Today, I speak of Hercules, or in Greek, Heracles. He is the most well known of ancient heroes, in both Rome and Greece. In Rome, he took on more myths and legends than he did in Greece, but there are many parallels between the two. Essentially, they are the same person.
He was the illegitimate son of Zeus, lord of the gods, and Alceme. the most lovely and wise of all women in her time. That is according to legend. It is said that Zeus took the infant Heracles and laid him beside Hera’s breast to suckle just long enough to give him strength and skill beyond any mortal man. Because of Zeus’ infidelity and trickery to feed the baby, Hera hated and held a grudge again Heracles his entire life.
It was Hera who made Heracles go insane and kill his wife and children among other things. When he came back to sanity and saw what he had done, he went to the Oracle of Delphi, who then ordered him to go to King Eurystheus. This is how the 12 Labors of Heracles started. During these Labors, he proved he was both cunning and strong and had the backing of many of the gods behind him to make sure he succeeded.
Looking through movie and television history, this demigod has been played by many different men. Some handsome, some not very good looking, but they showed him as being a muscular guy. In the television show , where he was portraited by Kevin Sorbo (pardon me while I drool here), he appeared more lean in physique and, to me, more in tune with the character himself.
Hercules is someone who wasn’t just strong and cunning, he was a gentle person trying to atone for the murder of his family and simply be allowed to live like any other man.
Is there someone in your life, or a character you’ve created that seems so much like this iconic hero?