Cultures & Traditions
Herakles (Greek demi-god and hero)
To the Greeks, a hero was a man who fought, lived, and died well. While heroes were remembered after death, only the greatest mythic hero, Herakles (in Latin, Hercules), actually joined the immortal gods after his death. Herakles was remembered for his twelve great Labors, in which he performed impossible feats, like capturing Cerberus, the triple-headed dog that guarded the afterworld, and fighting the Nemean lion hand to hand. One of his last tasks was to steal the golden apples of the Hesperides from the giant Atlas. The epic achievements of Herakles are depicted on many Greek vases, including the Attic black-figure eye cup kylix found in the DMA's collection (1972.5).
DMA Gallery text, Cecil and Ida Green Galleries.