Myths were not derived from a single book, rather from many stories. Greek mythology begins with Homer. The Greeks made the gods in the image of themselves.
Acrisius is told by an oracle that his daughter Danae’s son will kill him. He locks up his daughter but she gets pregnant by Zeus himself and has a son named Perseus. Acrisius locks them up in a chest and floats them out to sea. They eventually wash up at Dictys’ house, brother of the harsh ruler of the area, Polydectes. Polydectes wants to get rid of Perseus and marry Danae so he tells Perseus to go and kill Medusa. This would usually be almost impossible, but the gods favored him and gave him 5 gifts. Athena gave him a mirror shield. Hermes gives him a magic sword and information leading to winged sandals, a magic wallet, and an invisibility cap. He sneaks into the Gorgon’s lair and the two gods point out which one is Medusa as the other two cannot be killed. Using his gifts, he chops off her head, puts it in the wallet and flies away. On the way back he finds Andromeda chained up about to be eaten. He saves her and takes her as his wife. When he gets back, he finds that Polydectes has driven off Dictys and Danae so he goes to Polydectes’ palace and interrupts a meeting with Medusa’s head turning them all to stone. Perseus ends the story by accidentally killing Acrisius in a discus throwing accident.
Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens. Aegeus leaves a sword and a pair of shoes under a giant rock for Theseus when he gets strong enough to move the rock. When he finally can, he takes the items and sets off on a journey to Athens. Along the way there are bandits who Theseus kills the same way they kill their victims. When he finally arrives in Athens the evil Medea convinces Aegeus to kill this man who he doesn’t realize is his son. Just as Theseus is to be killed Aegeus notices the sword and Medea escapes to Asia. Theseus then saves the city from their obligation to King Minos, to send 7 boys and 7 girls to meet their fate at the hands of the minotaur. Theseus offers to go, and promises his father if the survives he will sail back with white sails to signal that he is alive. Minos’ daughter Ariadne falls in love with Theseus who helps him by giving him a golden ball of thread he can unwind as he walks, so he can find his way back. He finds the Minotaur asleep and beats him to death. He runs quickly back to the ship with Ariadne but abandons her when she goes to shore and he gets blown away. Ariadne dies. Theseus forgets to raise the white sails and Aegeus throws himself into the sea. Theseus inherits the throne and converts Athens into a democracy. He does some small things while king. He helps the Argives, Oedipus, Hercules, and Pirithous, the last of which almost kills him and Hercules has to come and save him. He fights the amazons a few times, marries their queen Hippolyta, and has a child named Hippolytus. Theseus then marries Phaedra, Ariadne’s sister, who falls in love with Hippolytus. He rejects her and she commits suicide and falsely accuses him of rape. Theseus exiles Hippolytus who then dies. Artemis tells Theseus the truth and goes to visit his friend King Lycomedes. He kills Theseus for no apparent reason.
Hercules is the son of Zeus. This gives him the power to challenge the gods. Even with all of this strength, he was not intelligent in the slightest. For example, once he threatened to shoot the sun because it was too hot. When he was a baby, he killed two snakes threatening him and his brother. He kills many other things as a youngling including the legendary Thespian lion, and unfortunately one of his teachers.
One important myth of Hera is when she tries to kill Hercules. It all started when Zeus started to hang out with other girls. That made Hera really angry. Then one day Hera found out that Zeus was having a child with Alcmene, a beautiful human princess. That made Hera very jealous and she sought out revenge on Zeus. Hera tried to delay Hercules from being born because she did not want him to rule. She would have delayed his birth permanently but she was told that Alcmene already had Hercules. After Hera found out that someone lied to her, she sent two serpents to his bed to kill him but, as a baby, Hercules was very strong. He then strangled the two serpents without getting a scratch. A few years later, Hercules got married to Megara and had 3 children. Since killing Hercules did not work out so well for Hera, she decided to make Hercules go mad and make him kill his wife and children. Guilty and heartbroken, Hercules wanted to find Apollo, the god of truth and healing (and another of Zeus’ sons). Then Hercules begged to be punished for what he had done. As a punishment for killing his wife and children, he was forced to perform the twelve labors. The twelve labors were so difficult that it seemed impossible. Hera did as much as she could to make the twelve labors much harder. Once, Hera whipped up a storm to makes Hercules’s ship sink so he could die.