by Odysseus.

TITANS hurled

Hercules hurls the defeated TITANS to outer space.

The defeated are usually hurled down to the Underworld.

In the Underworld

Hercules descends to the Underworld in order to fetch Megara's soul.

Cerberus, the three-headed dog, appears, but does not seem to perform his duty too zealously.

Hercules' immortality becomes apparent, and returns to the world as a triumphant Orpheus.

Heracles 1 descends to the Underworld in order to fetch the hound of Hades, Cerberus 1, and show it to Eurystheus, the man who requested him to perform the LABOURS.

Cerberus 1 guards the entrance of the Underworld.

Heracles 1 was not immortal at the time of his descent to Hades.

Hades destroyed

Hades appears to fall into the river of the dead. Having apparently been lynched by the populace of souls, it is doubtful that he may ever come back, which could mean that nobody dies any more, or that the Underworld is left without a lord.

If life comes from death and death from life, as some say, then the destruction of the lord of the dead would mean the annihilation of this cycle, and the establishment of a new order.

Hades may be hateful in the sense that death is hateful to humans, but he is not known for ill-treating the souls of the dead. A particular bad time in the Underworld have those who have offended the OLYMPIANS.


Hercules renounces heaven, and stays with Megara and his adoptive parents Amphitryon and Alcmena, to live the life of a mortal.

Heracles 1 died as a result of a poison, and after having burned in the funeral pyre, he obtained immortality. Being reconciled to Hera, Heracles 1 married her daughter Hebe and had children by her in Olympus, where he stayed to live the life of an immortal.

Related sections Heracles 1