Monday, August 31, 2009

Heracles first deed and how he gained his lion pelt

The Roman emperor Commodus (180-192 Ad) as Heracles with the traditional attributes and the golden apples. This is how Heracles normally wear the lion pelt.

Heracles was still a young man, only eighteen years old, when he accomplished his first great deed. The story goes that the great lion of Cythaeron was roaming the lands of Amphitryon and Thespius and Heracles went on to assist them. The latter of the two was so impressed by the hero when he arrived that the king decided to let him sleep with his fifty daughters, one ever night until he slew the lion after fifty days (Apollod. Epit. II.4.10, Athenaeus claims that it only took one week: Ath. XIII.4). This event had two direct consequences; the lion pelt came from this lion (according to Apollodorus, we will soon encounter and alternative story) and this is why so many of the Greek peoples counted themselves as the descendants of Heracles.

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