Thinking comparatively about Greek mythology VII, Greek mythological models for prototyping Hēraklēs
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CitationNagy, Gregory. 2019.09.06. "Thinking comparatively about Greek mythology VII, Greek mythological models for prototyping Hēraklēs." Classical Inquiries. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:Classical_Inquiries.
AbstractWhile analyzing the myths about the Labors and sub-Labors of Hēraklēs in essays TC I–VI, I have up to now focused on those heroic feats where our Strong Man has clearly been acting alone. Here in TC VII, I will analyze two myths where the feats of Hēraklēs seem to be different. In the first myth, as we will see, the hero is acting together with a large group, as their leader. In the second myth as well, the hero is figured as a leader—even if he seems at first to be acting quite alone. For analyzing both myths, I will apply in this essay an explanatory model that I will define as prototyping. And, for illustrating what I mean, I have chosen an image that I think is most relevant. We see here a picturing of the Strong Man as the leader of a large grouping of people. But the leader is in this case not Hēraklēs, the quintessential Strong Man of the ancient Greeks, but rather an Indo-European “cognate” Strong Man stemming from medieval Germanic traditions. That other leader is Starkaðr, and the old carved image that we see here pictures him in the heroic role of leading into battle the combined armed forces of Sweden, both army and navy.
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