- A. Schachter
ExtractThe greatest of Greek heroes. His name is that of a mortal (compare Diocles), and has been interpreted as ‘Glorious through *Hera’ (Burkert 210, Chantraine 416, Kretschmer 121–9 (see bibliog. below)). In this case, the bearer is taken as being—or so his parents would hope—within the protection of the goddess. This is at odds with the predominant tradition (see below), wherein Heracles was harassed rather than protected by the goddess: perhaps the hostility was against worshippers of Heracles who rejected allegiance to the worshippers of Hera on whom the hero depended. This could have happened when *Argos(1) had established control over the *Heraion and *Tiryns (possibly reflected in an apparent falling-off of settlement at Tiryns late in the 9th cent. bce: Foley 40–2). Some of the inhabitants of Tiryns might have emigrated to *Thebes(1), taking their hero with him. Traditionally Heracles' mother and her husband (*Alcmene and *Amphitryon) were obliged to move from Tiryns to Thebes, where Heracles was conceived and born (LIMC 1/1.
- Greek Myth and Religion