Κυριακή, 3 Ιουνίου 2018

Hercules in pre-Columbian America : The prehistoric voyage of the greatest Greek hero in the American continent

Heracles (Glory/Pride of Hēra, "Hera"), born Alcaeus or Alcides (power man) was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson and half-brother (both sired by the god Zeus) of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae, and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well. Many popular stories were told of his life, the most famous being The Twelve Labours of Heracles; Alexandrian poets of the Hellenistic age drew his mythology into a high poetic and tragic atmosphere. Heracles was the greatest of Hellenic chthonic heroes, but unlike other Greek heroes, no tomb was identified as his. Heracles was both hero and god, as Pindar says heroes theos; at the same festival sacrifice was made to him, first as a hero, with a chthonic libation, and then as a god, upon an altar: thus he embodies the closest Greek approach to a "demi-god". The ancient Greeks celebrated the festival of the Heracleia, which commemorated the death of Heracles, on the second day of the month of Metageitnion (which would fall in late July or early August). What is believed to be an Egyptian Temple of Heracles in the Bahariya Oasis dates to 21 BCE. A reassessment of Ptolemy's descriptions of the island of Malta attempted to link the site at Ras ir-Raħeb with a temple to Heracles, but the arguments are not conclusive. Several ancient cities were named Heracleain his honor. Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him. Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders. Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the lion skinand the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children. By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have "made the world safe for mankind" and to be its benefactor. Heracles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends (such as wrestling with Thanatos Death on behalf of Prince Admetus, who had regaled Heracles with his hospitality, or restoring his friend Tyndareus to the throne of Sparta after he was overthrown) and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him, as Augeas, Neleus and Laomedon all found out to their cost. Hesiod's Theogony and Aeschylus' Prometheus Unbound both tell that Heracles shot and killed the eagle that tortured Prometheus (which was his punishment by Zeus for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals). Heracles freed the Titan from his chains and his torments. Prometheus then made predictions regarding further deeds of Heracles. All of Heracles' marriages and almost all of his affairs resulted in births of a number of sons and at least four daughters. One of the most prominent is Hyllus, the son of Heracles and Deianeira or Melite. The term Heracleidae, although it could refer to all of Heracles' children and further descendants, is most commonly used to indicate the descendants of Hyllus, in the context of their lasting struggle for return to Peloponnesus, out of where Hyllus and his brothers the children of Heracles by Deianeira were thought to have been expelled by Eurystheus. The gateway to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, where the southernmost tip of Spain and the northernmost of Morocco face each other is, classically speaking, referred to as the Pillars of Hercules/Heracles, owing to the story that he set up two massive spires of stone to stabilise the area and ensure the safety of ships sailing between the two landmasses.
Oceanus (Ocean), also known as Ogenus or Ogen was a divine figure in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world. According to Homer, Oceanus was the ocean-stream at the margin of the habitable world (oikouménē), the father of everything, limiting it from the underworld and flowing around the Elysium. Hence Odysseus has to traverse it in order to arrive in the realm of the dead. In the Iliad, Hera mentions her intended journey to her foster parents, namely "Oceanus, from whom they all are sprung". In Greek mythology, this ocean-stream was personified as a Titan, the eldest son of Uranus and Gaia. Oceanus' consort is his sister Tethys, and from their union came the ocean nymphs, also referred to as the three-thousand Oceanids, and all the rivers of the world, fountains, and lakes. Oceanus appears as a representative of the archaic world that Heracles constantly threatened and bested. As such, the Suda identifies Oceanus and Tethys as the parents of the two Kerkopes, whom Heracles also bested. Heracles forced Helios to lend him his golden bowl, in order to cross the wide expanse of the Ocean on his trip to the Hesperides. When Oceanus tossed the bowl about, Heracles threatened him and stilled his waves. The journey of Heracles in the sun-bowl upon Oceanus became a favored theme among painters of Attic pottery. As geography became more accurate, Oceanus came to represent the stranger, more unknown waters of the Atlantic Ocean (also called the "Ocean Sea"), while the newcomer of a later generation, Poseidon, ruled over the Mediterranean Sea.
ERYTHEIA the "Red Isle" was an island located in the far western stream of the earth-encircling river Okeanos (Oceanus) which was bathed red by the light of the setting-sun. It was the home of the three-bodied giant Geryon and his fabulous herd of red-hided cattle. Herakles was sent to fetch these as one of his twelve labours and sailed to the island in the cauldron-boat of the sun-god Helios. Menoites (Menoetes), who herded the cattle of Haides on the island, warned Geryon of the hero's approach. Erytheia was one of several mythical realms located in the far west. Its neighbours included Hesperia, garden of the Hesperides, Sarpedon, isle of the Gorgones, and Leuke the White, home of the blessed dead. Further west on the far shore of the river Okeanos lay the gloomy netherworld realm of Haides.
In Greek mythology, Geryon son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe, the grandson of Medusa and the nephew of Pegasus, was a fearsome giant who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides in the far west of the Mediterranean. A more literal-minded later generation of Greeks associated the region with Tartessos in southern Iberia. Geryon was often described as a monster with human faces. According to Hesiod Geryon had one body and three heads, whereas the tradition followed by Aeschylus gave him three bodies. A lost description by Stesichoros said that he has six hands and six feet and is winged; there are some mid-sixth-century Chalcidian vases portraying Geryon as winged. Some accounts state that he had six legs as well while others state that the three bodies were joined to one pair of legs. Apart from these bizarre features, his appearance was that of a warrior. He owned a two-headed hound named Orthrus, which was the brother of Cerberus, and a herd of magnificent red cattle that were guarded by Orthrus, and a herder Eurytion, son of Erytheia. In the fullest account in the Bibliotheke of Pseudo-Apollodorus, Heracles was required to travel to Erytheia, in order to obtain the Cattle of Geryon (Γηρυόνου βόες) as his tenth labour. On the way there, he crossed the Libyan desert and became so frustrated at the heat that he shot an arrow at Helios, the Sun. Helios "in admiration of his courage" gave Heracles the golden chariot he used to sail across the sea from west to east each night. Heracles used it to reach Erytheia, a favorite motif of the vase-painters. Such a magical conveyance undercuts any literal geography for Erytheia, the "red island" of the sunset.
To accomplish his tenth labor, Hercules had to journey to the end of the world. Eurystheus ordered the hero to bring him the cattle of the monster Geryon. Geryon was the son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe. Chrysaor had sprung from the body of the Gorgon Medusa after Perseus beheaded her, and Callirrhoe was the daughter of two Titans, Oceanus and Tethys. With such distinguished lineage, it is no surprise that Geryon himself was quite unique. It seems that Geryon had three heads and three sets of legs all joined at the waist. Geryon lived on an island called Erythia, which was near the boundary of Europe and Libya. On this island, Geryon kept a herd of red cattle guarded by Cerberus's brother, Orthus, a two-headed hound, and the herdsman Eurytion. Hercules set off on for Erythia, encountering and promptly killing many wild beasts along the way, and he came to the place where Libya met Europe. Here, Apollodorus tells us, Hercules built two massive mountains, one in Europe and one in Libya, to commemorate his extensive journey. Other accounts say that Hercules split one mountain into two. Either way, these mountains became known as the Gates or Pillars of Hercules. The strait Hercules made when he broke the mountain apart is now called the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco, the gateway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Sailing in a goblet which the Sun gave him in admiration, Hercules reached the island of Erythia. Not long after he arrived, Orthus, the two-headed dog, attacked Hercules, so Hercules bashed him with his club. Eurytion followed, with the same result. Another herdsman in the area reported these events to Geryon. Just as Hercules was escaping with the cattle, Geryon attacked him. Hercules fought with him and shot him dead with his arrows. The stealing of the cattle was not such a difficult task, compared to the trouble Hercules had bringing the herd back to Greece. In Liguria, two sons of Poseidon, the god of the sea, tried to steal the cattle, so he killed them. At Rhegium, a bull got loose and jumped into the sea. The bull swam to Sicily and then made its way to the neighboring country. The native word for bull was "italus," and so the country came to be named after the bull, and was called Italy. The escaped bull was found by a ruler named Eryx, another of Poseidon's sons, and Eryx put this bull into his own herd. Meanwhile, Hercules was searching for the runaway animal. He temporarily entrusted the rest of the herd to the god Hephaestus, and went after the bull. He found it in Eryx's herd, but the king would return it only if the hero could beat him in a wrestling contest. Never one to shy away from competition, Hercules beat Eryx three times in wrestling, killed the king, took back the bull, and returned it to the herd. Hercules made it to the edge of the Ionian Sea, with the end of his journey finally in sight. Hera, however, was not about to let the hero accomplish this labor. She sent a gadfly to attack the cattle, and the herd scattered far and wide. Now, Hercules had to run around Thrace gathering the escaped cows. Finally, he regrouped the herd and, blaming his troubles on the river Strymon in Thrace, he filled the river with rocks, making it unnavigable. Then, he brought the cattle of Geryon to Eurystheus, who sacrificed the herd to Hera. The ancients don't tell us how long either Hercules or Europe took to recover from this eventful jaunt.
It may sound unbelievable but a Greek-Canadian scientist is stating that the Ancient Greeks may have reached America years before the Spanish Seafarer Columbus did. Researcher of Aegean Scripts, Dr. Minas Tsikritsis, in the text by Plutarch “On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon,” in paragraphs 941A-942, claims that he has identified and demonstrated through computer programs the restoration of a forgotten historical reality, which had until now eluded many researchers. In the study, he indicates that the prehistoric Greeks knew that “west of the three islands and northwest of Britain” there was a “great” continent. Two years ago, another academia, Professor I. Mariolakos, identified the great continent, surrounding the great Ocean, as today’s North America. Dr. Tsikritsis states that, “even before the time of Christopher Columbus, there was a communication which began during the Minoan era and continued until the Hellenistic times. The purpose of these travels during the Bronze Age was related to trade and the transportation of pure copper from Lake Superior of Canada.” According to his findings it seems that after the first Minoan merchants, the Mycenaeans continued the journey, and, as reported by Plutarch, they sent Hercules to revitalize the presence of the Greek element, which had been diminished by the continuous miscegenation with the locals. Later, during the Iron Age, the interest in the region declined and until the Hellenistic time, it remained only as a conventional ceremonial tradition. So every thirty years some ships were sent to the areas that followed the worship of Cronus in order to renew the priest personnel.
The first researcher, who questioned the prevailing theory that Ulysses wandered the Mediterranean Sea for years before the gods allowed him to set foot once again on his beloved Ithaca, was an American historian from Chicago, Henriette Mertz. In 1964, Mertz suggested with conviction in her book The Wine Dark Sea: Homer’s Heroic Epic of the North Atlantic that Ulysses, in many of the adventures described in Homer’s epic The Odyssey went outside the Mediterranean. Based on her research and explorations in North America, Mertz proposed that Ulysses had reached the shores of North America with the help of the sea currents. The study of Siegfried Petrides in 1994, Odyssey – a Naval Epic of the Greeks in America, came to strengthen Mertz’s findings and proposals. According to Petrides, the Greeks have a naval history that starts from at least 7250 B.C. as proved by the findings in Frachthi cave in Argolida. “… The uniqueness of the Greek geographical area, namely its location in the relatively small Aegean Sea with its hundreds of islands, allowed the prehistoric Greek inhabitants to develop the technology of sea communications very early. Over the years and with the accumulated experience of sea voyages, sailors from the Aegean became more brave and started sailing off to the North and the Black Sea, to the South in Egypt and Phoenicia, and to the West to Italy and the Iberian Peninsula. “They discovered that the sea they had been sailing was everywhere surrounded by land and had only one exit. They did not hesitate to leave the familiar waters and travel to the North in order to get precious metals, and they did the same westwards as well” he wrote. Petrides’ said his long experience as a sailor and his study findings allowed him to confirm and correct wherever necessary the conclusion of Mertz providing extra details on the wind direction, sea routes, description of the islands etc. He suggests in his book, unlike Mertz, that the ancient Greek sailors did not rely on mere chance to have reached the American shores but owned fast and flexible vessels that could easily navigate through the Atlantic. They also knew perfectly well how to take advantage of both the sails and the rows, which enabled them to cover long distances.
Viracocha is the great creator deity in the pre-Inca and Inca mythology in the Andes region of South America. Full name and some spelling alternatives are Wiracocha, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra, and Con-Tici. Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon and seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea. Spanish chroniclers from the 16th century claimed that when the conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro first encountered the Incas they were greeted as gods, "Viracochas", because their lighter skin resembled their god Viracocha. This story was first reported by Pedro Cieza de León (1553) and later by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa. Similar accounts by Spanish chroniclers (e.g. Juan de Betanzos) describe Viracocha as a "white god", often with a beard. Similarly to the Incan god Viracocha, the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and several other deities from Central and South American pantheons, like the Muisca god Bochica are described in legends as being bearded. The beard, once believed to be a mark of a prehistoric European influence and quickly fueled and embellished by spirits of the colonial era, had its single significance in the continentally insular culture of Mesoamerica. While descriptions of Viracocha's physical appearance are open to interpretation, it should be noted that men with beards were frequently depicted by the Peruvian Moche culture in its famous pottery, long before the arrival of the Spanish. Modern advocates of fringe theories however such as a pre-Columbian European migration to Peru continue to cite these bearded ceramics and Viracocha's beard as being evidence for an early presence of non-Amerindians in Peru.Although most Indians do not have heavy beards, there are groups who do, such as the Aché people of Paraguay, who also have light skin but who show no evidence of admixture with Europeans and Africans. When the Southern Paiute were first contacted by Europeans in 1776, the report by fathers Silvestre Vélez de Escalanteand Francisco Atanasio Domínguez noted that "Some of the men had thick beards and were thought to look more in appearance like Spanish men than native Americans".
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heracles

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