A Mycenaean background for Hēraklēs as a model for athletes
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CitationNagy, Gregory. 2019.07.19. "A Mycenaean background for Hēraklēs as a model for athletes." Classical Inquiries. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:Classical_Inquiries.
AbstractAs I argued in the previous posting, Classical Inquiries 2019.07.12, the name of Olympia as a setting for the myth about the founding of the Olympics by Hēraklēs is linked with the name of Mount Olympus as the setting for the myth about the immortalization of this hero after death. In the present posting here, 2019.07.19, I take the argument further: the various different versions of the myth about the founding of the Olympics by this same hero reveal a Mycenaean background for the figuring of Hēraklēs himself as a model for athletes competing at the Olympics in particular and at any other athletic festival in general. I say “a Mycenaean background” and not “Mycenaean origins” for reasons I will explain in what follows. These reasons, as we will see, have to do with methodologies I generally use in my various efforts to reconstruct the past. As for the actual argument I am about to offer, the image I show at the very start of this posting is directly relevant. What we see here is the picturing, by a Renaiassance artist, of a celebrated ancient myth that told about a primordial athletic event: it was a wrestling match between Hēraklēs and a homicidal ogre named Antaios, who was figured as an enemy of the civilized world.
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