23 November, 2005

A Familiar Biography..

Hercules. Now let's see ...
  • born from a god (Zeus) and a mortal virgin mother (Alcmene).
  • while still an infant, a jealous goddess, Hera, tried to kill him.
  • performed miraculous deeds.
  • descended into Hades.
  • died in agony.
  • rose again as a god.

Should we believe in a historical Hercules? He's mentioned by Tacitus, Josephus and others. In short, we have as much (that is, as little) evidence for an historical Hercules as an historical Jesus.

Image Hercules carries his "cross"

Hercules at the tree of Hesperides, with apples and a snake. Sound a tad familiar?

(British Museum)