The servant of Heracles who brought to him the garment poisoned with the blood Nessus. As he lay dying, the centaur told Deianeira to gather some blood from the arrow wound because it would act as a potent love-charm should she ever need it. When years later Heracles took Iole as his concubine, Deianeira remembered the words of Nessus and smears some of the blood on a fine robe, which she tells Lichas to bring to Heracles.

The hero puts on the shirt but the poisonous blood eats into his flesh like acid. In his death agonies he seized Lichas, who had brought him the fatal shirt, and hurled him into the sea, where the Lichadian islands, between Euboea and the coast of Locris, were believed to have derived their name from him.



  • Hyginus. Fabulae, 36.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses ix, 155, 211 ff.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
  • Strabo. Geography ix, p. 426; x, p. 447.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.