Sunday, August 30, 2009

How Heracles was involved in creating the Milky Way.

We, as stated yesterday, do not know much about Heracles youth but one that might be interesting to hear is how he was involved in creating the Milky Way. It is said that Alcmene, in fear of Hera, brought out Hercules to the fields outside of Thebes (since then called the fields of Heracles) to expose him. However Hermes (the messenger of the gods) found out and picked up the baby and put him to Heras breast. Hera was terrified when she woke up and threw away Hercules and the milk was spilled over the heavens (Eratosth. Cat. 44 non vidi.) It might be noted that Diodorus Siculus records another, more common version of the same story (Diod. Sic.IV. 9.6).

Now, over to what I intended to be the main subject today – Heracles attributes. This is important as it is how you recognize the hero in art. It’ll be presented how he gained these items later.

Anyway, there are three main items and several minor ones that you can recognize Heracles by. The first three are the lions skin (normally around his neck with the head as a helmet. Here it's used to cover the extra support as the marble statue would break without it.) The second one is the olive club and the third one a bow and arrows, usually next to the hero.

The minor ones are the items that represents his labours and deeds. It is no uncommon to see him carrying the apples of Hesperides, dragging away Cerberus or next to a man that it hiding in a pithos (a large vessel, the man is Eurystheus who is scared by the creatures that Heracles bring to him).

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