Omphale was the daughter of Iardanus and the mother of Lamus. She was queen of Lydia, having married one of the country's early kings, Tmolus. When Heracles was sold into slavery she bought him and made him wear women's clothes. He carried out several valiant deeds for her, and she then married him. Her name means 'navel', omphalos (compare Latin umbilicus and English 'umbilical').

This may be a reference to a shrine that was somehow navel-shaped, or have the actual anatomical sense in view of the fact that for women, the navel was regarded as the seat of passion. Omphale thus had an 'umbilical' attachment to Heracles.