The New Drachma on the Block
Archaeologies of the Hellenic Past
Herakles was the consummate hero. Temples across Greece and South Italy were dedicated to him, the son of Zeus, and Romans, who knew him as Hercules, celebrated him as a role model. With brute force, determination, and just enough cleverness, Herakles completed his famous Twelve Labors to become immortal. Herakles is readily identifiable by his knobby club and lion's skin. The latter refers to his First Labor, in which he killed a magical beast who was ravaging the town of Nemea. The lion's invincible hide made him immune to weapons, so Herakles strangled him and took his pelt. When Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 BC) became king, he issued coins that were purposely similar to popular coins picturing Herakles. Claiming that the god was his ancestor, Alexander portrayed himself as the hero wearing the lion's skin as a helmet.
Note: Attic Hellenic is an ancient dialect that Plato wrote his philosophical works. The above description is written below in Attic Hellenic
Ἡρακλῆς ἦν ὁ παντελὴς ἥρως. Ἱεροὶ διὰ τῆς Ἑλλάδος καὶ τῆς νότιας Ἰταλίας ἀφιεροῦντο αὐτῷ, τῷ υἱῷ Διός, καὶ οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι, οἵτινες αὐτὸν ὡς Ἡρακλῆν ᾔδεσαν, ἐμακάριζον αὐτὸν ὡς παράδειγμα. Μετὰ βίᾳ δυνάμεως, προθυμίας καὶ ἱκανῆς ἀποφροσύνης, Ἡρακλῆς ἐπετέλεσε τοὺς δώδεκα ἄθλους τοὺς περισσοτέρους φημίζομενους, ὥστε γενέσθαι ἀθάνατος. Ἡρακλῆν εὐκρινῶς γινώσκομεν διὰ τῆς κορυναῖας ῥάβδου καὶ τῆς λεοντῆς τρίχης. Ἡ ἐκ τούτου ἐξήγετο τοῦ πρώτου ἄθλου, ἐν ᾧ ἀπέκτεινε τὸ θηρίον τὸ μαγικόν, ὃ κατέσπασεν τὴν Νεμέαν πόλιν. Ἡ λεοντίνη τρίχα τοῦ ἀκραίου δέρματος αὐτοῦ ἀνυπέρβλητον αὐτὸν ἐποίει πρὸς ὅπλα, ὥστε αὐτὸν Ἡρακλῆν πνίγειν καὶ τὴν τρίχα λαβόντα λαμβάνειν. Ὅτε Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας (βασιλεύσας ἐνιαυτοὺς Τριακοσίους τριάκοντα ἕξ, 336–323 π.Χ.) ἐβασίλευσεν, ἐξέδωκε νομίσματα, ἅπερ προαιρετικῶς ἐμιμεῖτο τοῖς κοινοῖς νομίσμασι τὸν Ἡρακλῆν. Δηλοῖ δὲ ὡς προγεγονὼς ἦν ὁ θεὸς ἐναλλάσσων ἑαυτὸν ὡς ἥρως τὴν λεοντίνην τρίχα ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ ἔχων.
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