Who was the father of Hercules

Hercules (Heracles)

Protector who can take up the club at any time

Hercules is the Latin name for the Greek demigod Heracles. According to legend, Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. His name is related to the Zeus wife Hera, who wanted to destroy the son of Alcmene. But even as a newborn, Heracles had so much strength that he could strangle the snakes sent by Hera.

Heracles became famous for his cunning and strength, which he was able to demonstrate in completing his twelve tasks. He overcame monsters and kept things tidy (cleaning the Augean stable). But he was not only a muscle man, but also a virtuous hero. Because at the crossroads he decided against the easy and for the difficult path of virtue. It was precisely this seemingly ideal combination of almost insurmountable strength and virtuous disposition that made the demigod Heracles become the figure as worldly rulers liked to see themselves embodied. Therefore, Heracles and his deeds have been depicted countless times in vases, in reliefs and sculptures since ancient Greece.

The most famous version, which also provided the template for Kassel, comes from the Greek sculptor Lysipp. He is said to have built his almost three meter tall colossal figure around 320 BC. Have created. You can see a hero bursting with strength, who is resting after his work is done. He leans on his club, over which he has hung the skin of the lion he has defeated. His left arm hangs casually over the club. He has stretched his right hand behind his back. In it lie the three golden apples, which were a wedding present to Zeus and Hera and which Heracles brought back from the Hesperides. The Greek original of this figure has not survived. What has survived is the Roman copy, which is called Hercules Farnese after its place of installation in Rome. Two versions of this Farnese Hercules were found by chance in the Caracalla Baths in 1546 when they wanted to obtain building materials for St. Peter's Basilica during demolition work. Pope Paul III had the two colossal figures set up in the courtyard loggia of the Palazzo Farnese, where they became attractions for visitors.

Landgrave Karl, who traveled to Italy in 1699/1700 to collect ideas for the planned mountain park, also looked at Hercules Farnese on the first day of his visit to Rome and was certainly overwhelmed. The decision to crown the Bergpark and the Oktogonschloss at the top with a three times magnified Hercules was not made until 13 years later.

A landgrave who has such a figure tower above an entire landscape naturally has a clear purpose. Without putting himself in the place of the powerful demigod, he sees himself symbolically embodied in the figure as a victorious and virtuous hero. The resting Hercules looks slightly melancholy with his head tilted downwards, in no way triumphant. You can see him as a pausing protector, but also as a warning and threat, because he can pick up the club again at any time.

The people of Kassel, who did not know the ancient world of legends, saw the powerful figure as a kind of biblical Christopherus, which is why Hercules was often called Christoph. After the installation of the 9.20 meter high figure made of copper, the entire program of figures in the water features and grottoes below the octagon was related to Hercules. The octagon is 63 meters high without a figure. The 1.55 meter high head of Hercules reaches the height of 596 meters above sea level.