Iconography - Herakles Strangling the Nemean Lion
The attic vase “Herakles Strangling the Nemean Lion,” created in 525 BC, is one of many of its kind, celebrating the half man, half god Herakles and his immense strength and power. There are over 3700 vases that portray Herakles that were made between the 6th and 4th century BC (Woodard 295). Such an epic battle between Herakles and the ever ferocious Nemean Lion was a popular story of greek mythology. It shows a hero defeating a monster, gaining vengeance for those who fell victim to the monster’s murderous ways. In seeing the way that such a killing was glorified in those times, one can conclude that the Greek society was one of justice and sacrifice. They greatly valued strength and gods, and wanted to see justice come to pass. In the story of Herakles and the Nemean Lion, many cultural aspects are made clear, such as the fact that they believed in numerous gods and made sacrifices to them, as well as the fact that the citizens were ruled over by kings who had ultimate power over their lives, whose power was only trumped by that of the gods. Such a heroic story is common of those times, and shows the true values of the people.
In Greek mythology, the half god, Herakles, also known as Hercules in Roman mythology, was a very important character. He was the product of a love affair between Zeus and Alkmene, making him half human, half god. Herakles is a greatly popular character in greek mythology, appearing on numerous vases, sculptures, and coins. He “is represented in all periods of Greek art and nearly all regions of Greece” (Woodard 294). He is especially prevalent in vase paintings, such as “Herakles Strangling the Nemean Lion” from the 6th to the 4th century BC. He is shown conquering many feats where as his deity counterparts only have one “claim to fame” (Woodard 294-5). Herakles has a significantly larger number of Attic vases that portray him as opposed to other gods of the time, such as Theseus,...
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