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Why Is Hercules Famous: Interesting Facts with Exploits of Hercules in Art

01.09.2021
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Hercules myth

The Hercules art temple is an incredible and ancient site located in the Jordanian capital Amman. These ruins have an unusually rich history. According to historians, the temple was built in the 2nd century AD during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. However, local architects did not manage to complete it to the end, at that moment there were wars.

The temple was considered the main sanctuary of the city and was probably erected in honor of Hercules in art A giant statue was also erected, from which modern people have left huge fingers and an elbow.

The fact that the temple of the Romans is dedicated to the ancient is Hercules a demigod, archaeologists were told by coins with the image of this mythical hero, found here in large numbers, and, accordingly, fragments of a giant marble hand.

In Greek mythology, Hercules was a demigod and heroic figure who was greatly admired. The Romans called him Hercules (Hercules was his Greek name) and he was imported into their mythological history of the founding of Rome. In mythology, Hercules performed twelve labors, a series of grueling trials that entailed suffering and struggle. In performing these gruesome feats, he encountered many Greek cities and landscapes. Although he was not the founder of specific cities, his presence in art, especially sculpture, links him to these places.

Hercules History

The Hercules statue was extremely revered by the ancient inhabitants, and especially by the warriors. Both the Greeks and the Romans considered this deity to be the personification of strength and fearlessness. Therefore, there is nothing strange in the fact that a figure of such a huge size was sculpted in his honor. But where did the rest of it go? Alas, most of the unique giant statue of Hercules in Greek mythology is forever lost to history, and the mystery of its destruction has not yet been solved.

Researchers calculated that the sculptures of Hercules reached at least 12-13 meters in height, which means that he was almost the largest marble figure in the history of mankind, and the largest statue of the Greco-Roman period.

Hercules became a prominent force in ancient culture. He achieved immortality after his death because his labors were undertaken for the benefit of humanity. Since athletic performance was one of the highest honors in Ancient Greece, Hercules was the perfect role model. His athleticism was highlighted during the twelve labors, and he demonstrated both mental and physical prowess.

About the reasons for the destruction of Hercules sculpture, researchers have only one version: the giant Hercules could have crashed during one of the strongest earthquakes that have repeatedly happened in this area.

  • True, it remains a mystery where the rest of the parts of the Hercules Greek god statue went. On the one hand, it is unlikely that they split into such small pieces that they could not be detected.
  • On the other hand, for vandals or just local residents, scattered pieces of marble could be of great value.

Now part of the hand is considered a separate sculpture, which received the official name “Hand of Hercules”, and tourists from all over the world come to gaze at this sight.

The very same hill, on which the ruins of the temple are located, is an excellent observation deck from which a gorgeous view of the city opens.

Farnese Hercules Statue

Farnese Hercules Statue

Farnese Hercules is one of the most famous sculptures of antiquity. The statue is a Roman (or possibly made in the Athenian workshop of Glicon) copy of the 3rd century from a Greek original of the 4th century BC that has not survived to our time. e., the authorship of which belongs to Lysippos or someone from the sculptors of his circle.

Hercules leans on his club, covered with the impenetrable skin of the Nemean lion, which he killed during his first birth. Standing at an impressive 3.15 m, he displays another trophy behind his back – the legendary golden apples, which he stole from the garden of the Hesperides. This was one of the last exploits of Hercules, and his low-key figure and lowered eyes show us that, despite his heroic achievements, he is still a human hero. The viewer is attracted by his articulated physique, which is pleasing to the eye and emphasizes the pure strength and courage that were fundamental to overcoming his labors.

Farnese Hercules was originally cast in bronze using the lost wax casting method developed by Lysippos. The statue depicts a weary Hercules leaning on his famous club, over which the skin of the Nemean lion is draped. In his right hand, set aside behind his back, Hercules holds three apples, which suggests that the sculptor captured the hero while performing one of his twelve deeds – stealing the apples of the Hesperides.

The statue was popular among the Romans, and copies of it adorned many ancient Roman palaces and gyms.

In modern times, when prints and drawings were the only way to introduce the public to an outstanding work of fine art, many engravings depicting Farnese Hercules circulated throughout Europe. The sketches of the statue from different angles were made by the young Rubens.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, replicas of Farnese Hercules graced parks throughout Europe.

Marble Statue of a Youthful Hercules

Marble Statue of a Youthful Hercules

This marble sculpture was created sometime between AD 69-96 during the Flavian dynasty. It is believed that this was done as one of a pair with the adults of the art of Hercules, and restorations were made to it during the 17th century. Hercules takes the position invented by the Greeks, which we now call the Contrapposto. His body weight falls on one leg, in contrast to the left, which is relaxed, and therefore the body is in a state of balance.

His crisp facial structure, lack of a beard, broad shoulders, and soft musculature all epitomize his youthfulness and masculinity. The courage of Hercules is reminiscent of the protective lion’s skin, which lies lightly on his left hand, and the club, which he holds with his right hand. So you learned what does Hercules symbolizes.

Marble Statue of a Bearded Hercules

Marble Statue of a Bearded Hercules

It is believed that this marble sculpture was a copy of Young Hercules, and both works were used to decorate a large public bath. The location of the lion’s fur above the head of the Hercules lion statue in the form of a hood is striking, and the tied paws symbolize the brute strength of Hercules. He killed the Nemean lion with his own hands, so the lack of weapons on the sculpture due to problems with restoration is ironic. Hercules exudes confidence thanks to his balanced stance and stern features, including frowning eyebrows.

Roman sculpture strove for realism, which we can also see in certain muscles in the abdomen and legs, but these are still exaggerated to match the beautiful ideal figure that symbolized physical and moral perfection. Here’s what did Hercules look like.

Why Is Hercules Famous?

When the hero was about to hunt a lion, Tsar Thespius cordially received him for 50 days and every night he sent one of his daughters to him, including the eldest Prokrida, who later bore 50 sons from him. According to another version, the hero combined with all his daughters in one night, except for one who did not wish, then he condemned her to remain a girl and a priestess in his temple. Gregory Nazianzus ironically said that Hercules accomplished his “thirteenth feat” that night.

Hercules defeated the king Orchomenus Ergin, to whom Thebes paid tribute. In this battle, Amphitrion, the stepfather of Hercules, died. Heracles cut off the noses of the messengers from Orchomenes, which is why there was a statue of Hercules Rinokolust (The Nose Clipper) in Thebes. When the Orhomenians came with the army, Hercules tied their draft horses, which is why the temple of Hercules Hippodetus (the Horse Binder) was erected. Having defeated the Orhomenians, Hercules dedicated the marble lion to the temple of Artemis Eucleia in Thebes.

  • Hercules is physically strong, that legends are made about him. No one can defeat him: evil giants, angry bulls, terrible snakes. As a demigod, he tends to protect people.
  • According to myths, Hercules, with the consent of Zeus, freed Prometheus. In exchange, the centaur Chiron gave his gift of immortality.
  • Hercules won the fight against Antaeus, after which the widow Anthea Tingis gave birth to a son, Sophak, from Hercules. Hercules took part in the struggle of the gods with giants, and also participated in the campaign of the Argonauts together with his young lover Hilas.
  • According to Dionysius of Mytilene and Demarat, Hercules sailed to Colchis. According to most authors, it was abandoned when it went ashore near Magnesia in search of water, or broke an oar and went into the forest for a new one.
  • Hercules defeated King Elis Augeus and instituted the Olympic Games. The fourth day of the month was dedicated to Hercules because, as the founder of the Olympic Games, every fourth year belonged to him.
  • At the Olympic Games, Hercules won the wrestling and at the funeral games for Pelius, Hercules won in pankratia. According to other authors, he fought with Zeus, and the competition ended in a draw. Established Olympic stadiums 600 feet long. In running, he overcame the stages, without catching his breath, which is why the stages are named so.

Hercules fought with the Egyptian king Busiris, who sacrificed foreigners, as well as with the Italian giant Kakus and the god of death Thanatos, bringing back to life the deceased wife of his friend Admet, defeated Thanat.

Hercules Interesting Facts with Exploits

The canonical scheme of 12 labors was first established by Pisander of Rhodes in the poem “Hercules”. The order of exploits is not the same for all authors. In total, Pythia ordered Hercules to perform 10 feats, but Eurystheus did not count 2 of them. He had to do two more, and it turned out 12. In 8 years and one month, he completed the first 10 feats, in 12 years – everything.

  1. Strangulation of the Nemean lion.
  2. The murder of the Lernaean hydra.
  3. Extermination of the Stymphalian birds.
  4. The capture of the Kerinean fallow deer.
  5. The taming of the Erymanthian boar and the battle with the centaurs.
  6. Cleaning of the Augean stables.
  7. The taming of the Cretan bull.
  8. The abduction of the horses of Diomedes, the victory over the king Diomedes (who threw foreigners to be devoured by his horses).
  9. The abduction of the belt of Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons.
  10. Abduction of the cows of the three-headed giant Geryon.
  11. The abduction of golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides.
  12. The taming of the guardian of Hades – the dog of Cerberus.

Having accomplished these feats, Hercules earned himself three immortal enemies for life. Now you have learned almost all the information about the real story of Hercules, thanks to our article, which we have prepared for you with the team. We hope you found it helpful.

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