In mythology the nephew, companion and charioteer of Herakles and often shown with him. He seldom plays an active role except, for example, to hold his arms while he wrestles with the Lion, and he burns the severed stumps of the Hydra's necks as Herakles cuts them off. After Herakles' 'death' he protects his children from Eurystheus, who has them pursued to Attica, where they find asylum.
Above: Iolaos protects children of Herakles. Detail from South Italian clay vase c.4th c. Policoro. Museo Nazionale della Siritide. Photo. DAI Rom 68.1726 © Museo Nazionale della Siritide