Alcmene was the wife of Amphitryon in Greek mythology. The couple had two children, Iphicles and Laonome; however, she was mainly known for being the mother of the demigod hero Heracles by the god Zeus. She was the daughter of Electryon and either Anaxo, Lysidice or Eurydice. Her husband Amphitryon killed her father accidentally, and she followed him to Thebes, where he was purified by the king of the city, Creon. When Amphitryon went on an expedition against the Taphians and Teleboans, Zeus, disguised as Amphitryon, appeared in front of Alcmene and slept with her. The next day, the real Amphitryon returned , only to hear from his wife that she had seen him the night before and slept with him. The seer Tiresias then told them what had happened.
The union of Zeus and Alcmene resulted in her being pregnant to Heracles. When the demigod was about to be born, Zeus announced to all Olympians that a child would be born on that day that would rule all those near him. After Hera made Zeus swear an oath that this would indeed happen, she went to the wife of Sthenelus and forced her to give birth to the baby Eurystheus, even though she was only seven months into her pregnancy. The goddess then prevented Alcmene from giving birth to Heracles until the next day.
There are two versions of how Alcmene died. According to the first, she was on her way from Argos to Thebes, and died in Megara. The descendants of Heracles then quarreled about where to bury her, some insisting to take her body to Argos, and the others to Thebes in order to be buried with Amphitryon. In the end, the oracle of Delphi was consnulted and said that she should be buried in Megara. The other version has it that when she died, she turned to stone.
Written by: The Editors of GreekMythology.com. GreekMythology.com editors write, review and revise subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge based on their working experience or advanced studies.
For MLA style citation use: GreekMythology.com, The Editors of Website. "Alcmene". GreekMythology.com Website, 01 Nov. 2015, https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Alcmene/alcmene.html. Accessed 14 May 2021.