πνοϲ, in general a common word in Greek tragedy, is a cardinal theme in the Heracles.
In the first half of the play the glorious saving Labours (πνοι, μχθοι, ἄθλοι, γνεϲ) of the warrior Hero with his bow, club and other weaponry are retrospectively evoked and further enacted. Repeated emphasis on this kind of ‘noble toil’ accords with the heroic definition of ρετ, which traditionally βανει διμχθω–8 the first strophe of the long First Stasimon in honour of Heracles (presumed to be dead) ends with:
ὑμνῆϲαι ϲτεφνωμα μ–
χθων δι' εὐλογαϲ θλω
γενναων δ' ρετα πνων
τοῖϲ θανοϲιν ἄγαλμα.
Heracles par excellence merits the title πολπονοϲ and for their individual greatness. πολυ- can mean either ‘much-’, so that it suffices for Amphitryon at 1190ff. to mention a single especially grand and godlike Labour:
AM.μϲ μϲ ὂδε γνοϲ ὂ πολπονοϲ, <ὂϲ> π
δρυ γιγαντοφνον ἥλθεν ϲὺν θεοῖ-
ϲι Φλεγραῖον ϲ πεδον ϲπιϲτϲ
This we may call the ‘epic’ view of the hero and of the πνοι performed by him cw ϲὺν θεοῖϲ. πνοϲ is normally martial in the Iliad.4 Note also, however, that the terminal ϲπιϲτϲ adds an allusion to the kind of martial ρετ most admired by 5th-century Athenians.