Greek Silver Coin Pendant depicting Heracles with a lion's skin (Minted by Alexander the Great)
- • Handmade 100% Made in Italy • Authentic Greek Silver Coin 4th cent. BC • Band material: Sterling Silver 925 • Processing Time: 1 Business Day • Worldwide Delivery Time: 1-5 Business Days
Heracles was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the foster son of Amphitryon. He was a great-grandson and half-brother (as they are both sired by the god Zeus) of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae (Ἡρακλεῖδαι), and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.
Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him. Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders. Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the lion skin and the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children.By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have "made the world safe for mankind" and to be its benefactor.Heracles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him, as Augeas, Neleus, and Laomedon all found out to their cost. There was also a coldness to his character, which was demonstrated by Sophocles' depiction of the hero in The Trachiniae.
In the works of Euripides involving Heracles, his actions were partly driven by forces outside rational human control. By highlighting the divine causation of his madness, Euripides problematized Heracles' character and status within the civilized context.This aspect is also highlighted in Hercules Furens where Seneca linked the hero's madness to an illusion and a consequence of Herakles' refusal to live a simple life, as offered by Amphitryon.