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The Hydra (also known as the Lernaean Hydra) was a Greek mythological serpent with any number of heads (usually nine, as it was known to possess). Each time a head was cut off, two new heads regenerated in its place immediately. The middle and dominant Hydra head (the front and biggest) was immortal and breathed fire. This giant serpent’s other heads possessed poisonous breath in addition to poisonous and acidic blood.

Its lair was in 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 his nephew Iolaus. It is usually depicted as being from anywhere between 7 and 25 metres long and being around 6 to 13 metres tall. This is not correct or incorrect as the hydra is usually fought at different stages of its life depending on the version of the legend. The Hydra is usually often referred to as a girl in myth which would mean that it is the younger sister of Orthrus and Cerberus which are both male. This also might mean that it is the older sister of the chimera, Sphinx, Nemean Lion, Caucasian eagle, Ladon and the Crommyonian Sow. It was said to have been born in the swamps of Lerna which is also where it might be killed by Heracles.

The Second Labour of Heracles

Hercules was sent by king Eurystheus to kill the Hydra as part of his second labour since the Lernean Hydra was terrorising Lerna by attacking it is towns and killing flocks of sheep and cattle. He had taken along his nephew Iolaus. When he reached Lerna, he protected his nasal area and mouth with a fabric to safeguard himself from the stench. He shot a flaming arrow into its cave where it hissed in anger, arrived and started fighting him.

However, he had trouble coping with the Hydra when he understood that two heads regenerated whenever he sliced away one head. He informed Iolaus to burn off the stumps along with his torch whenever he cut among its heads off to be able to prevent the heads regrowing.

When Hera saw Hercules was winning, she sent down a huge crab called Korkinos to attack him by pinching his foot which he then crushed under his mighty foot. He received a golden sword from Athena, which he utilized to kill the immortal mind. Then took the immortal mind and buried it next aside of the road and positioned a boulder onto the bottom where the still writhing mind of the Hydra was buried. Then went back to your body and dipped his arrows in its poisonous bloodstream, which he found in his later quests. Both crab and the Hydra had been positioned in the sky as the constellations Cancers and Hydra, respectively.

Trivia

The hydra is actually among the labours of Heracles that didn’t count since he previously the help of his nephew Iolaus so King Eurystheus decreed that he carry out another hence making the ”12” labours of Heracles.

The hydra does not already have a set number of heads because the hydra had way too many heads for the vase painters to paint so they always gave it between 3 and 20 heads. Under normal circumstances the hydra never has less than 3 heads.

The hydra is usually depicted as having either two arms and no legs, two arms and two legs or no arms or legs at all when the hydra actually starts off with having no legs then it develops two arms then two legs. So all of these depictions are partially correct.

There are often 2 kinds of hydra. The serpentine, aquatic hydra with fins on its head and usually no legs was the lernean hydra which Heracles fought. The other is the terrestrial hydra which is the one with 4 legs and horns and spikes which is usually in other tales.

Both of these hydra’s could have any number of heads and does not have a set amount.
The hydra has alternating numbers of heads

The hydra has alternating numbers of heads and limbs.



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