Did Hercules Exist?

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Hercules is one of the most famous Greek heros of the ancient times, well known for his heroic achievements and his unbelievable strength. He was someone very special who at the same time was extremely ordinary, in the concept that he faced everyday problems that he had to overcome himself. Although his courageous personal traits make him famous, he was not perfect in all aspects. Hercules was born to a mortal woman by the name of Alcmene and fathered by the greatest God in Greek mythology, Zeus, making Hercules a Demi God.This idea meant that Hercules had some features that were very godly, some divine powers, but at the same time he was a mortal, meaning he could die. It is suspected, that the Greeks invented this idea because they wanted to reach the Gods as much as possible, to create images of that would deem themselves worthy to the higher divinity. Something is always hidden behind every myth so it is very probable that once, a man existed that was physically strong and made such an impression to the ancient Greek world, that a myth was created around his name. The question is, did Hercules really exist?

A major factor in the well known tragedies surrounding Hercules is the hatred that the Goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, had for him. He was the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. The very existence proved one of Zeus’ many illicit affairs, and Hera often conspired against the mortal offspring as revenge for her husband’s infidelities. Rebecca Kennedy, student of Saint Anselm College says; “ Hera’s hatred of Hercules is irrational. It’s almost as if she knew he was going to challenge her favour in heaven in some way. She knew there was something about Hercules that was different than the other children and maybe she felt threatened by this but everyday of his life seemed to be paying for this hatred of hers.” At 8 months of age, Hera tried to kill the infant Hercules by sending two poisonous snakes placed in his crib one night. However,



Bibliography: Hercules: World Mythology, Adele Richardson, Capstone Press, 2003 Date Accessed: 22 March 2011 Greek And Roman Mythology-Hercules, Nancy Loewen Capstone Press, 1998 Date Accessed: 21 July 2011

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