Thursday, July 6, 2023

Hercules' Brother Iphicles

 Because of the stories of Hercules, shortly after his birth strangling two snakes in is crib, people forget that Hercules had a younger twin brother, Iphicles.  Iphicles was born one night after Hercules.  They both had the same mother, Alcmene, but Hercules' father was the god Zeus disguised as Amphitryon who was her husband and Iphicles father.  Alcmene suffered the rare but real possibility of two different men, each impregnating a different ovum in her uterus.  This is a real, but very rare condition called Superfetation.  Ancient Greek mythology describes a seemingly modern malady.  

Iphicles by all accounts was a big strong man himself, but could not compete with his brother Hercules.  Later in life it was Iphicles Son, Ieolus who was Hercules charioteer, who drove him around on a golden chariot.  

Iphicles traveled with his brother on his 12 quests and kept Hercules from killing everything in sight during 2 onsets of violent insanity brought on by the jealous goddess Hera.  First Hercules killed his whole family, then again he through Iphicles' sons into a fire killing them both, but still the dutiful Iphicles stands strong by his brother's side.  

Iphicles and his friend Telamon where both thrown into the dungeon of King Laomedon.  Hercules would not come their aid, but instead the king's son sent them two swords with which they killed the guards and freed themselves and warned Hercules of a plot against' him.  Hercules being a demigod himself, suffered from great bouts of Hubris where he waged psychological war against his father Zeus and the rest of the gods.  This eventual led up to his need to pay penance by performing his 12 trials, and again Iphicles was with his brother.  

It wasn't until Iphicles' death during one of the battles of the Augeas and Elans that Hercules' strength began waning and he began aging.  Just before Hercules was released from his mortality, Zeus allowed him to visit Iphicles in the land of the dead with the help of Hades that Iphicles forgave Hercules for all of his 12 trials.  It seems the gods had a plan for Iphicles after all, as he resides with his family in the Land of the Dead in peace.  

Peace and Balance,


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