Posted on

3 Sins of Heracles (Hercules)

Heracles was the greatest of the Greek heroes, 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 modernWest, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. – Wikipedia

The Three Sins of Heracles

Excerpt from Georges Dumézil

Heracles is the Greek reflex of a far more ancient Indo-European mythic figure, arques Dumézil-a warrior figure who commits three sins, violating each stratum of tripartite Indo-European society. Dumézil here follows the account of Heracles’ three sins preserved in the work of Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian of the first century B.. Heracles’ twelve-year servitude to Eurystheus was only the first of three “penalties” the hero would suffer, each the consequence of his sin, each bound up with mental or physical ailment. Coqnate heroic figures among other Indo-European peoples to whom Dumézil makes reference in this selection are Indra, warrior deity par excellence of India, and Starcatherus, the Danish avatar of a well-known Scandinavian hero (Old Norse Starkar), whose tale is preserved in the Gesta Danorum of the twelfth/thirteenth-century cleric Saxo Gram-
maticus. (RDW)

Download/Read the full passage in pdf by Georges Dumézil below.

Read more


Heracles ( Hercules )

Heracles, also known as Hercules in Greek texts, is one of the most recognised and famous of the divine HEROES in Greek mythology. The SON OF ZEUS and the mortal woman Alcmene, he was considered the greatest of the heroes, a symbol of masculinity, sire of a long line of royal clans and the champion of the Olympian order against terrible monsters.

Heracles, also known as Hercules in Greek texts, is one of the most recognised and famous of the divine HEROES in Greek mythology. The SON OF ZEUS and the mortal woman Alcmene, he was considered the greatest of the heroes, a symbol of masculinity, sire of a long line of royal clans and the champion of the Olympian order against terrible monsters.

Heracles was known for his extraordinary strength, courage and cleverness. When his brawn would not suffice, he would call upon his wits to outsmart the King Augeas of Elis or tricking ATLAS into taking the weight of the heavens once again.

With HERMES, Heracles was the patron and protector of gymnasia, and he was a playful individual playing games and entertaining children. He was often portrayed with a lion skin and a club. The most famous stories of his life were The Twelve Labours of Heracles.

Heracles was born to the mortal woman Alcmene and ZEUS, who disguised himself as her husband Amphitryon home early from the war. Heracles’ existence was proof of Zeus’ illicit affairs and HERA, his wife, enraged by this conspired against him as revenge for her husband’s infidelities.

Heracles

Heracles was born with a mortal twin, Iphicles, whose father was the real Amphitryon. Fearful of Hera’s revenge, Alcmene exposed Heracles but he was taken to Hera by ATHENA (the protector of heroes), and Hera not recognising him nursed him out of pity.

With this divine milk, Heracles acquired supernatural powers and Athena returned him back to his parents who raised him and named him Alcides, and it was only later that he would become known as Heracles as an attempt to pacify Hera. This attempt did not work, and when Heracles and Iphicles were eight months old, Hera sent two giant snakes to their chambers. Heracles, even at a young age, was, able to grab and strangle the snakes.

In Thebes, Heracles married King Creon’s daughter Megara. Hera, still spiteful, induced a fit of madness in Heracles and he killed his children. After his madness had been cured by hellebore, he fled, ashamed, to the Oracle, of Delphi. Unfortunately for Heracles, Hera guided the Oracle, and he was directed to serve his sworn enemy, King Eurystheus for ten years and perform any task asked of him in repayment for his crime of killing his children.

The Twelve Labours of Heracles

Heracles

Heracles was given Twelve Labours which would purify him of his sins and grant him immortality. The Twelve Labours were:

  1. Slay the NEMEAN LION
  2. Kill the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra
  3. Capture the GOLDEN HIDE of Artemis
  4. Capture the ERYMANTHIAN BOAR
  5. Clean the Augean stables in a single day
  6. Slay the Stymphalian Birds
  7. Capture the CRETAN BULL
  8. Steal the Mares of Diomedes
  9. Obtain the girdle of HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the AMAZONS
  10. Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon
  11. Take the apples of the Hesperides
  12. Capture and bring back CERBERUS, the Guardian of the Underworld

Sources: https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/heroes/heracles/, Wikipedia, Georges Dumézil