Iolaus

Iolaus

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For the place on the List of National Heritage Sites in Jamaica, see Iolaus, Jamaica.


In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Iolaus (in Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

, Ἰόλαος) was a Theban
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 divine hero, son of Iphicles
Iphicles
In Greek mythology, Iphicles is the name of three different people:*The half-brother of Heracles, being the son of Alcmene and her human husband Amphitryon, whereas Heracles was her son by Zeus. Iphicles was the father of Heracles' charioteer Iolaus by Automedusa, daughter of Alcathous...

, Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

's brother, and Automedusa
Alcathous, son of Pelops
Alcathous was in Greek mythology the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and brother of Atreus and Thyestes. He first married Pyrgo and afterwards Euaechme, and was the father of Echepolis , Callipolis , Iphinoe , Periboea , and Automedusa .Pausanias relates that after Euippus, son of king Megareus,...

.

He was famed for being Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

's nephew and for helping with some of his Labors, and also for being one of the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

. Through his daughter Leipephilene
Leipephilene
In Greek mythology, Leipephilene was the daughter of Iolaus and Megara. She was renowned for her beauty, which was compared to that of an Olympian goddess. She was the wife of Phylas and mother, by him, of Hippotes and Thero....

 he was considered to have fathered the mythic and historic line of the kings of Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

, ending with Telestes
Bacchiadae
The Bacchiadae , a tightly-knit Doric clan, were the ruling family of archaic Corinth in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE, a period of Corinthian cultural power. Corinth had been a backwater in eighth-century Greece...

.

A species of butterfly has been named after him.

Relationship with Heracles


As a son of Iphicles
Iphicles
In Greek mythology, Iphicles is the name of three different people:*The half-brother of Heracles, being the son of Alcmene and her human husband Amphitryon, whereas Heracles was her son by Zeus. Iphicles was the father of Heracles' charioteer Iolaus by Automedusa, daughter of Alcathous...

, Iolaus was a nephew of Heracles. He often acted as Heracles' charioteer and companion. He was popularly regarded as Heracles's lover, and the shrine to him in Thebes was a place where male couples worshiped and made vows.

The Theban gymnasium
Gymnasium (ancient Greece)
The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed in the nude, a practice said to...

 was also named after him, and the Iolaeia, an athletic festival consisting of gymnastic and equestrian events, was held yearly in Thebes in his honor. The victors at the Iolaea were crowned with garlands of myrtle.

Iolaus provided essential help to Heracles in his battle against the Hydra
Lernaean Hydra
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even...

, his second labor. Seeing that Heracles was being overwhelmed by the multi-headed monster (the Lernaean Hydra
Lernaean Hydra
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even...

), who grew two heads in place of each one cut off, Iolaus sprang to help, cauterizing
Cauterization
The medical practice or technique of cauterization is the burning of part of a body to remove or close off a part of it in a process called cautery, which destroys some tissue, in an attempt to mitigate damage, remove an undesired growth, or minimize other potential medical harmful possibilities...

 each neck as Heracles beheaded it.

Heracles gave his wife, Megara
Megara (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Megara was the oldest daughter of Creon, king of Thebes. In reward for Heracles' defending Thebes from Orchomenus in single-handed battle, Creon offered his daughter Megara to Heracles and he brought her home to the house of Amphitryon...

, age thirty three, to Iolaus, then only sixteen years old – ostensibly because the sight of her reminded him of his murder of their three children. They had a daughter, Leipephilene
Leipephilene
In Greek mythology, Leipephilene was the daughter of Iolaus and Megara. She was renowned for her beauty, which was compared to that of an Olympian goddess. She was the wife of Phylas and mother, by him, of Hippotes and Thero....

. He was one of the Heraclidae.

Upon Heracles' death, Iolaus lit the funeral pyre, though according to some mythographers, this was Philoctetes
Philoctetes
Philoctetes or Philocthetes according to Greek mythology, the son of King Poeas of Meliboea in Thessaly. He was a Greek hero, famed as an archer, and was a participant in the Trojan War. He was the subject of at least two plays by Sophocles, one of which is named after him, and one each by both...

 instead.

Television


Iolaus was a major character in Renaissance Pictures
Renaissance Pictures
Renaissance Pictures is an American film production company. Founded by director Sam Raimi, producer Rob Tapert and actor Bruce Campbell, with help from publicist Irvin Shapiro, on August 10, 1979, to produce their film The Evil Dead, along with its sequels Evil Dead II and Army of...

' Hercules/Xena
Xena
Xena is a fictional character from Robert Tapert's Xena: Warrior Princess franchise. She first appeared in the 1995–1999 television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, before going on to appear in Xena: Warrior Princess TV show and subsequent comic book of the same name...

 franchise. Michael Hurst
Michael Hurst
Michael Eric Hurst, ONZM is a New Zealand actor, director and writer, mostly on stage and television. He is probably best known internationally for playing Iolaus in the television programs Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and companion series Xena: Warrior Princess...

 played the character in two TV-Movies (Hercules and the Amazon Women
Hercules And The Amazon Women
"Hercules and the Amazon Women" is the first movie-length pilot episode of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.-Plot overview:...

and Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur
Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur
Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur is the fifth made-for-TV movie in the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.-Overview:Hercules has given up his days of traveling, and amazing adventures, and has settled down to spend some time with his family...

) and in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is a television series, filmed in New Zealand and the United States. It was produced from 1995, and was very loosely based on the tales of the classical Greek culture hero Heracles...

(appearing as a recurring character in the first two seasons and a main character for the remaining seasons). Iolaus was not Hercules' nephew, but instead his best friend since childhood and his frequent traveling companion. It was stated that Iolaus (in the TV series) was 2 years older than Hercules. At times, Iolaus felt he was living in Hercules' shadow, but he often proved himself as a hero in his own right. The character was notably killed off several times – only to be eventually revived.
Hurst also played Iolaus 2 (a parallel universe double), who appeared in several episodes. This Iolaus had been a coward and fearfully served as jester to the Sovereign (Hercules' double). Thanks to Hercules, though, he learned self-confidence and became a hero. Iolaus 2 later left Hercule's side when he chose to marry Triton's mermaid daughter Nautica and with Aphrodite's help, he became a merman.

Hurst also played the character in two guest appearances on Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena: Warrior Princess is an American–New Zealand supernatural fantasy adventure series that aired in syndication from September 4, 1995 until June 18, 2001....

("Prometheus" and "The Quest"). In the Young Hercules
Young Hercules
Young Hercules is a spin-off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It was aired on Fox Kids from September 12, 1998, to May 12, 1999. It lasted one season with 50 episodes and starred Ryan Gosling in the title role.-Plot:...

pilot movie and spin-off, Iolaus was a main character played by Dean O'Gorman
Dean O'Gorman
-Early life:Born in Auckland, New Zealand; he has a brother named Brett. He attended Rangitoto College and earned a black belt in karate by the age of ten. -Career:...

. (O'Gorman also played the young version of Iolaus in a few HTLJ flashback episodes.)