How tall was Hercules? The Mystery Hidden in the Relief of the 1st Century AD and the Story of the 13th Deed of Hercules

In this relief we see Hercules and an unknown woman (it is assumed that it could be Omphale or Nymph or one of the girls from the 13th feat of the demigod). The subject dates from the mid to late 1st century AD. It must be said that the subject of the bas-relief is very rare and very few, if any, similar compositions have survived to our time. Not only did churchmen not like the subject, but also such artifacts show the real height of the ancient “demigods”.

To calculate the approximate height of Hercules and the Woman, I divided the composition into parts and aligned it vertically. Then I turned to the official information about the average height of women in Ancient Greece (it was compiled on the basis of archaeological and historical sources). The height of adult men was 1.67-1.82 m, and women 1.50-1.57 m.

Thus, we will assume that the height of the woman in this relief is 150 cm. Then I put a ruler and aligned the figure of standing woman at the level of 15 cm (this is our 1 meter 50 cm), it turns out that the height of Heracles reached at least 2 meters 22 cm. It is clear that there is a statistical error, taking into account the pose on the relief, so we can safely assume that the height of Heracles could reach from 2 meters 22 cm to 2 meters 30 cm.

He was not a giant, but tall enough not only for his time (the average height of ancient Greek men was 1 m 67 cm), but also for ours (the average height today is 1 m 70 cm). Add to this his athletic build and the “power of a demigod”, we get a real super-hero, who was quite capable of doing all those heroic deeds that are written about in the ancient Greek “myths”.

I wonder what kind of “feat” is going on in this relief. It is quite possible that the woman on it is Omphale, who was the mistress (or maybe wife) of Hercules or this girl is one of the daughters of Thesepius, the king of the city of Thesepius in Boeotia.

Hercules was still 18 years old, but the fame of the hero had already spread throughout Hellas. When he arrived in Thesepia to save the inhabitants from the Cephera lion, the king of the cityTespius invited him to his palace to rest and prepare for the hunt. But his host did not let him rest: Thesepius had 50 virgin daughters, and he was determined to get grandchildren from Hercules, but had no intention of making Hercules his son-in-law.

So he sent his daughters to Hercules one after another to bring wine, or light a fire, or make a bed, and Hercules successively deprived them of their virginity. In doing so, the inattentive hero thought the king had one daughter, but with a bad memory. All the daughters of Thespius were twins. All in all, all the daughters had been in Hercules’ arms, and the goal of Thesepius was achieved.

Only one daughter refused to enter into a relationship with Hercules, thus upsetting her royal father. Heracles, when he later found out what had happened, was very amused. Well, that’s understandable, why should he grieve. The name of the king’s obstinate daughter has not survived, and so she is commonly referred to by her father’s name, Thesebia. She later became a priestess in the temple dedicated to Hercules and remained a virgin.

Why did she go to the temple of the one she refused to be with, maybe she regretted her stubbornness. She never married, simply because no one would even think of messing with the son of Zeus. He laughed at the situation, but he respected this shrew and did not give offence and in fact did not give it to anyone. Maybe as a punishment for her refusal to obey her father’s will and to please a hero. They say the constellation Virgo was named after her.

She was the only one who resisted, unlike her 49 sisters whom Hercules robbed of their innocence in one night. This was the “thirteenth feat of Hercules. And yes, Hercules killed the lion in the morning, of course. He was a tireless demigod.

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