One day, ZEUS declared that a descendent of heroic PERSEUS could, should and most definitely would become King of Mycenae, a city of great splendor and power. ZEUS being Top God, his word was immutable, and thus was it so. But not quite the way he intended.
To everyone’s surprise, HERACLES was unexpectedly delayed in the womb and EURYSTHEUS popped out first, giving him preference in the Kingly stakes. He was thus made the sovereign of Mycenae and also became HERA’s grateful stooge as she plotted the downfall of HERACLES.
Now for a King with such a noble heritage, EURYSTHEUS was not only a real creep, but also a chicken-hearted coward. Although delighted to be given the task of killing off his rival by devising the impossibly hard Labors Of HERACLES, any display of heroics would fill him with dread. So whenever HERACLES returned triumphant, his usual response was to run and hide under the bed.
This weaselly King did everything in his power to make life impossible — or preferably non-existent — for his rival. Not content with creating terrible tests, he quibbled over the rules and cheated left, right and sideways. When HERACLES finally left the mortal world, it was party time at the palace.
So it’s poetic justice that EURYSTHEUS was eventually killed in battle by the descendents of HERACLES, who took his head home to Herc’s grieving mum ALCMENA. She brightened up at once and used it as a pincushion.