Heracles, or Hercules and Achilles, was probably one of the most well-known heroes in Greek mythology. They have shown their endurance to the tests given by the gods and, most importantly, the relentless pursuance of their task.
Today, we’ll explain the critical contrasts between Achilles vs. Hercules, which are substantial in their own right.
The Difference Between the Families of Achilles and Hercules
Unlike Perseus, who shares a familial lineage with Hercules, Hercules and Achilles have different ancestries.
Hercules and Perseus are related to each other. He is the descendant of the man who slew Medusa. Both have Zeus as their father. Alcmene gave birth to Heracles, who was Perseus’ grandson and hence a descendant of Perseus.
She gave birth to Zeus’ son while he was disguising himself as Alcmene’s spouse. Zeus vowed Hercules would be king because he was so proud of his creation, but Hera did not like that. She messed up the birth order, making Zeus break his promise to make Hercules the king.
Iphicles was the mortal hero’s brother. The vehicles’ father was Amphitryon, while Hercules’ father was Zeus.
Despite Hera’s fury, Hercules remained a formidable young man. In his infancy, he suffocated the snakes Hera placed in his cradle.
When Hercules grew up, she cast an enchantment that caused him to go insane as a young adult. Megara and his children died due to his temporary madness.
He met Deianira, his second wife, and saved her from the centaur seeking to kidnap her on his next journey. Heracles lived with her, and the centaur gave Deianira a gift before dying. She believed rubbing the centaur’s cloak over Hercules’ skin would keep him from meeting other women. But it only drove him nuts again, and in the end, she killed herself.
To close the recap of Hercules’ family, he had his final bride, Hebe, who was the god’s cupbearer. Together, they had children named Alexiares and Anicetus.
While Achilles does not have any relationship with the Olympian gods, he was the son of the Nereid, Thetis. His father, Peleus, was one of the argonauts.
Even though the god does not have a mighty family lineage aside from his mother, Achilles was made sure to have a robust body, strong enough to almost make him an immortal because of his mother washing his body in the River Styx. Still, she missed a spot which became his fatal flaw in the end. Another variation of this story is that Thetis rubbed ambrosia on his body, but a specific part of his body was missed because of Peleus’s intervention.
Thetis was knowledgeable about her son’s fate in the future, and she made sure that he would have all the strength he needed. She even tried to hide him away from his fate by making him dress like a girl.
Another reason why Achilles vs Hercules is happening is because of their lovers.
Even though there is no clear depiction that Achilles was gay and had a relationship with Patroclus, many stories like to imagine that they were.
As he grew up, he had a lover and a best friend named Patroclus. The two heroes are close to each other, and even Poseidon was taken by Patroclus’s charm. When Patroclus died, Achilles was deeply affected by the fact that he was now dead and had lost his treasured comrade.
Achilles took revenge on his best friend and killed the prince of Troy, Hector. Achilles dragged Hector’s body on his horse around Patroclus’s grave for three days, and that was what he thought was rightful vengeance.
But even if we omit Patroclus as his lover, Achilles still had two sons with a woman named Deidamia. They were Neoptolemus and Oneiros.
How Do They Appear in Mythology?
In terms of their physical appearance, there are still comparisons between whether Achilles or Hercules stand out more than the other.
For Hercules, he does not have strategic thinking that he can easily employ in his conquests. Maybe it is also because of the curse that quickly fell upon him as Hera cast it, but he possesses incredible strength.
Because the hero had to go to several laborers, he was equipped with a lion’s skin for his clothing and a club or sword in his hand. Nonetheless, Hercules was strong enough to throw off his opponent with his bare hand.
Achilles, on the other hand, was an excellent warrior with incomparable strength in combat. Achilles had an advantage because he was guided by his mother, who already gave him an advantage when he was still young. The almost immortal had armor coming from Hephaestus because Thetis requested this armor because she was concerned for his safety.
The fleet of the Greeks always relied on his strength. But in the end, his flaw was the end of him. Paris shot him with an arrow in an attempt to kill him. Even though Paris’s arrow didn’t exactly kill him, Apollo’s intervention led to his death.
Achilles vs. Hercules: Role In Mythology
Hercules has appeared as a hero who faced numerous challenges at the hands of the gods.
This is mainly because of his jealous stepmother, who does not want him to exist in the first place. His father, Zeus, wants to prove that Hercules has every right to become an invincible being because he can take part.
Hercules faced two serpents sent by Hera when he was still an infant, and he survived them without any problems. Hercules was solid despite his age, and he even saved his stepbrother, Iphicles.
The most famous tale associated with Hercules is his twelve labors, which are the payment for the death of his wife Megara and his children. Apollo and Zeus have set the trials for him to overcome, including fighting several monsters who are difficult to overcome.
Hercules had an end game that was to fight with the titans alongside the gods. Hercules bravely fought for his life to drag the titan away from its land. And with the help of the gods, Hercules defeated the titan.
The Revival of Hercules
Another story is that Hercules died, but he was revived by his father, Zeus, and made a god to settle on Mount Olympus as one of them.
He died because of the poison attached to the clothing that Nessus gave to his wife. Deianira believed that with the help of the cloth, she could stop Hercules from seeing other women aside from her. However, the outcome was different than what was expected, and that agonized Hercules.
As we all know by now, Achilles has almost reached immortality. All thanks to his mother, who dipped him in the River Styx. Growing up, the hero had been taught by Chiron, and he learned a lot of things concerning his survival skills, such as archery and the art of fighting, music, and even medicine.
The Greek Hero of the Trojan War
Achilles led the Greeks against the Trojans, and they were successful. Along with the guidance of the gods who look after them, the hero almost feels victory. That is until his beloved Patroclus dies.
He sought revenge, and he then killed Hector, which weakened the Trojan forces. Hector’s body was dragged around Patroclus’s grave by the enraged Achilles.
But in retaliation, Paris shot the arrow, and Apollo made sure that it would lead to his death.