Greek Hero


Engraving of the second labor of Heracles by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio

Engraving of the second labor of Heracles, showing Heracles and Iolaus fighting the Hydra, by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio (16th century)

Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, San FranciscoPublic Domain


Iolaus was a Greek hero, the son of Heracles’ half-brother Iphicles. He became the companion and helper of his uncle Heracles, assisting him on most of his adventures. Later, it was Iolaus who protected Heracles’ children from Eurystheus, the cruel king responsible for assigning Heracles his Twelve Labors. 

In cult, Iolaus was usually worshipped together with Heracles, as seen in Thebes, Sicily, and Sardinia (the latter of which Iolaus was sometimes said to have colonized). He seems to have been connected with youth and with the passage of young men to adulthood.[1]