Herculêes to Hermês Trismegistus

Herculêes shot Nessus for offering insult to his wife Di -i-a-ni-ra, and the dying centaur told Diianira that if she dipped in his blood her husband’s shirt, she would secure his love for ever. Herculêes, being about to offer sacrifice, sent Lichas for the shirt; but no sooner was it warmed by the heat of his body than it caused such excruciating agony that the hero went mad, and, seizing Lichas, he flung him into the sea.

(Herculêes Raving (Furens) is the subject of a Greek tragedy by Euripidêes, and of a Latin one by Seneca.)

As when Alcidêes…felt the envenomed robe, and tore, Thro’pain, up by the roots Thessalian pines, And Lichas from the top of Œta [a mount] threw Into the Euboic Sea [the Archipelago].
   —Milton: Paradise Lost, ii.542, etc.(1665).

(Diodorus says there were three Herculêses; Cicero recognizes six (three of which were Greeks, one Egyptian, one Cretan, and one Indian); Varro says there were forty-three.)

Herculês’s Choice. When Herculês was a young man, he was accosted by two women, Pleasure and Virtue, and asked to choose which he would follow. Pleasure promised him all carnal delights, but Virtue promised him immortality. Herculês gave his hand to the latter, and hence led a life of great toil, but was ultimately received amongst the immortals.—Xenophon.

(Mrs. Barbauld has borrowed this allegory, but instead of Herculês has substituted Melissa, “a young girl,” who is accosted by Dissipation and House-wifery. While somewhat in doubt which to follow, Dissipation’s mask falls off, and immediately Melissa beholds such a “wan and ghastly countenance,” that she turns away in horror, and gives her hand to the more sober of the two ladies.—Evenings at Home, xix., 1795)

(The Judgment of Herculês is the title of a moral poem by Shenstone, 1741.)

Herculês’s Horse, Arion, given him by Adrastos. It had the gift of human speech, and its feet on the right side were those of a man.

Herculês’s Pillars, Calpê and Abyla, one at Gibraltar and the other at Ceuta (ku-tah). They were torn asunder by Alcidês on his route to Gadês (Cadiz).

Herculês’s Ports: (1) “Herculis Corsani Portus” (now called Porto-Ercolo, in Etruria); (2)“Herculis Liburni Portus” (now called Livorno, i.e. Leghorn); (3) “Herculis Monœci Portus” (now called Monaco, near Nice).

The Attic Herculês, Theseus, who went about, like Herculês, destroying robbers, and performing most wonderful exploits.

The Cretan Herculês All t he three Idæan Dactyls were so called: viz. Celmis (“the smelter”), Damnameneus (“the hammer”), and Acmon (“the anvil”).

The Egyptian Herculês Seso stris (fl. B.C. 1500). Another was Som or Chon, called by Pausanias, Maceeris son of Amon.

The English Herculês, Guy earl of Warwick (890–958).

Warwick…thou English Herculês.
   —Drayton: Polyolbion, xiii. (1613).

The Farnesê Herculês, a statue, the work of Glykon, copied from one by Lysippos. Called Farnsê from its being placed in the Farnesê palace of Rome, where were at one time collected also the “Tori di Farnesê,” the “Flora di Farnesê,” and the “Gladiatorê di Farnesê.” The “Herculês” and “Toro” are now at Naples. The “Farnesê Herculês” represents the hero exhausted by toil, leaning on his club; and in his left hand, which rests on his back, he holds one of the apples of the Hesperîdês.

A copy of this famous statue stands in the Tuilleries gardens of Paris. An excellent description of the statue is given by Thomson, in his Liberty, iv.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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