- The Ace: Often described as the best of heroes and Cheiron's best student. On one occasion, he even played a musical instrument flawlessly despite no formal training—much to Iolaus's annoyance.
- Adaptational Heroism: Rob Tapert has commented that they actively removed the Jerkass qualities from the myths to make Herc a down-to-Earth Nice Guy.
- Ancient Grome: Uses his Roman name, instead of Greek. Lampshaded when Julius Caesar remarks Herc would've made an excellent Roman.
- The Baby of the Bunch: Of Zeus's most frequently seen children, Hercules is easily the youngest and often referred to as "Little Brother." It contrasts with his greater sense of responsibility.
- Berserk Button: Harming families (particularly children), slavery, and the gods playing with people's lives.
- A more minor but still notable example would be his mother. Hercules usually doesn't take it well when any man tries to woo Alcmene. He grew especially angry and distrustful when a villain named Demetrius tried to woo her(though for good reason). He also didn't take it well when even his longtime friend Jason began courting his mother, though in Jason's case, Hercules had more of a Freudian Excuse since in the past, Jason had really upset Hercules by going after a girl he was interested in during the Medea Culpa episode. And he eventually grew to accept Jason after getting over his initial reservations.
- The idea of disrespect to the bodies of the dead infuriates him, as shown in "Gladiator." As he said to an abusive prison guard, "You bury them properly, or I swear I'll bury you!"
- Due to being raised by Ceridian and taught by Cheiron, he absolutely despises bigotry towards Centaurs.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Hercules is probably the nicest, most easy-going guy in the series. Course, if you threaten innocent people or those he cares about - well, remember, he has super-strength.
- Big Good: Many episodes point out how Herc is the hero, inspiring and protecting others.Zeus: You're the champion of mankind in a world that's frequently not fair and always not easy. The people know they can count on you.
- A later Xena crossover had Zeus admit that when push comes to shove, the Greeks hold Hercules in higher regard than the Olympians themselves."He has done something that we gods have tried and failed to accomplish. He's earned humanity's love in every gesture... except fear."
- A later Xena crossover had Zeus admit that when push comes to shove, the Greeks hold Hercules in higher regard than the Olympians themselves.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Hoo-boy. His mother is practically a saint, but he's also got a perverted, absentee dad that he can rarely depend on, as well as a vicious stepmother and numerous siblings dedicated to killing him and wreaking havoc on Earth. Even family members he's on good terms with (like Aphrodite and Hephaestus) tend to cause messes that he has to clean up.Hercules: [while fighting Ares] I hate my family.
- Blue Oni: To Iolaus' Red Oni.
- Break the Haughty: The flashbacks to "Regrets... I've Had A Few" open with Hercules being quite full of himself. Then he fights off an attacker and accidentally kills him because he didn't take the fight seriously.
- Cain and Abel: Due to having such a large family, he's the Abel to several Cains. Ares is the most notable, but there's also Apollo, Bacchus, and Lucius. Discord also helps create a rare example of a female Cain and a male Abel.
- Call to Agriculture: After marrying Deianeira, he settled down as a farmer—only going on adventures when absolutely necessary.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Seems like every time he runs into Zeus he does this.
- Celibate Hero: Herc actually had three serious relationships during the show, a previous one with Nemesis and a few other serious prospects. Not too shabby, but that's nothing compared to the many women he's turned down.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Goes hand-in-hand with We Help the Helpless. Some of his enemies know they can exploit this.Adamis: He's so predictable. Threaten some innocents and Hercules comes running.
- Comes Great Responsibility: The flashbacks in "Regrets... I've Had A Few" are about him learning this lesson. It's also a recurring theme whenever he fails to help others.Mabon: How can someone who champions mankind with all its flaws be so unforgiving with himself?
Hercules: Because my mistakes kill people!
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: He's not shy about his criticism of the Norse gods and the region's rituals. Balder concedes it all might seem strange to outsiders, but he asks Hercules not to judge the Vikings by the standards of his own homeland.
- Despair Event Horizon: Happens a few times.
- The death of his wife and kids at the beginning of the series leaves him consumed with getting revenge on Hera. After a day, he's calmed down and realizes this is not what his family would've wanted.
- In Season 3's "Judgment Day," the death of Serena, which he's framed for and fears he actually did.
- In Season 5, the death of Iolaus during an adventure Herc insisted going on. It takes a few episodes for Hercules to come to terms with it.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: His arc in the Young Hercules Pilot Movie. His only goal is to get attention from the father that he resents for abandoning him; otherwise, he has no idea what to do with himself. He also feels that being a half-god means there's no real place for him on either Earth or Olympus. It's only after seeing Yvenna die and defeating Ares in combat that he figures out his purpose.
- Disappeared Dad: This trope is why Hercules is so chaste. Having grown up without his own father being around, he can't bear the idea of putting a child through that.
- Divine Parentage: Courtesy of Zeus
- Due to the Dead: He usually goes to the trouble of burying any dead people he comes across. He also spent last moments with a mortally wounded murderer on the grounds that "a dying man deserves to have his last words heard."
- Evil Counterpart: Inverted to be the good counterpart to Ares. After Kevin Smith began appearing on this show as Ares, the writers began to play this up—highlighting how both are sons of Zeus, intelligent planners, and good fighters. It's just that Ares sees humanity as playthings for whatever plan he has in mind, while Hercules is their defender. Ares also resents Herc for being Zeus's favorite.
- Experienced Protagonist: By the time the series begins, Hercules has already long completed his training at Cheiron's academy, fought in multiple wars, and made a name for himself as both a hero and a living legend.
- Fantastic Racism: Zig Zagged in regards to gods. Hercules makes no secret of his disdain in general for the gods, but it's often because of how they play deadly games with mortals; he gets along fine with Hades, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus. On the other hand, this trope reaches a fever pitch in "Descent," where Hercules is told his actions allowed Dahak to kill the Sumerian gods. Hercules tells Dumuzi he doesn't care, a result of him grieving over Iolaus's death.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Salmoneus. He only tolerated him at first, but in "As Darkness Falls," Salmoneus actively helps him and even risks his life acting as a diversion. Afterwards, Herc regards him as a true friend.
- Friend to All Children: One of the easiest ways to push his buttons is to harm a child.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Hero variant. Hera despised him for being a product of one of Zeus's affairs, but Ares and many of the other gods thought of him as just some bastard relative beneath their notice. Herc didn't even think of himself as a hero, just a guy who wanted to meet his father. Then he went on the quest for the Golden Fleece and foiled Ares's takeover of Corinth. From then on, he was always there to foil some plot.
- Genius Bruiser: While not the smartest people to walk the Earth, Herc and Iolaus tend to win not just by hitting people, but by outwitting them.
- Gentle Giant: His muscles are as big as his heart.
- The Hero: The main hero of the story.
- Heroes Love Dogs: He and his family had a pet dog. Also, in the Underworld TV-Movie, he saves the day by treating Cerberus as a dog instead of a monster.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Iolaus.
- Humble Hero: Not only is Hercules humble, but he is quite proud of his best friend Iolaus, being sure to point out to the attractive woman Iolaus is talking to that Iolaus has saved Hercules many times.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: In "Atlantis," he says he saw his strength as a curse while growing up. In "Two Men and a Baby," he hints that (after realizing he was different) he longed to be like everyone else and was disappointed he would never be.
- It's Personal: Toward Hera: Hercules hates her for murdering his family. Hera, in turn, hates him for being the product of one of her husband's affairs.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: He is the most beloved hero in Greece and the favorite son of Zeus. He has also been a target of Hera, Ares, and other gods for most of his life, often seeing those he cares about harmed or killed as part of plots against him. "Let There Be Light" also suggests that evil forces are drawn to him precisely because he is a perfect union of man and god.
- Lightning Bruiser: Having super-strength makes it pretty easy to swat away most threats with little trouble.
- Mr. Fanservice: He occasionaly has some moments of Shirtless Scene.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Wrong Path," a villager approaches Hercules for help with the She-Demon. However, Herc's family has just died, so he's not in the mood to help anyone and sends the man away. Later that night, Hercules has calmed down and is ashamed of himself—noting how he's never turned away anyone that asked for his help before.
- My Greatest Failure: Being unable to protect his family from Hera."And I made some wrong turns, but I finally realized I had to do something with my life that would have made my wife and children proud."
- Nice Guy: Even in the opening credits, its outright stated he is as kind-hearted as he is powerful.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- At the end of Season 4, Zeus makes Hercules a full god ostensibly so they can be closer. While he performs some good deeds, though, Hera informs him that Zeus did it so someone would protect him against the other gods. When Zeus admits this is true, Hercules angrily storms out of Olympus. Apollo later keeps Hercules busy while on Earth, giving Hera the opportunity to overthrow Zeus. After their fight's over, Apollo even calls Hercules on this trope—saying he could've saved Zeus had he been on Olympus instead of there.
- In Season 5's Norse gods two-parter, Hercules is used by Dahak and Loki to instigate Ragnarök. Having visions of his own death, Balder believed Odin had made him invincible from all things and was proving it by having his fellow gods strike him with their weapons. Hercules thought this was foolish and was goaded into taking part, so he used a dart offered to him by a little girl. The girl was Loki in disguise, and the dart was poisoned by Dahak's blood, which leads to Balder's death. Despite his dislike of gods, Hercules is saddened by this as Balder truly cared about humanity, so he tries to make things right. Hercules unknowingly adds to the problem, though, when he fights Thor. Hercules didn't learn until later that Thor being defeated in combat by a half-mortal was another prophecy of Ragnarök.
- In "Faith," Hercules and Iolaus are told that the Sumerian gods are wreaking havoc on the land—raining fireballs everywhere that kill many people and wipe out the food and water. Hercules agrees to help the Sumerian king/demigod Gilgamesh recover a magical chalice—being told that the nectar can repair all the damage. However, after braving traps to get to the chalice, Hercules is betrayed by Gilgamesh, who drinks from the chalice and then destroys it. He explains that the destruction is actually fallout from the Sumerian gods fighting Dahak and that the chalice sustained them. As a result of Herc's actions, the Sumerian gods and Iolaus are killed. "Descent" then deconstructs the trope. Hercules is driven to the breaking point over his guilt for Iolaus's death, gets called on his actions by Dumuzi, and is left a broken man by the end of the episode.
- Noodle Incident: Since the first TV-Movie began with Hercules already an established hero, there were numerous references to various off-screen adventures he's had throughout his life. Some of these form the backstories to episodes (like bringing peace between the warring kingdoms in "The Apple" and "War Bride"). Others are just off-hand references, such as slaying the Nemean Lion or facing a two-headed giant.
- Odd Friendship: With Autolycus, the King of Thieves. Hercules often puts a stop to his robbery attempts, but he knows he's a good person at heart and lets him run free.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: In "Top God" and different episodes of Young Hercules, he admits that being a son of Zeus is hard partly for this reason. He feels pressure to live up to his father's legacy.
- Papa Wolf: In the Underworld TV-Movie, Nessus attempts to rape Deianeira. Hercules shoots him dead with an arrow.
- Pungeon Master: He has his moments, usually to Iolaus's annoyance.
- The Scapegoat: Zig-zagged. Initially, most of his enemies on Olympus despise him simply because of Zeus. Hera resents him for being the symbol of all of Zeus's affairs, Ares and some other siblings resent that a half-mortal is their dad's favorite, and so on. They can't take their frustration out on the Top God, so they direct they take it out on Herc. However, as Hercules becomes the Big Good and actively foils their schemes, his godly enemies end up having more personal reasons to hate him.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The plot to "Prodigal Daughter" is kick-started by him breaking up a slave ring. Slavery is illegal in the province they're currently in, but no one appeared to object to the slavers transporting them through the area to a province where it is legal."Its still a problem. You see, I don't believe in slavery anywhere."
- Shrouded in Myth:
- In most episodes, this is played for laughs. People often expect Hercules to be slaying monsters every day when that's not all that he does. On the other hand, sometimes, people openly question events that viewers know to be true.Katrina: Like that yarn about the two-headed Hydra.
Hercules: That one they got wrong.
Katrina: There ya go.
Hercules: It had three heads.
- "Hercules On Trial" plays the trope far more seriously. Hercules is blamed for a man dying while trying to be like him. At the trial, Hercules hears a farmer denounce him for not killing a boar that was ravaging his crops. The farmer didn't know Herc or send word of his troubles; he just expected him to show up because of Hercules's reputation for showing up wherever there's trouble. Another man laments how his sons joined the military and died in battle all because they heard of one of the stories about Herc's heroics.Hercules: I never realized what I do can affect people I've never even met.
Iolaus: You're a good influence on people.
Hercules: Even when they die?
Iolaus: It is not your fault if people hear about your adventures and then risk their lives trying to be like you.
- In most episodes, this is played for laughs. People often expect Hercules to be slaying monsters every day when that's not all that he does. On the other hand, sometimes, people openly question events that viewers know to be true.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Being Zeus' son, Hercules usually has to deal with anyone with an ax to grind—almost always Hera.Hercules: That's between you and Zeus.
Hera: No, you're between us! But if you die a horrible death, maybe he'll think twice next time his eyes start to wander—before he fathers any more half-mortal mongrels like you.
- Comes up also in "Web of Desire":Arachne: You'll pay for your father's crime.
Hercules: What else is new?
- Comes up also in "Web of Desire":
- The Un-Reveal: Whether he's immortal or not. Even Zeus admits he can't be sure one way or the other. Even taking the present day clip shows into account, it's left ambiguous if living so long is because he's immortal or just because he's half-god.Hercules: When the sun's out, I'm gonna live forever. At night, when I can't sleep, the worries come creeping in.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Dahak in "Faith" and the later Norse gods two-parter.
- Virgin-Shaming: The flashbacks in "Medea Culpa" are set at a point when Hercules was still a virgin, and he gets a little grief for it from Iolaus and Jason. Hercules calmly explains that he is waiting for the right woman and wants it to be special—all while effortlessly lifting the two of them off the ground, so they drop it. Iolaus later admits that Hercules had the right idea.
- War Is Hell: Often expresses this attitude. He's fought in multiple wars for the sake of others, but he notes that war is anything but romantic or glamorous. "Twilight" shows that he learned this lesson the hard way.
- We Help the Helpless: It doesn't matter what the situation is or where he has to go; if an innocent person is in trouble, he races to the rescue.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He grew up desperately wanting to meet his dad. Even after all the problems and fighting, Herc admits he still has a blind spot when it comes to giving him second chances."The reason I didn't tell you about my relationship with my father is just that—there isn't one to talk about. He had the heavens and Earth on his shoulders. He didn't have time to think or care about me."
- World's Strongest Man: Although just how strong he was varied according to the needs of the plot.
- Adaptation Decay: Iolaus learns in "The Wrong Path" that people have written about Hercules's various adventures, but that he was Adapted Out. He also has a bone to pick with Archivus in "Once A Hero" due to not getting a mention in past stories and being told that facts sometimes have to sacrificed for the sake of the narrative.
- Age Lift: Inverted. In the myths, Iolaus was the nephew of Heracles and thus considerably younger than him. Here, Iolaus is a peer and even two years older than Hercules.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Sometimes likes to boast about learning some fighting moves in the East. His attempts to show off to Hercules, though, usually leaves him flipped onto the ground.
- Ascended Extra: Was meant to be a one-off friend in Amazon Women whose death furthered the plot. However, Michael Hurst so impressed the producers that they changed the ending to leave Iolaus alive. The only reason Iolaus doesn't appear in the next three movies is because they were written before the change was made. Iolaus returned in the fifth movie and was a recurring character in the first two seasons before becoming a regular in Season 3.
- Back from the Dead: Of all the times he died, only the fifth season really qualifies for this trope, as he wasn't brought back before the given adventure was over. Iolaus dies in "Faith" and (despite Herc's best efforts) isn't resurrected in "Descent." It's not until "Revelations" (the very end of the season) that Iolaus is restored to life.
- Bullying a Dragon: At the end of "Porkules," he keeps Ares at bay with Artemis's bow and is openly irreverent towards him. This really comes back to bite Iolaus in "One Fowl Day."
- Call to Agriculture: He is shown having largely given up heroics before Hercules even settled down with Deianeira. While he does help out now and then, he's still maintaining a farm well-into Season 1. To justify him going on regular adventures again, he mentions partway into Season 2 that he abandoned his farm.
- Chivalrous Pervert: In his youth. He'd frequently hit on Lilith, Kora, Amazons, and any other attractive woman that happened to be nearby. He was an admitted pig, but always reliable in a crisis. Lilith once described him as like a brother to her.
- The Corruptible: He's an upstanding hero in his adult years, but on Young Hercules, he was fresh off giving up being a thief. He had his standards, but he was still quite content to scheme or break the rules, so he often had to be reined in by Hercules and Jason. It's strongly implied in "Be Deviled" that Iolaus would've ended up in a place worse that Tartarus if he hadn't truly turned his life around.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Was a thief that got into trouble a lot and ran away from home. Young Hercules would elaborate that he used to run with a particularly nasty gang and nearly got sent to prison.
- Death Is Cheap: Died four separate times, but Hercules always found a way to bring him back. These repeated developments became causes for laughter among the crew and even got lampshaded in a few episodes.
- Amazon Women TV-Movie: He gets knifed by an Amazon when his head is turned. This is undone via time travel.
- "The Wrong Path": He faces the She-Demon and gets turned to stone. He's restored along with the other victims when Hercules kills the She-Demon. He says he was actually in the Underworld and even saw Herc's family.
- "Not Fade Away": The second Enforcer beats him to pulp while trying to find Hercules. Iolaus crawls off to warn Herc of what's coming and dies of his injuries soon afterwards. Hercules makes a deal with Hades to restore him in exchange for stopping this new Enforcer.
- "Faith": Iolaus performs a Heroic Sacrifice—taking a knife in the chest meant for Nebula. This death stuck the longest and was critical to the season's Myth Arc.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Three of the four times he died were while Hercules was cradling him. The lone exception is when the She-Demon turned him to stone.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: A recurring problem for him. While Hercules and other allies give Iolaus his due, random civilians tend to ignore him and praise Herc as the sole hero on the scene.
- Fake Guest Star: The first two seasons.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Autolycus.
- Genius Bruiser: Not to Herc's level, but when he takes the time to think his actions through, he comes up with some very clever plans.
- I Owe You My Life: Credits Herc with helping turn his life around.
- I Should Have Been Better: He regrets not truly making the world a better place and that his adventurous lifestyle prevented him from having a family. Dahak starts his corruption by honing in on these items.
- Ladykiller in Love: He treated all his various relationships rather seriously, but it was Nebula he really fell for.
- The Lancer: To Herc.
- Laughing at Your Own Jokes: Hercules points out this tendency in "Just Passing Through" and suggests keeping a straight face to get the desired reaction from others.
- Made of Iron: He may not be half-god but Iolaus has withstood and endured physical trials that no ordinary man ever could, most notably displayed in the episode, The King of Thieves. Falsely accused of a crime, Iolaus was put through three arbitrary tests to prove his innocence. In the first, he was dunked underwater for an inhumanly long amount of time, only to emerge still alive and heavily breathing. Second, he had to hold up multiple heavy stones on top of a wooden board across his back for up to the span of an hour... Iolaus endured that as well. And right after he's done with his second trial, he has to face a trial where he's lowered into a pit with a giant boar and he has to survive down there for a long period of time without bleeding. Iolaus passes that test as well and only gets declared guilty because he accidentally cut himself after his trial with the boar was over.
- Odd Friendship: With Aphrodite.
- Older Sidekick: It's first mentioned in "Surprise" that he's actually older than Hercules; "Armageddon Now, Part 2" later states he was two when Alcmene was far along in her pregnancy.
- Older Than They Look: He attributes being considered younger than Hercules to being shorter than him and thus having less surface area exposed to the elements.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: A recurring theme in the series. Iolaus is skilled, resourceful, and a kickass fighter. He is not, however, a super-strong demigod, so he sometimes winds up as this. Sometimes he is angry about it ("Pride Comes Before A Brawl" and "The Warrior Princess"), or introspective ("A Star To Guide Them"), or very aware of it ("Medea Culpa"), or it is used to mess with his head ("Redemption")."Look, I'm no oracle. There are a lot of things I don't understand, but from the first day I met you, I just knew that you were destined for something the rest of us could only dream about! People like me and Jason—normal people, we'll be lucky if our names are even mentioned in the same breath as yours. And that is not always easy to live with."
- The irony, as revealed in "Faith," is that Hercules considered Iolaus to be his hero.
- Parental Neglect: He resented his father for years for spending more time fighting wars than being a dad. Young Hercules shows that he also felt like his mother didn't always give him proper attention, which she admitted was true.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Season 3.
- Really Gets Around: Numerous episodes see Iolaus with a Girl of the Week or expressing interest in one.Hercules: [seeing him kiss yet another woman] At least your lips are working.
Iolaus: That's not all that's working.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Red Oni to Hercules' Blue. However, Iolaus becomes the Blue Oni whenever he's teamed up with Autolycus.
- Reformed, but Not Tamed: During his Academy days. He had given up being a thief and was consistently a loyal friend, but he was also content to break the rules whenever it suited him.
- Retcon: In the Amazon Women TV-Movie, Iolaus is engaged to be married. The Maze of the Minotaur followed up on this—saying the wife died young but not before they had a child. When the series started up, though, Iolaus is said to have always been single and never had any children.
- Unrelated in the Adaptation: In the myths, Iolaus was the son of Iphicles and thus nephew of Heracles. In the show, Iolaus has different parents and is roughly the same age as Iphicles.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Xena in "The Warrior Princess."
- We Help the Helpless: Iolaus is more likely to acknowledge the difficulty of a given adventure than Hercules is, but he always jumps in to help people when they need it.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He had issues with his father, a general who was always off fighting a war somewhere and eventually abandoned the family. Iolaus encounters him in the Underworld during one of the times he was dead, and the two manage to reach an understanding.
- With This Herring: He uses fish quite often literally.
- Face Death with Dignity: In "Twilight," she knows her time is limited, but spends the day doing what she would normally do. Before dying, she says she has no regrets.
- Killed Off for Real: Dies peacefully in "Twilight."
- MayDecember Romance: With Jason, though it started off as a DecemberDecember Romance.
- Never Mess with Granny: So, you think Alcmene is just a helpless old woman without her demigod son to protect her? Think again.
- Parental Substitute: To Iolaus.
- So Proud of You: Often towards Hercules.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In "Surprise," Callisto secretly gives Herc's friends and family a poison that will slowly drive them insane. While the others just start freaking out, Alcmene experiences her greatest fear: Hercules dying and blaming her for it."I never wanted to be a hero, Mother, but you didn't give me any choice. There was no other way for this to end."
See Character sheet for Xena: Warrior Princess
- Ancient Grome: Like his uncle, uses his Roman name.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Quite literally where a curse from Hera makes him transform into a monster following a jealous fit.
- When You Coming Home, Mom?: Admits to some resentment that his mother is always busy elsewhere unless she needs him to do something for her.
- Composite Character: She's actually a combination of Hercule's first wife Megara (being his first wife, and murdered by Hera however Megara was indirectly killed by her in the myths, where Hera kills Deineira directly in the show) and Deianeira from the myths (the name, and the run in with the centaur)
- Establishing Character Moment: In Circle of Fire, she denounces the gods as not caring about humanity. This, of course, catches Hercules's interest.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Arguably gets it even worse than Salmoneus or Jason. Even though he's Herc's half-brother, he stops making anymore appearances after the fourth season even though there are some plots which could have potentially benefited from his presence. Case in point, he's not even there for Alcmene's death even though he was her firstborn son. By the fifth season and beyond, the writers seem to have forgotten he even existed.
- Demonization: He inadvertently does this to Hercules in "What's In A Name?" He takes his brother's identity to impress a woman, but her warlord step-father starts touting that he has the son of Zeus on his side.
- Happy Ending Override: He wins over Rena, the woman he loves and the two seem destined for a happy ending. However, by the fourth season, it's revealed that Rena died while Iphicles was away negotiating a dispute with soldiers.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: It's what motivates him to pull his deception in "What's In A Name?" The backstory to Young Hercules also elaborates that it was so bad that he ran away from home shortly before Hercules went to the Academy.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In "What's In A Name?", part of his problem is that he thinks Alcmene loves him less just for not being Hercules. He gets over it, though.
- Written-In Absence: "Twilight" and "Let There Be Light" both mention him being away on business to explain why he's not there for Alcmene's impending death and Dahak's takeover, respectively.
- Adaptational Heroism: They keep his leaving Medea for another woman, but the implication is that he had a formal divorce and didn't do so lightly. He is also devastated by what happened to his children (with dialogue implying he witnessed it) and trying to make up for what has happened.
- The Alcoholic: In his first appearance. He gets over it and is never seen drinking again.
- Ascended Extra: After appearing a few times, he was reworked into Hercules' other best friend for Young Hercules.
- Badass Normal: Not the leader of the Argonauts for nothing.
- Continuity Snarl: Started off as the king of Argos and a contemporary of Amphitryon (Alcmene's first husband). In his next appearance, he was the king of Corinth. In Season 4, he was retconned into only being a couple of years older than Hercules.
- Heroic BSoD: In his first appearance, he's a broken man following Medea murdering their children.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Learns in "The Academy" that he has had a daughter (Seska) with Lilith since graduating from the Academy.
- MayDecember Romance: With Alcmene, though it started off as a DecemberDecember Romance.
- My Greatest Failure: Blames himself for Medea murdering their children.
- Not So Similar: To Hercules. Both struggle with not having a father in their lives, but Jason had many years of father/son bonding with Aeson before he died, while Hercules never even met Zeus until he reached adulthood.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: It usually never bothered him to be compared to Hercules; he lacked super-strength, but could boast about being the king of Corinth and desired by women. "Medea Culpa" has his jealousy flare when an adventure takes the young heroes out of Corinth and sees them encounter an attractive woman interested in Hercules.
- Put on a Bus: His last appearance sees him settle into a new job as headmaster for the Academy.
- Retcon: Went from an older mentor figure to Hercules to his contemporary once the backstory the Young Hercules Pilot Movie was conceived.
Serena / The Golden Hind.
- Brought Down to Normal: Was eventually turned into a human girl.
- Healing Hands: She possessed this ability. Young Hercules would demonstrate that it was a species trait.
- Interspecies Romance: With Hercules.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: When a mortal touches her. It would later be revealed that Ares did this to her to keep her under his control.
- Last of Her Kind: Zeus slaughtered the other Golden Hinds but missed her. Ares gave her a human form in order to hide her from him.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: She's half deer in the lower part.
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: Her blood can kill a god.
- Secret Identity: Her human form served as this.
- White Mage: As Serena.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Zeus claims to have some sort of moral system that he lives by that is heavily based on non-interferene in anything. Hard to tell if he was telling the truth or making excuses for not doing anything.
- Brought Down to Normal: In "Reunions," he gives up his godhood to save Alcemene's soul.Hera: You've always been so captivated by your pathetic mortals. Let's see how you like living as one of them! You're a mortal now."
- The Casanova: He is constantly neglectful of his wife, children or responsibilities due to his dalliances with mortals.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Though he kept a closer eye on Hercules than anyone knew, being king of the gods meant Zeus couldn't be a father to him.
- Didn't Think This Through: At the end of Season 4, he coaxes Hercules into becoming a full god and joining him on Olympus. He says it's so they could become closer, but it's really because he needs an ally against Hera's impending takeover. When found out, Zeus says he couldn't take the chance that he would be refused help, but Hercules says now he'll never know and storms out.
- Everyone Has Standards: The backstory of "Web Of Desire" features this. In this version, Arachne was a vicious and vain queen who murdered her daughter for being more beautiful than she was. Zeus was so disgusted that he personally cursed her into being a monster and imprisoned her on an island far away from people.
- Foil: Contrary to the distant and aloof image of philandering Zeus, Odin is shown to be more involved in the lives of both his family and the mortals under his care. He cares for all of them, dislikes abuses of power, and has a good relationship with his wife.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy: He truly cares for humanity, but he rarely interferes with the other Olympians that cause trouble.
- Hero of Another Story: He is said to have personally battled and imprisoned Mnemosyne and Atlas during the war with the Titans.
- Humans Are Special: Most gods see humans as pawns for amusement or outright worthless. Zeus loves them.
- It's All About Me: Zeus has trouble caring about anything not related to him, focusing on anything but what he wants, understanding anything from someone else's point of view, or anything that does not have to do with him. This attitude turns the other gods against him and by the end he realizes it has caused him to be all alone.
- Kavorka Man: Downplayed. He often appears as a kindly old man—not unattractive, but certainly not Adonis. However, he is quite capable of charming young women, such as when romancing an Amazon in the Amazon Women TV-Movie. Even Deianeira (in Circle of Fire specifically) admitted to being stunned by how effective Zeus was.
- Ladykiller in Love: Of all the mortal women he's been with, it was Alcmene he always carried a torch for.
- Manipulative Bastard: At times, such as the finale.
- The Neidermeyer: A trait he shares with his wife. He's supposedly the Big Good of the Herc Xena verse but that role better fits his son than him or any other god on series. In truth he's a selfish, irritable, vain, irresponsible and often outright cowardly manchild who really couldn't care less about his family. It's part of the reason why many of them turned on him; Gods, Mortals and even his own son in the end.
- Really demonstrated when Hera was preparing to overthrow him in Season 4. Ares and Apollo actively help her; the other gods don't appear, but they clearly won't lift a finger to help Zeus. Even Aphrodite (who loathes Hera) and Hephaestus (the son Hera disowned) won't step in. Zeus had to grant Hercules godhood in the hopes of having just one ally.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Normally, a very benevolent figure, but when he gets mad, even Hercules is taken aback."When you were a child, you used to challenge me. I loved it! But now, you're a man. Don't you dare defy me. I say stay out, and you stay out."
- Papa Wolf: The reason why no god violates his protection of Hercules. On one occasion, Ares was struck by lightning.
- Parental Favoritism: For all of their issues, there is no doubt that Hercules is his favorite child.
- Parental Neglect: Hercules is the most obvious example of this treatment, but Zeus' other children have noted he does the same to them.
- Put on a Bus: He regularly appears to Hercules throughout the TV-Movies, but they have a falling out at the start of the series when Hera kills Herc's family. Afterwards, Zeus is often referred to, but only makes a handful of appearances. Justified since having a god regularly in the hero's corner would be a Story-Breaker Power.
- Shapeshifting Seducer: Took the form of Alcmene's husband (who was off at war at the time) during their one night together. She wasn't happy when she found out the truth.
- So Proud of You: Often towards Hercules, even when Hercules mortally wounded him while protecting Xena and her baby."Hercules, you have never disappointed me... especially today."
- Story-Breaker Power: Which was a reason why he was used sparingly on the series. Lampshaded in the flashbacks to "Twilight," where (pinned down by the opposing army) Iolaus would really like it if Hercules tried calling in a favor from the old man.
- Top God: Unquestionably the King of the Olympian gods even if he does a bad job at it.
- Your Cheating Heart: Constantly, much to his wife Hera's chagrin. In fact, the titular character Hercules is the product of one of his affairs.
- The Artifact: She becomes less prominent of an antagonist midway through season 3 in favor of Ares, and doesn't even appear in season 5 or 6 until Back for the Finale yet the opening narration continues to treat as the Big Bad of the entire series.
- Big Bad: For the first three seasons. In Season 4, she loses prominence to Ares and ends up written out until the last episode.
- The Faceless: She initially appeared as a pair of eyes in the sky and usually with a voice. In "Reunions," she finally appears in human form.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: When she's not targeting Hercules and his loved ones, she's wreaking havoc on mankind as a whole. On two separate occasions, she imprisoned Prometheus in order to deny humans fire and other gifts. She once even sent a plague to Mycenae; thousands died in prolonged agony because she had it out for a local king.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Largely directs her resentments towards mankind as a whole, whether they be faithful to her or not. But in truth she has very little respect for anyone or everyone other than herself.
- HeelFace Turn: In the finale, she finally accepts the fact that Zeus' infidelity is not Hercules' fault, and puts her anger towards him to rest.
- Heel Realization: She admitted to Hercules she always hated mankind due to her husbands proliferation, only to understand that for all their faults mankind was their greatest creation.
- Humans Are Bastards: She openly despises humanity because Zeus was so enchanted with them.
- Hypocrite: She hates Zeus for his infidelity and tries to make Hercules' life miserable as a result, but she herself was mentioned to have a boyfriend(whom Aphrodite stole from her) in the episode The Green Eyed Monster. While there's no doubt that her husband's infidelity notches are much higher than hers, the fact that she still had at least one extramarital lover still makes her come off looking really bad, especially since she's supposed to be the goddess of marriage and fidelity.
- It's All About Me: What her desperate housewife crusade against her husband and mankind boils down to. In Herc's own words Hera wanted her husband to herself but his fascination with man overshadowed her, when she couldn't have him under her thumb she took her anger out on the world at large.
- It's Personal: Her hatred toward Hercules. She hates him for being the product of one of her husband Zeus's affairs; in turn, Hercules hates her for murdering his family.
- My Greatest Failure: The reason she sides with Hercules against Zeus in "God Fearing Child.""Because of a lesson I regret teaching you long ago: parents should never outlive their children."
- The Neidermeyer: What her essential character boils down too. Always blaming her lackeys for her failures, persecuting a species SHE helped create due to her husbands infidelities, culminating in her own lack of backbone in standing up to her slimy spouse and her constant chiding her stepson because of this.
- Omnicidal Maniac: More than once Hera has tried to publicly execute mankind or otherwise hinder them in such a way it comes about.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Something about the Abyss of Tartarus affects her memory, so she doesn't remember Hercules, Zeus, or anything else. She acts quite kind and loving, which Iolaus comments on.
- Out of Focus: She's the main antagonist in three of the TV-Movies note and the first two seasons, but she starts losing prominence in Season 3 to Ares and other threats. By Season 4, she only menaces Hercules a couple times (one of which was a Whole Episode Flashback) before being trapped in the Abyss of Tartarus.
- Related in the Adaptation: In Season 4, she's said to be Apollo's mother (which would also make her the mother of Artemis). Besides the fact that Leto never appeared in any of the shows, this change was presumably to justify Apollo siding with her against Zeus, as well as justify her associating with him when her primary characterization was despising Zeus's bastard offspring. A couple episodes also strongly imply that she is Aphrodite's mother.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In "Reunions," Hercules traps her in the Abyss of Tartarus. She gets out in "Full Circle."
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She resurrects Callisto in "Surprise" as part of yet another plan to kill Hercules. This has little long-term importance for this show, but it leads to a number major events on Xena's show.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She claims in "Reunions" that she genuinely loved Zeus before his repeated affairs drove her over the edge. Hercules is dubious, but "Full Circle" shows she was telling the truth.
- The Woman Behind The Man: She directs men, monsters and everything in-between after Hercules or whichever insignificant mortals of the week piss her off. Unlike the other gods, she very rarely faces him in person.Enforcer: Hera says, "Kill Hercules."
Hercules: Yeah, I know, but she never has the courage to say it to my face.
- Woman Scorned: Her husband Zeus's infidelities are the main source of her malevolence."I vowed to reclaim my dignity, Hercules, the day you were born. And unlike some people, I keep my promises!"
- Alas, Poor Villain: Ares mourned his death—saying he wasn't good at his job but always tried. According to writer Paul Robert Coyle, the response the writers got to Strife's death was so sympathetic that there were discussions about bringing him back.
- Ascended Extra: Appearing five times before getting killed off, Strife went on to be a major antagonist on Young Hercules.
- Butt-Monkey: Ares frequently kicks him around.
- The Dragon: To Ares.
- Forgot About His Powers: He fights a Brought Down to Normal Hercules in "Judgment Day" and initially gets his ass kicked. It's then lampshaded.Strife: Help.
Ares: Fight him, you pathetic little fool. You're a god. USE YOUR POWERS!
- Nephewism: Who his parents are is never stated in-story, and he always hangs out with Ares.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Though it was Ares' plan, Strife was the one who actually murdered Serena in the original timeline.
- Number Two: To Ares.
- Properly Paranoid: He knew in "Armageddon Now" that Callisto was trying to manipulate Ares. The war god knew that, too, and was hoping to use her to his own ends, but Strife was insistent on not taking any chances at all.
- Sacrificial Lion: According to Word of God, he was killed off to up the stakes in the Dahak/Hope storyline.
- Totally Radical: Not to Aphrodite's level, but it's there. Ares had to chastise him for not talking like the other gods.
- Voluntary Shape Shifting: Strife has the alter his appearance to take whatever form he likes whether mortals or monsters or Gods.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Over a year after Strife was killed off, Joel Tobeck played his cousin Deimos.Ares: They look enough alike, don't you think?
Deimos: Do not. I'm taller, and he's dead.
- Above Good and Evil: He refers to good and evil as abstract notions in need of shaking up.
- Armor-Piercing Question: He appears fond of these:
- In "Faith," he appears to Hercules in a dream and discusses with him the nature of evil—how it can't be beaten and that it's inside everyone, even him.Hercules: That doesn't mean I'm gonna stop trying.
Dahak: But at what cost? Deianeira, Serena, your precious children—they've all paid the price for your arrogance. How do you expect to save the world, Hercules, when you can't even save the people you love?
- In "Redemption," he hits both heroes with this in different scenes:Dahak: And what exactly were you fighting for?
Iolaus: The chance to make the world a better place.
Dahak: And did you?
Hercules: You used his good intentions against him to corrupt him.
Dahak: He wasn't forced into anything. He chose his own path. Isn't that what you've always believed in, Hercules; the right to choose your own path?
- In "Faith," he appears to Hercules in a dream and discusses with him the nature of evil—how it can't be beaten and that it's inside everyone, even him.
- Badass Boast: In "Redemption":"I saw the Earth formed out of nothing. I brought the serpent of temptation into man's garden. I've even been known on occasion to turn entire oceans to sand in a single breath. I think it's safe to say I know how things will turn out."
- Balance Between Good and Evil: His ultimate goal is to break this balance.Zarathrustra: As long as we keep these two forces in balance, our world remains in a state of harmony. When Dahak enters this realm, the balance of power began to sway and with each act of destruction—the death of the Sumerian gods, the death of the Druids, Dahak grew stronger.
- Batman Gambit: Killing the Druids was part of a long-term plan, but he also knew that it would cause Hercules to go to Sumeria and seek him out.
- Big Bad: The first half of Season 5.
- The Corrupter: The flashbacks in "Redemption" show how he did this to Iolaus: picking away at his self-worth and desire to help others. "Faith" shows he also tempted Gilgamesh after the death of his family and offered the grieving hero salvation.
- Deal with the Devil: With Iolaus and others before him.
- Demonic Possession: Of Iolaus.
- Demonization: Taking advantage of Herc's lengthy absence, he manages to convince many in Greece that the half-god has gone insane and driven the Olympians away.
- The Dreaded: As summed up by Ares in "Armageddon Now":"The one great evil is here. It's part of that creature that was with her. Oh, we've sensed him. Everyone on Olympus has. This... this force of darkness spells the end of all of us—gods and man alike."
- The End... Or Is It?: Invoked in "Darkness Rising" when he finishes explaining to Hercules how he entered the world:"The ENNNNDDDDDDD! [beat] Or maybe it's only the beginning."
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has regard for his daughter Hope, even saving her from certain death.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He truly believed that Hercules saw Iolaus as a mere traveling companion for his own ends instead of a valued friend.
- Eviler Than Thou: Ares feared him.
- God of Evil: Ticks all the boxes.
- Greater-Scope Villain: During Xena's third season. Due to being trapped in another realm, he has to rely on Hope, cultists, and other underlings in order to achieve his objectives. It's only in "Faith" when Dahak begins to take a more direct role in events."Dahak is the blind force behind every evil will."
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Invoked in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge" (where his identity was still a mystery). Loki asks him what his stake in all this is, and he responds by grabbing his face."Understand this: you are a tool! I owe you no answers! My motives are my own!"
- Humans Are Bastards: Believes this.Dahak: Optimism, Hercules, is the shield of fools. As long as people allow themselves to be ruled by their wills, there will always be those that take my path.
Hercules: But there'll be more that don't. There's something in everyone even you can't touch, Dahak; the impulse to create, to nurture life instead of destroy it. As long as it exists, I'll keep my optimism, thanks.
- I Have Many Names: When he meets Iolaus, he initially refers to himself as merely "a fellow traveler that was prevented from completing his journey."Iolaus: Dahak?
Dahak: Oh, I've been called many things.
Iolaus: Yeah, I can think of a few right now.
- If I Can't Have You...: He grows quite fond of Nebula and romances her while in Iolaus's body. For her part, Nebula thought she was just daydreaming and later tried to put a stop to it.
- Kill the God: He wiped out the Sumerian gods as part of a plan to enter the world. He also schemed to bring about Ragnarök and wipe out the Norse gods. The Olympians were so terrified of him that they fled before he made his way to Greece.
- Knight Templar: "In my kingdom, there will be no suffering, but you can't build a new world without first destroying the old one."
- Leaking Can of Evil: Despite his imprisonment, he can contact his followers and has even managed to talk to Ares and Hercules. More direct actions (such as impregnating Gabrielle), however, only occurred if his followers performed complex rituals in their places of worship first.
- The Man Behind the Man: For Loki in the Norse gods two-parter.
- Manipulative Bastard: He knows everyone's buttons and impulses, so he can actively manipulate his foes.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He waged a devastating conflict against the Titans to seize control of Earth. He lost and was banished, but the conflict was so debilitating that the Olympians were able to rise up and overthrow the Titans shortly afterward.
- Precrime Arrest: Done as part of his attempt to corrupt Iolaus. He offers him a trial run of his powers and shows him a man about to fall to his death from a rope bridge. Iolaus motions to prevent the ropes from coming undone, but Dahak then showed him that the man will go on to rob and kill an innocent family. Iolaus reluctantly lets the guy fall to his death, which Dahak notes is technically murder since the guy was punished for a crime he hadn't actually committed yet.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a brutal one in "Redemption" to Zarathrustra, a former believer that betrayed him.Dahak: Zarathrustra, I am so disappointed in you. We had an understanding. I gave you power beyond mortal limitations, but you turned into the worst kind of coward.
Hercules: Why? Because he refused to kill his family?
Dahak: You say "kill his family" as if that were a bad thing. The truth is, he didn't deserve them. Not much of a family man, are you, Zarathrustra? If you were, you wouldn't have accepted me into your heart so greedily. But don't worry. Your failure is my success. And if it's any consolation, when I killed your family, I didn't give them a chance to scream.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Loki's about to lose to Hercules, Dahak simply leaves rather than reveal his presence.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He was banished to another realm by the Titans. A number of plots here and earlier on Xena were to find a way to free himself.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: When he meets Iolaus, he takes the form of his father, then Nebula and finally Hercules. He then proceeds to wear Iolaus down with guilt and regret to make him agree to a Deal with the Devil.
- Thanatos Gambit: His ultimate plan is to have Hercules kill him while possessing Iolaus. This would send him back into his realm, but also condemn Iolaus to the same fate. Having the Big Good do this would shatter an already weakened balance between good and evil, plunging the world into chaos. (Whether Dahak would be outright dead or just come back was never made clear.)
- Underestimating Badassery: Underestimating Hercules, Iolaus, and The Power of Friendship are why he loses.
- Villain with Good Publicity: His worldwide cult is full of people who think he's what's best for the world. During Season 5, he pretends to be Iolaus and claims to have taken ambrosia to ward off an insane, god-hunting Hercules. By the time Hercules makes it back to Greece, the "god of light" has many willing followers.
- We Will Meet Again: At the end of his first fight with Hercules:"I knew you couldn't kill me. You're still holding on to what we were. Well, it's time to grow up. It'll be a whole new day in Greece, buddy!"
- Xanatos Gambit: As he explains to Hercules, all he needed was the sacrifice of a warrior heart to enter the world. He would've settled for Nebula, but Iolaus worked out just fine.
- He wants his Thanatos Gambit to succeed, but if Hercules doesn't play along, Dahak will just "take the whole world soul by soul."
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Defied in the Norse gods two-parter. Loki does everything he was asked to and Dahak will honor his end of the arrangement.
- Beard of Evil: As a Shout-Out to "Mirror, Mirror."
- Berserk Button: Being called his real name sends him into a violent rage.
- Big "NO!": Memorably in "Stranger In A Strange World" when he becomes trapped in-between worlds.
- Destructo-Nookie: Implied to have this with his world's Xena. Lampshaded by Iolaus, who witnesses some of it: "Their foreplay is gonna get me killed!"
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loved his wife and children, and was devastated when they died.
- Evil Feels Good: Is very insistent on it."You people should fear me! HIDE FROM ME! Tremble at the sight of me! All I get are happy faces. I hate happy."
- Evil Twin: Hercules as a villain.
- Freudian Excuse: His Alcmene abandoned him as a child, his Zeus went insane, his Cheiron instructed him in the ways of evil, and his family died.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He notes the irony of a bastard son like him being poised to take over the world.
- I Lied: His response to executing a prisoner he promised to spare: "Oops."
- It's Personal: He despises Hercules for trapping him in-between worlds, but it gets even worse when he realizes Hercules also had a family like his.Hercules: I did. Hera killed them.
The Sovereign: [shoving him] So, she kills your family for something you' did! And when yours died, mine'' did—!
- Killed Off for Real: By Ares in "Stranger And Stranger."
- Missing Mom: His Alcmene abandoned him.
- Near-Villain Victory: His plan was to marry his sister so that he could become king of the gods and reshape the world. He came this close to pulling it all off.
- Never My Fault: Comes up in "Armageddon Now, Part II":The Sovereign: You're to blame for everything that's happened to me. You can forget about getting out of here. You're mine.
Hercules: I'm not responsible for what happened to you or your family, or what you became. You are who you choose to be. We all are.
- No Indoor Voice: "VERY DISAPPOINTED!"
- Omnicidal Maniac: His plan in "Stranger In A Strange World" was to become king of the gods and kill every possible human (save his most devout followers).
- Other Me Annoys Me: Loathes his counterpart for trapping him in the Netherworld and for being a beloved hero. It gets even worse when he realizes the death of Herc's family led to the death of his own one.
- Psychopathic Man Child: Hercules even refers to him as a child when breaking up one of his rampages.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Herc in "Armageddon Now" and is immediately on the receiving end of one.The Sovereign: You're pathetic, you know that?
Hercules: You don't know anything about me.
The Sovereign: Oh, yes, I do. Oh, yeah. See, I've watched you in here. You should make people worship you, tremble in fear. But what do you do? Oh, you help them out. You solve their puny problems. You're pathetic.
Hercules: Maybe you're the one who's pathetic. You ever think about that? Are you so happy with your own life?
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In "Stranger In A Strange World," he becomes trapped in-between worlds in a place called the Netherworld. He briefly gets out in "Armageddon Now" but is quickly returned.
- Smarter Than You Look: Played with. On the one hand in "Stranger In A Strange World," he came up with the plan to take over the world, as well as knew that his Xena was a devious schemer and that his Iolaus was tasked with assassinating him. On the other hand, whereas Hercules uses his intellect to figure out a way to escape the Netherworld, the Sovereign never does so.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Atalanta, much to his dismay.
- Catchphrase: "Wait a minute! Wait a minute!"
- Claustrophobia: Hinted at in "Unchained Heart" as the reason he freezes up.
- Cowardly Lion: Though often spooked, he always ultimately stands by Hercules to help out however he can.
- Deadpan Snarker: He can be this usually after having spent the whole day in risking his life of suffering some (albeit comically) injures.
- Disguised in Drag: Twice.
- "The Gauntlet": He was in the town that Xena was attacking, so he donned a dress and wig (as well as covered his bearded face) in the hopes of being spared that way. It failed when the covering was pulled away.
- "Men In Pink": In a spoof of Some Like It Hot, he and Autolycus get the blame for the murder of a king, so they take refuge in Widow Twankey's all-girl dance troupe.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's as greedy as can be, but (as shown in "All That Glitters") he would never bet on a game that endangers children.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Hercules.
- Gold Fever: He's obsessed with striking it rich, but "The Fire Down Below" really runs with it. He finds a great treasure and begins selling it, but it's cursed by Hera, and he ends up in Nemesis's crosshairs.
- Hidden Depths: Beneath the drive to strike it rich is a guy who values his friends.
- Honest John's Dealership: For the most part, he actually averts this. Many of the goods he sells are of fair quality and entirely legal. On the other hand, he tried selling what turned out to be cursed treasure he found in a mine, and he once cheated a warlord by selling him swords and belts made up a material that melted in the rain.
- Kavorka Man: Just ask the 50 Daughters of King Thespius.
- Large Ham: Being a fairly campy show, most of the characters fit the bill now and then, but Salmoneus runs on this trope.
- The Load: He can't fight, so the best he can do is offer moral support. In "Unchained Heart" he actually freezes up during a crisis, though he feels very bad about it. The few times he's forced into combat (like in "Outcast") have him relying on trickery and potshots.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: When Hercules first met him, Salmoneus was a toga salesman. He had many different jobs since in order to strike it rich.
- Out of Focus: A very prominent recurring character in the first two seasons, Salmoneus started making fewer appearances in Season 3, only two in Season 4 and just one in Season 5.
- Put on a Bus: "Love, Amazon Style" features a reference to Salmoneus being sent to prison for tax fraud. According to Robert Trebor, this was because the cast found out Salmoneus would not be appearing before the show ended and wanted to provide some kind of explanation for where he'd be.
- Recurring Character: He's not a main character but after Iolaus, he makes the third most recurring appearances in the series and is important enough in Hercules' life that he was present for several milestone events in Herc's adventures, most notably seeing Xena go through her HeelFace Turn, starting the Olympic Games with Hercules, being there with Hercules when his mentor Cheiron was near-death, and planning the wedding of Herc's mother Alcmene and Jason.
- Rousseau Was Right: For all the credit Hercules gets for redeeming Xena, it was Salmoneus who convinced him that Xena could be redeemed.
- Undying Loyalty: He's greedy and a bit cowardly, but he'll always help Hercules however he can.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Autolycus.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After he freezes up in "Unchained Heart" and denounces himself as a coward:Hercules: You are nothing of the sort, Salmoneus. I remember how you stuck by me when I had to battle the Centaurs without my sight.
Salmoneus: Save your breath. Why should they believe you?
- A Day in the Limelight: "Love On The Rocks."
- All Up to You: The rebels tasked him with assassinating the Sovereign before he could become a god. Instead, he panicked and ran, which was actually lucky for him. It's later demonstrated that the Sovereign knew all along about this plan and would've immediately killed him if he had attempted it.
- Ascended Extra: A one-off in Season 4's "Stranger In A Strange World," he became Herc's partner in the second half of Season 5.
- Better the Devil You Know: When the Empress seized power, he preferred to be in the Netherworld with the Sovereign."At least the Sovereign laughed at my jokes."
- Butt-Monkey: The Sovereign's personal one.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Described his life in Other World as a nightmare he thought he'd never escape. Given that he was under the thumb of the Sovereign, we can believe it.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He ends his time on the series having grown more confident and being with the love of his life.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Though it only comes up for a couple gags in "Just Passing Through."
- Hidden Depths:Hercules: Before we met, you saw yourself as a jester, so that's what you were. I saw you as a hero who didn't know it yet. Once you saw yourself that way, too; well, that's what you became. We are who we perceive ourselves to be.
- I Owe You My Life: To Herc.
- My God, What Have I Done?: On his world, the rebels approached him to assassinate the Sovereign. When things got tough, he ran, which led to him switching places with our Iolaus."Oh, I'm such a spineless coward. I ran away from the only brave thing anyone's ever asked me to do. He's killed Zeus! And after that, it'll be the rest of the world, save his followers."
- Never My Fault: In "Stranger And Stranger," he blames Herc for the bad things that have happened to him since they last met. Iolaus 2 later admits he wasn't willing to own up.
- Not So Different: He's not Iolaus, but Jason feels he shares the same heart.
- Odd Friendship: With Aphrodite.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Lampshaded in "Just Passing Through."Hercules: There were times that Iolaus thought he was living in my shadow.
Iolaus 2: And now I'm living in his.
- Sadistic Choice: Leaving his old world permanently. He admits in "Love On The Rocks" and "My Best Girl's Wedding" that it was actually much harder to do than he let on.
- Spanner in the Works: His attempt to escape the Sovereign led to accidentally switching places with our Iolaus, which causes the chain of events that leads to the Sovereign's downfall just as he was about to become a god.
- Took a Level in Badass: "Love On The Rocks," where he takes on a group of villains by himself.
- Weak, but Skilled: He lacks Iolaus' fighting prowess, but he has impressive acrobatic abilities.
- Adult Fear: A Roman attack on a village leaves many dead, including a young boy. Seeing this makes Morrigan think of her own daughter.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Her preferred method of killing people was to rip out their hearts.
- Distaff Counterpart: Guess who.
- Evil Counterpart: A super-strong half-god, but one that enforced her gods' will instead of opposed it.
- HeelFace Turn: She is introduced as an antagonist, but redeems herself thank to
- I Have Your Daughter: Part of the reason she served Cernunnos was because he had their daughter.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She walks out on Hercules because an oracle told her that while he would honor their marriage vows no matter what, Greece would suffer without him and that thought would continuously torment him.
- My Greatest Failure: Not being there to protect the Druids from Dahak.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: She attacks Hercules in "Resurrection" to make an example of him and to break the spirits of the Celts. Thing is, Hercules wasn't going to stay and help them; he was too busy mourning Iolaus's death. Herc getting clobbered and laid up in bed gives Mabon another opportunity to ask for his help.
- Not So Different: Though the comparison is made after she becomes good.Mabon: You were raised a half-god among mortals, she a half-mortal among gods. Similar wounds cause similar scars. What heals one wound—
Hercules: Heals another.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: She killed the old Druid of Justice, which made her the new Druid of Justice. This turned out to be the Druids' elaborate Batman Gambit.Mabon: Who better to restore justice to the land than the one who took it away?
- Action Girl: She is an accomplished athlete and heroine.
- All Amazons Want Hercules: While technically not an amazon herself, she did fell in love with Hercules after testing his strength with arm-wrestling.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Towards Hercules, who appreciates her and considers her a friend, but doesn't return the feelings the same way.
- Amazonian Beauty: While most men think she looks like a Brawn Hilda, Salmoneus and Hercules agree that she is hot.
- Badass Normal: Despite not having any godly powers, she can hold herself in a fight pretty well.
- The Blacksmith: Her day-to-day job is working in a forge, which is likely how she gained her beefed up physique.
- Boobs of Steel: Atlanta is very voluptuous, but also very strong and knows how to fight.
- Chainmail Bikini: She wore a leotard-like outfit which shows off her buff arms, most of her chest and butt really not too different from most of the female clothes in the show.
- Demonic Possession: In her debut episode, she was possessed by Ares in order to make weapons for him and his followers. She is snapped out of it by the end of the episode.
- Femininity Failure: In "If I Had A Hammer", she chooses to wear a long dress and act more feminine for her boyfriend's sake. It goes to south when a group of bullies attack him, her dress gets ripped and she fights them off with Hercules' help.
- Ms. Fanservice: She wears a very revealing armor that displays a very well-formed physique.
- Pygmalion Plot: Atlanta creates a statue of Hercules in "If I Had A Hammer" that gains life of its own, but its very child-like. He is mistaken for a monster by a crowd and sacrifices his life to save both Atalanta and the real Hercules.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Cory Everson's busy schedule meant Atalanta could only be featured sparingly. "If I Had a Hammer..." was actually planned for Season 3, but delayed to Season 4 until she became available.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: She was very unlucky in love because most guys were turned off by her strength and physique. Ironically, the ones that weren't turned off were Hercules (whom she loved, but he considered her a friend) and Salmoneus (who was attracted to her, but she didn't return his feelings).
- Statuesque Stunner: Atalanta is taller than most guys barring Hercules.