Context of the Twelve LaborsEdit
Driven mad by Hera, Hercules slew his six sons and wife. After recovering his sanity, Hercules deeply regretted his actions; he was purified by King Thespius, then traveled to Delphi to inquire how he could atone for his actions. There the oracle Pythoness advised him to reside at Tyrins and serve King Eurystheus for twelve years, performing whatever labour might beset him; in return, he would be rewarded with immortality. Hercules despaired at this, loathing to serve a man whom he knew to be far inferior to himself, yet fearing to oppose his father Zeus. Eventually he placed himself at Eurystheus's disposal.
Eurystheus ordered Hercules to perform ten labours. Hercules accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus refused to recognize two: the cleansing of the Augeas, because Hercules was going to accept pay for the labour; and the killing of the Lernaean Hydra, as Hercules' nephew and charioteer Iolaus had helped him. Eurystheus set two more tasks (fetching the Golden Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus), which Hercules performed successfully, bringing the total number of tasks to twelve.
As they survive, the labours of Hercules are not told in any single place, but must be reassembled from many sources. Ruck and Staples assert that there is no one way to interpret the labours, but that six were located in the Peloponnese, culminating with the rededication of Olympia. Six others took the hero farther afield, to places that were, per Ruck, "all previously strongholds of Hera or the 'Goddess' and were Entrances to the Netherworld." In each case, the pattern was the same: Hercules was sent to kill or subdue, or to fetch back for Hera's representative Eurystheus a magical animal or plant.
In his labours, Hercules was sometimes accompanied by a male companion (an eromenos), according toLicymnius and others, such as Iolaus, his nephew. Although he was supposed to perform only ten labours, this assistance led to two labours being disqualified: Eurystheus didn't count the Hydra, because Iolaus helped him, and he was not credited for his work at the Augean stables because he received payment for his services, or because the rivers did the work. Several of the labours involved the offspring (by various accounts) ofTyphon and his mate Echidna, all overcome by Hercules.
- 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 the Amazons.
- Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
- Steal the apples of the Hesperides (He had the help of Atlas to pick them after Hercules had slain Ladon).
- Capture and bring back Cerberus.
Hercules is probably a mash of different people. There are so many different tales told of Hercules that to untie the myth to go back to a common point of truth it would be hard to find out where Hercules came from. At the moment, Hercules can be traced back to three different people.
- Samson the Israelite Judge of the Tribe of Dan.
- Gilgamesh (Nimrod) of Babylon, and the founder of Nineveh.
- A commander of the Garrison at Tiryns.
- Hercules and Jesus Christ
Samson and Hercules should be a no-brainer in the connection made between them. Hercules had prodigious strength, and so did Samson. Both did labors, both slew a lion, there are versions of the Nemean Lion myth that is connected to bees -- Samson's slaying of a lion is connected to bees (probably the best of man's pets).
Samson had slain a number of Philistines, and Hercules' career wasn't devoid of blood either. Samson had toppled a building, but Hercules had not done this. The connection between Samson and Hercules was their prodigious strength and the fact that Samson slew a lion. The problem is, was there actually a Samson who was a judge in Israel during the Late Bronze Age?
In August 2012, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University announced the discovery of a circular stone seal, approximately 15 millimetres in diameter, and apparently depicting a lion and a man. The seal was found on the floor of a house at Beth Shemesh and is dated to the 12th century BCE. Professor Shlomo Bunimovitz, a co-director of the dig, was reported as saying that the artifact helps "anchor the story [of Samson] in an archaeological setting." According to Haaretz, "excavation directors Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University say they do not suggest that the human figure on the seal is the biblical Samson. Rather, the geographical proximity to the area where Samson lived, and the time period of the seal, show that a story was being told at the time of a hero who fought a lion, and that the story eventually found its way into the biblical text and onto the seal."
Gilgamesh is actually based on a real person, the person of Nimrod. The similarities between Hercules and Nimrod follows:
- Hercules was the son of Zeus and Alceme. Nimrod -- was the son of Cush and his sister/mother/wife Semiramis. (That's complicated).
- Nimrod was the strongest man in the world. Carrying genius, he managed to hunt the people of the Lord and set up Heathenism. Hercules did none of these things, except for being the strongest man in the world.
- Nimrod founded Ninevah. Hercules founded no cities.
- Nimrod built the tower of babel. Hercules did nothing of the sort.
- Nimrod founded Astrology, which is a "science" where the stars and the planets affected one's birth. Hercules did not found such a "science."
- Semiramis and her co-conspirators slew Nimrod. Killing her brother, son, and husband all at one go, but she was pregnant when she did it. She gave birth to their son sometime after and told everyone that their ruler, Nimrod, was born as their son -- Tamuz. So Nimrod became the son god. At the end of his life, Hercules became deified.
So, there isn't a lot of direct connection between Hercules and Nimrod (Gilgamesh). But there seems to be a connection in Art. According to the Mythographers, Hercules has a tussle with Nereus, the old man of the sea. The mythographers in this case was the pottery artists of Athens. Using Hercules as their man, the mythographers chronicled the story how Zeus-religion conquered the Ways of Noah.
Hercules and NimrodEdit
Zeus religion is a religion centered on Man and Man's capabilities. This is why Zeus is a philandering husband and Hera is a jealous wife. Nereus represents the old religion -- the religion that worships the Father of our souls. In the story, Hercules wrestles with Nereus and finally beats the old man of the sea by taking his sceptre.
Nimrod does this to his great-grandfather (remember, Nimrod is the son of Cush). He managed to wrestle with Noah and replace Noah's religion with Heathenism. This was his one world religion, one where man follows after Nimrod's precepts, rather than the precepts of the Creator.