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Iolaus in "Love Takes a Holiday"
Portrayed By Michael Hurst
Dean O'Gorman
Daniel James
First Appearance Hercules and the Amazon Women
Last Appearance HTLJ "Full Circle"
Gender Male
Status Alive/Resurrected (In the past)
Race Human (Mortal)
Also Known As Shorty
Killed By Dahak
Romances Nebula, Ania, Xena, Breanna, Niobe, Gabrielle, Evanthea
Mother Erythia
Father Skouros
Other Family Leandra of Syllabus (Grandmother)
Althea (Great-Grandmother)
Agoraphobius (Great-Grandfather)
Arachnophobius (Great-Great-Grandfather)
Orestes (Second Cousin)
Niobe (Second Cousin-In-Law by Orestes)
Minos (Second Cousin)
Ania (wife)
Regina (cousin)

Iolaus of Thebes was the loyal traveling companion and best friend of Hercules. He traveled with him almost on all his adventures.

By the age of two, Iolaus was stealing cookies from local vendors. This was the start of his boyhood troubles where he broke the law. In one episode, this past kept him from obtaining a job.

As a teenager, Iolaus trained at Cheiron's Academy. It was there that he met Hercules and Jason of Corinth. This training coupled with "old hunter's tricks" give him the talents that allowed him to become a hero. The "old hunter's tricks" involve things from slowing his heart beat down to picking locks. One of his famous quotes is after a certain thing he might have done he would often say 'an old hunter's trick' (many times he and Hercules jinx this because of both knowing what he will say).

Iolaus is fond of festivals and women. His fondness for women led him to a romantic relationship with Xena she used him to get to Hercules. In one HTLJ and XWP crossover, Gabrielle and Iolaus both flirt with each other and kiss, but nothing became of the encounter.

Iolaus was approached by Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis to judge which of the three of them was the most beautiful. Artemis offered to make Iolaus the greatest warrior in the world if he chose her. Athena offered to make him the smartest man in the world if he chose her and Aphrodite offered him an apple which would make any woman fall in love with him. He chose Aphrodite but accidentally used the apple to make Thera fall in love with him just before she was to be married. Luckily, Hercules was able to put an end to the spell (HTLJ "The Apple").

Iolaus' great-grandmother, Althea had a relationship with King Agoraphobius of Attica. Their union created a new line in Iolaus' family that ended with King Orestes; a cousin of Iolaus' who was identical to the hero. Iolaus took his cousin's place briefly when his life was in danger so that he could be crowned king of Attica and marry Niobe. During his short time in Attica, Iolaus and Niobe fell in love. They were unable to remain together but always held special places for each other (HTLJ "King For A Day").

Iolaus is a regular character on the television show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, played by Michael Hurst. He is the best friend of the demigod Hercules, and grew up with him in the same village. They went to Cheiron's Academy together, fought in their first war together, and have been traveling Greece to deal with monsters, warlords, gods and demons together ever since.



As a child, Iolaus was stealing pastries in the village of Thebes, two years before Hercules was born. He probably had a troubled childhood, given his difficult relationship with his (dead) father Skouros, and the initial awkwardness when he goes home to visit his mother Erythia after several years.

As a teenager, Iolaus went to Cheiron's Academy, together with Jason and Hercules, who became his best friends. Their Academy years are covered by the spin-off show Young Hercules.


Iolaus was married once, to Ania, and amazed Hercules at the time by not giving a damn that she couldn't cook or that the farm animals all ran away from her. However, Ania died, and while Iolaus and Ania had at least one child together, the child is presumed to have died too, as we never hear about him/her again. (The only canon reference made to Ania's fate or the baby's is in "Maze of the Minotaur", where Iolaus talks to Deianeira about having to be a father and a mother.)

After that, he apparently gave up the idea of having a family, and was content to adventure throughout Greece with Hercules and find romance on the way. Iolaus' relationships with women are seldom tragic, unlike Hercules', and all his girlfriends would probably get on well together even when they're not being played by the same actress.


Iolaus studied fighting both at the Academy and in the East, which makes him a formidable opponent. His fighting style is fast and furious, and makes creative use of anything that comes to hand, including fish, frying pans, and other people's fists.

He is a good hunter, tracker and fisherman, and tends to leave the cooking and the other domestic arts (including crocheting) to Hercules.

The Many Deaths of IolausEdit

Iolaus died four times on the show, but managed to be alive at the end nonetheless.

The first time occurred in the first TV movie, Hercules and the Amazon Women, where he was stabbed by an Amazon. Hercules convinced Zeus to turn back time, so that the whole adventure never happened. Iolaus should not be able to remember this death, yet he refers to it openly in the TV movie Maze of the Minotaur.

The second time was in the first season, when Iolaus was turned to stone by a She-Demon, but was returned to life when Hercules killed her at the end of the episode.

The third time was also in a single episode, when Iolaus was beaten to death by one of Hera's Enforcers, a creature made of fire. A distraught Hercules carried his body directly into the underworld, then browbeat Hades into making a deal which resulted in Iolaus' being brought back to life.

The fourth time was at the beginning of the fifth season, when Iolaus was killed by Gilgamesh, who in turn was possessed by the demon Dahak. Dahak then took over Iolaus' body, creating havoc throughout Greece and Sumeria, and was finally exorcised by Hercules and Iolaus together at the end of the season. Iolaus then went to an unspecified afterlife, but one which recognized his service in life "to the light" (on the side of good). At that time, the plan was for Iolaus to remain dead, which caused a great deal of turmoil in the fandom, and many fans stopped watching the show. It also inspired a large amount of fanfic with alternate realities where Iolaus wasn't killed, and many stories where he was brought back to life. Michael Hurst returned to the show playing the character of "The Jester" for a few episodes, an alternate version of Iolaus from another dimension, who couldn't fight and tended to faint from terror.

In the final episode of the fifth season, the main Iolaus returned to the show, escaping to earth to warn Hercules about the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He then finished out the sixth season traveling with Hercules until the show ended.

In the flash forward episode For Those of You Just Joining Us, Hercules says Iolaus lived to be 100.

Mirror versions and lookalikesEdit

Iolaus has a doppelgänger, Orestes, who is King of Attica, and a Strange World counterpart, also called Ioluas, who is a jester and inventor. Iolaus 2 leaves his life with Hercules to instead become a merman and spend the rest of his days with Nautica, to allow her to return to the sea.

There is also the Widow Twanky, who for some reason has never been seen in the same room with Iolaus.


  • Iolaus was played by Michael Hurst with appearances by Dean O'Gorman and Daniel James as a younger Iolaus.
  • He wore an earring starting from season 3 onwards, which constantly changed, from one to two earrings on most occasions. It was popular among fans, who found it gave the character an edge.


  • In Greek mythology, Iolaus is the son of Heracles's half/twin brother, Iphicles. Iolaus accompanied his uncle on many of his journeys, including some of the famous Twelve Labors (in particular, it was Iolaus who cauterized each neck of the Hydra).
  • Iolaus was also the foremost of Heracles's (many) male lovers and many versions of the myth have Iolaus be the one to light Heracles's funeral pyre.
    • That Iolaus outlived Heracles makes his many on-screen deaths rather ironic.
  • Iolaus was regarded as an ancestor of the Sardinians and the royal house of Corinth (Jason's line having died out). He was venerated by heroic cults in Thebes (as the lover of Heracles) and in Corinth (as a founding hero).


  • The Golden Hunter. This epithet was never attached to Iolaus on the show, but it became very popular in fandom, to the extent that Iolaus is often called just 'the hunter' in fanfic. (And never, for example, 'the warrior' or 'the mortal', or even 'the blacksmith'.) The fanon apparently got back to the show's creators, which resulted in official "Iolaus, the Golden Hunter" T-shirts.
  • The Pallid Hunter. Cf. We Always Hurt the One We Love, an essay by Helena Handbasket, which describes (and derides) the fanon where Iolaus is a wimpy, pathetic figure who always needs to be rescued, and who is treated appallingly badly by Hercules.
  • Iolaus' sons: most fanfic that deals with Iolaus' and Ania's ill-fated offspring suggest one child, almost always a son. Sometimes there are two sons, sometimes three. In an interview, Michael Hurst stated that he was told that Iolaus had two sons, and in Maze of the Minotaur Iolaus refers to the difficulties of being a single parent after Ania's death. The children are never mentioned again. In mythology, Iolaus was noted for his beautiful daughters, not sons.
  • A large amount of slash fiction exists in which Hercules and Iolaus are lovers. This is somewhat ironic considering HTLJ contains little subtext, but Heracles and Iolaus were in fact lovers in most versions of the original myth.


See alsoEdit

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