Sunday, November 7, 2010

Myths and Legends: The Origin of the Milky Way

The Origin of the Milky Way. To find out more about Heracles and the origin of the Milky Way, see this Wikipedia article: link; for information about the image: image source.

This is one of my favorite ancient myths! Hera had decided to destroy Heracles, the child of her husband, Zeus, by the mortal woman Alcmena. Zeus wanted his baby boy to suckle at the breast of a goddess so when Hera was asleep, he held the baby Heracles to her breast. When Hera suddenly awoke and saw that she was suckling an unknown baby, she thrust the baby aside and as her breast flew upwards, it scattered droplets of milk which became the Milky Way!

In another version of the story, Hera arranged for Heracles to be abandoned in the wilderness to die. As she was wandering in the wilderness later, she saw a beautiful baby. Captivated by his good looks, she picked up the baby and proceeded to nurse him. Athena approached Hera and asked her why on earth she was nursing the baby that she had wanted to destroy. Horrified at her mistake, Hera cast the baby Heracles aside and her breast flew upwards. spraying drops of milk everywhere.

You can also find more myths and legends for the week of November 4-10 here. For more information and links to the actual javascript code, see the Myths & Legends Widget Reference Page.