The masculine but attractive queen of Lydia, daughter of King Iardanus, and wife of Tmolus, after whose death she undertook the government herself. When Heracles, in consequence of the murder of Iphitus, was ill of a serious disease, and received the oracle that he could not be released unless he served some one for wages for the space of three years, Hermes, accordingly, sold Heracles to Omphale, by whom he became the father of several children.

During his time with Omphale, Heracles led a submissive life spinning wool, wearing a female garment while Omphale wore the lion's skin and was lady paramount.


In ancient art Omphale usually appears together with Heracles on reliefs and frescoes. She wears Heracles' lion skin and carries his club, while the hero holds feminine attributes, such on as the murals in the Casa di Sirico and the Casa di Marco Lucrezio in Pompeii.



  • Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Dionysius, i, 28.
  • Lucian. Dialogues of the Gods xiii, 2.
  • Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 9.19; ii, 6.3, 7.8.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
  • Sophocles. Trachiniae, 253.

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