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Lernaean Hydra

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General Info
Mythology Greek Mythology
Parents Typhon, Echidna
Sibling(s) Cerberus, Nemean Lion, Sphinx, Orthrus, Ladon
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Greek Mythology Wiki: Hydra

The Hydra, also known as the Lernaean Hydra, was a Greek mythological serpent with nine heads. Each time a head was cut off, two new heads sprouted in its place. One of the Hydra's heads was immortal while the others weren't. This giant serpent possessed poisonous breath in addition to poisonous blood. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid. Beneath the lake was an entrance to the Underworld, which the Hydra guarded. The Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. It was slain by Hercules and Iolaus.

The Second Labour of Heracles

Hercules was sent by king Eurystheus to kill the Hydra as part of his second labour. When he reached Lerna, he covered his nose and mouth with a cloth to protect himself from the fumes. However, he had trouble dealing with the Hydra when he realized that two heads sprouted whenever he hacked off one. He enlisted Iolaus, his nephew, to cauterize the head's wounds with a torch in order to prevent the heads regrowing.

When Hera saw Hercules was winning, she sent a huge crab to attack him, which he crushed under his mighty foot. He received a golden sword from Athena, which he used to kill the immortal head. He then hurled a boulder onto the body of the Hydra and dipped his arrows in its poisonous blood, which he used in his later quests. Both the crab and the Hydra were placed in the sky as the contellations Cancer and Hydra, repsectively.


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