Hellenic Studies Folio #7 from the Center for Hellenic Studies

February 3, 2021
The painting depicts Herakles emerging from the flames of his funeral pyre and ascending in a chariot to join the Olympian Gods in the clouds.
The painting depicts Herakles emerging from the flames of his funeral pyre and ascending in a chariot to join the Olympian Gods in the clouds.
"The Apotheosis of Herakles" (circa 1700) by Noël Coypel (1628–1707); oil on canvas; Palace of Versailles; Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Herakles, the prototypical Greek

  • How can a figure such as Herakles be a source not only of salvation but also of trouble and even horror for the community?
  • How did narratives about Herakles, his labors, and his other deeds multiply during ancient times?
  • What does a reconstruction of Mycenaean myths about Herakles bring to our understanding of this all-in-one hero?

A community discussion based on the Herakles of Euripides and touching on Indo-European models of the hero as seen in Herakles, Achilles, and Odysseus

Video of approximately 6 minutes.

Two versions of Herakles as founder of the Olympic games

Essay of approximately 1,300 words.

The painting shows Herakles wearing on his head an olive garland symbolic of athletic victories to be won at the festival of the Olympics.
Thinking comparatively about Greek mythology XVIII, a post-Mycenaean view of Hēraklēs as founder of the Olympics

"Extra credit" video viewing:

Watch a presentation on and a discussion of Herakles as a figure of the Mycenaean era, based partly on depictions of Herakles in art and architecture; video of approximately 60 minutes.