Herakles Between Gods and Heroes

Jan N. Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

in The Gods of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637980
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670758 | DOI:
Herakles Between Gods and Heroes

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This chapter offers an overview of the criteria by which Herakles has been categorised, both in antiquity and in modern scholarship, on the hero-to-god scale. Most recently the debate has focused particularly on cult practice, but other elements which need to be taken into account include the geographical extent of Herakles’ popularity, intimations of immortality in his heroic myth and, most crucially, the apotheosis story. It is this last which ultimately differentiates Herakles from all other ‘ambiguous’ hero-gods and articulates his exceptionally liminal status.

Keywords: Herakles; Heroes; Apotheosis; Immortality

Chapter.  6290 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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