Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of God Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures. The Romans adapted the Greek hero's iconography and myths for their literature and art under the name Hercules. In later Western art and literature and in popular culture, Hercules is more commonly used than Heracles as the name of the hero. Hercules was a multifaceted figure with contradictory characteristics, which enabled later artists and writers to pick and choose how to represent him.
Hercules is known for his many adventures, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world. One cycle of these adventures becamecanonical as the "Twelve Labours," but the list has variations. One traditional order of the labours is found in the Bibliotheca as follows:
- Slay the Nemean Lion.
- Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
- Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
- Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
- Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
- Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
- Capture the Cretan Bull.
- Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
- Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of theAmazons.
- Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
- Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
- Capture and bring back Cerberus.
Thats why you can see on this sculpture, and in a wide variety of other pieces despicting Hercules, that he has the skin of a Lion being worn or besides him, which caracterizes him. He would own this skin after killing Nemean on hes first task. We may suggest that this sculpture represents the moment when this Hero is preparing to battle the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra with a club, the second task.
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Scanned : Photogrammetry (Processed using Agisoft PhotoScan)