Legendary Journeys

Alcmene of Corinth was the mortal mother of Hercules. She was born to Electryon and Anaxo. She was married to a well-respected General, Amphitryon, with whom she had a son, Iphicles. Zeus visited Alcmene in the form of Amphitryon and they conceived Hercules. Unbeknownst to Alcmene, Amphitryon had in fact died the night Hercules was conceived- she did not receive the news until several months later, when Jason delivered news of his mentor's death. Most of the population of Thebes believed her to be a harlot having become pregnant while her husband was off at war. She was unaware it was truly Zeus who had impregnated her until after Hercules was born. Although she was treated as a pariah, she inherited most of Amphitryon's wealth (likely due to Jason's influence), and was thus able to live comfortably and provide for her sons.

When Hercules turned 18 years-old, Alcmene sent him off to Cheiron's Academy to learn how to defend himself. It was at the academy that Hercules was able to learn the fighting skills which made him into the legendary hero he became. At the Academy, Hercules befriended Iolaus and Jason.

As word of Hercules's exploits spread, Alcmene found herself something of a celebrity as more and more of the Greek populace learned of his deeds. Eventually, word got out that Zeus was Hercules's true father, and Alcmene became a highly respected person in Greece.

Many years later, Echidna, grief-stricken at the deaths of her children at Hercules's hands, arranged to have Demetrius pretend to fall in love with Alcmene in order to lure Hercules into a trap. In Demetrius, Alcmene found a cure for her loneliness that she would not find again until she fell in love with Jason. Feeling sorry for Echidna, Alcmene begged Hercules to imprison her instead of kill her. (HTLJ "The Mother of All Monsters").

Alcmene revealed to Hercules and Iolaus that she and Jason had had feelings for one another almost since the day that Jason delivered the news that Amphitryon had been killed. When they finally decided to get married many years later they planned a huge wedding in Corinth. Echidna was invited, but she passed along her regrets that she could not, due to her pregnancy. The ceremony was interrupted by Hera's Blue Priest who used the opportunity to try to kill Hercules and ruin Alcmene's life. Luckily, Hercules, Iolaus and the other Argonauts were able to save the day so that the wedding could go forward (HTLJ "The Wedding of Alcmene").

The couple remained happy until Alcmene's peaceful death from a weak heart (HTLJ "Twilight"). Because she led a virtuous life and raised the greatest hero Greece had ever seen, she was granted entry into the Elysian Fields. Hera briefly transferred Alcmene's soul to Tartarus to blackmail Zeus into surrendering his power to her, but kept her word and restored Alcmene to the Elysian Fields when Zeus agreed.

Background information[]

  • Alcmene was recast two times before Liddy Holloway took over the role. The younger Alcmene was also recast twice before Sharon Tyrrell settled in.
  • Although identified as a commoner in The Wedding of Alcmene, the mythological Alcmene was the granddaughter of Perseus through her father and the great-granddaughter of Tantalus through her mother. She was thus a member of both the House of Perseus and the House of Atreus, the two most powerful royal dynasties in Mycenaean Greece.
  • Alcmene's high popularity by the time of HTLJ is consistent with her portrayal in mythology, where Hesiod describes Alcmene as the tallest, most beautiful woman with wisdom surpassed by no person born of mortal parents. It is said that her face and dark eyes were as charming as Aphrodite's, and that she honoured her husband like no woman before her.
  • In mythology, Zeus told Alcmene who he was after sleeping with her. Although Alcmene did marry a king upon Amphitryon's death, the king was Rhadamanthus (the brother of Minos), not Jason. Alcmene also outlived Heracles and was visited often by those who wished to hear tales of him. After her death of natural causes while visiting the city of Megara, her grandchildren fell into open quarrel about whether to enshrine her remains with her ancestors in Argos or with her first husband in Thebes. The Oracle of Delphi settled matters by instructing them to leave her remains in Megara.
  • Alcmene was implied to own a farm, though she apparently didn't do any farming herself. Helping her in various ways was a macguffin in many episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. She seems to have been wealthy, however, as her attire is noticeably finer, even before her marriage to Jason, than what most other characters wore.
  • Alcmene's costumes on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys were some of the few that were accurate to how an ancient Greek would have dressed.