Also known as Exedra
- Mythical Number: #1618
- Culture: Greek
- Attribute: Reptilian
- Attribute: Cave Dweller
- Behaviour: Deadly
The Hydra is the many headed Dragon of Greek mythology. Born from Echidna and Typhon much like the Nemean Lion, and was said to have a shapeless reptilian body with many heads. Some sources state that the Hydra was born from Styx and the Titan Palla. It lived in a cave in a swamp near the ancient city of Lerna in Argolis. Every time it lost a head, two more would grow in its place. The stench of the beasts breath was poisonous and would kill anyone who inhaled it. Some versions described he beast as spewing venom rather than a deadly cloud of poison. For many years it terrorised the locals.
The heroic Heracles was set the task to conquer the beast and journeyed to Lerna in a swift chariot. He took with him his nephew Iolaus to help him ride the chariot and track down the Hydra. When they found the cave, Heracles told his nephew to stay with the horses while he ventured in. Heracles drew out the beast by shooting flaming arrows into the depth of the cave. In a ferocious fight, Heracles evaded the snapping heads and decapitated them one by one with his sword. In some versions he used a scythe to fight the beast. When Heracles saw the heads growing back, he called out to Iolaus and told him to bring a flaming torch to burn the open neck wounds of the Hydra. This prevented them from growing again. Heracles was running out of breath as he tried to resist breathing in the toxic fumes but with the help of his nephew he severed all the heads. With the beast dead and conquered, Heracles, dipped his arrows in the blood of the Hydra causing them to become deadly poisonous.
In some versions of the story, the wrathful goddess Hera sent down an enormous crab called Cancer to attack at Heracles.
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