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date: 29 January 2023



  • Herbert Jennings Rose
  •  and John Scheid


Hercules, from Hercles, Italic pronunciation of the name *Heracles. His is perhaps the earliest foreign cult to be received in Rome (perhaps from *Tibur), the Ara Maxima (Coarelli, Il Foro boario 60 ff. (see bibliog. below)), which was his most ancient place of worship, being within the *pomerium of the *Palatine settlement. It was probably desired to make the *forum Boarium, in which it stood, a market-place under the protection of a god better known than the local deities. The theory of some ancients (as Propertius 4. 9. 71 ff.) that he is identical with *Semo Sancus Dius Fidius, although revived in modern times by Preller (Preller–Jordan, Römische Mythologie3 (1881–3) 2. 272 ff.) is untenable, and seems ultimately to rest on nothing better than the interpretation of Dius Fidius as Iovis filius. His cult had become very popular with merchants, no doubt because of his supposed ability to avert evil of all kinds (see heracles) and the long journeys involved in his Labours and other exploits.


  • Roman Myth and Religion

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