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Lundy, Isle of Avalon

Hercules / Heracles

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Gods, Saints and Heroes

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Hercules and the Golden Apple

The Twelve Labours of Hercules Hercules and the Horn of Bran

 

I will sing of Heracles, the son of Zeus 

and much the mightiest of men on earth'  --  Hesiod

 

Hercules -- Roman = Heracles/Herakles -- Greek = Phoenician -- Melquart.

In ancient times Hercules was worshipped both as a god and as a mortal hero. In 2004 archaeologists excavated a temple under a suburb of the Grecian city of Thebes. Further researches came up up with a 2000+ year old Greek text describing just such a temple dedicated to Hercules just outside the walls of Thebes. The text goes on to say that this temple was situated on the place of Hercules' birth.  In the temple the archaeologists found hundreds of artefacts all depicting / relating to Hercules.

 Hercules was born after Jupiter (God) seduced Alcmena (mortal) wife of the Theban general Amphitryon.

 Juno /Hera (goddess), the wife of Jupiter, was enraged. In fact, she was so jealous of Hercules that she sent two serpents to kill the infant as he lay in his cradle. Hercules strangled them with his bare hands.

But Juno wasn't finished with Hercules and when he was older she contrived the young man to undertake a series of quests, sometimes called  the 'Twelve Labours of Hercules.'

Although the quests pitted Hercules against a series of mythical creatures they have a remarkable geographic consistency, each quest involving longer and longer journeys from his Greek homeland.

The Greeks, like the majority of pre-Christian peoples, were quite comfortable with a belief system which linked otherworldly beings with actual physical locations. This concept carried on well in to the Christian period, see for instance all the hilltop beacon sites which were re-dedicated to the Archangel Michael to give one example.

 

 

during the undertaking of these tasks Hercules visits the land of the Hyperboreans. 

....The story of the labours of Hercules, where it relates that hero's adventures on his return from robbing Geryon of his cattle. Pomponius Mela, ii. 5 (p. .50), makes Hercules on that journey fight with two sons of Poseidon or Neptune ,Albiona and Bergyon. 

To us there can hardly be any mistake as to the two personal names being echoes of those of Albion and Iverion, Britain and Ireland.from Prof Rhys - Celtic Folklore

The eleventh of Hercules' Twelve Labours' was to fetch the golden apples of the Hesperides. The Garden of the Hesperides was said to be 'beyond the famous sea, that the golden fruit was guarded by a terrible serpent, and that the garden was situated at a place where Atlas upheld broad heaven, standing on earth's verge.'

Because Hercules did not know where these apples were, he sought help from Atlas, father of the Hesperides. Atlas agreed to help him if Hercules would support the world on his shoulders while Atlas got the apples. The old man did not wish to resume his burden, but Hercules tricked Atlas into taking the world back. Hercules returned with the apples to Eurystheus.

In the second century Ptolemy* wrote his 'Geographia' a compilation based on earlier sources of what was known of the geography of the second century Roman Empire. He names Lundy as 'Heraklea' - 'The Island of Hercules' and Hartland Point (the nearest point of land to Lundy) is named as 'Herakles Promontory' - The Headland of Hercules'
* - Ptolemy (90AD - 168AD), a mathematician, geographer and astronomer, wrote his 'Geography' in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second quarter of the second century AD. His work the 'Geography' is a compilation based on earlier sources of what was known of the geography of the second century Roman Empire.

 

 

Hercules was accidentally poisoned by his wife and after climbing Mount Etna he built a himself a funeral pyre. 

 

related pages

Hercules
 
Temples of Apollo
 
Hercules Labours

Hercules Island

Trade Routes

Atlantis, the Lost Land?

 

 

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