How Did Hercules Die?

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Though the stories of Hercules’ death have varying details, all recount that the Greek hero suffered the effects of an intense poison and ultimately died on a funeral pyre. His immortal spirit ascended to Olympus to stay with the gods.

The details leading up to his death, however, are relatively consistent. After Hercules killed a centaur with a poison-tipped arrow, the dying creature told the demigod’s wife, Deianeira, to keep some of the blood, saying that it was a powerful magic that would keep her husband faithful. Believing the centaur, she smeared it on one of Hercules’ tunics when she thought he was straying. When he put it on, the poison coursed through his body, causing unbearable pain. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the poison killed him, while indicates that lightning delivered the final blow. Other versions assert that he perished in a fire.