Alkmene and Amphitryon (page 378 upper, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Lyk 38-39 – Lykophron, Alexandra

he the slayer of his children, the destroyer of my fatherland; who smote his second mother, invulnerable with grievous shaft upon the breast. Greek Text

Lyk 1327-28 – Lykophron, Alexandra

he went with the wild beast, the Initiate, who drew the milky breast of the hostile goddess Tropaea. Greek Text

Astr 2.43 – Hyginus, De Astronomia

MILKY WAY: There is a certain circular figure among the constellations, white in color, which some have called the Milky Way. Eratosthenes says that Juno, without realizing it, gave milk to the infant Mercury, but when she learned that he was the son of Maia, she thrust him away, and the whiteness of the flowing milk appears among the constellations. Others have said that Hercules was given to Juno to nurse when she slept. When she awoke, it happened as described above. Others, again, say that Hercules was so greedy that he couldn’t hold in his mouth all the milk he had sucked, and the Milky Way spilled over from his mouth. Latin Text

Pauss 9.25.2 – Pausania, Description of Greece

There is shown a place where according to the Thebans Hera was deceived by Zeus into giving the breast to Heracles when he was a baby. Greek Text

DS 4.9.6 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

After Alcmenê had brought forth the babe, fearful of Hera’s jealousy she exposed it at a place which to this time is called after him the Field of Heracles. Now at this very time Athena, approaching the spot in the company of Hera and being amazed at the natural vigour of the child, persuaded Hera to offer it the breast. But when the boy tugged upon her breast with greater violence than would be expected at his age, Hera was unable to endure the pain and cast the babe from her, whereupon Athena took it to its mother and urged her to rear it. Greek Text

London, British Museum F107: Lucanian red-figure lekythos by the Suckling Painter, with Hera nursing Herakles in center; Athena in aegis stands before Hera, and farther to the left are Aphrodite and Eros; to right of Hera are winged Iris and Alkmene


British Museum on line

G. Minervini, “Ercole poppante in vaso greco dipinto,” Memorie della Regale accademia ercolanese di archeologia (Napoli) 6 (1853) plate opposite p. 342

Digital LIMC

Florence, Museo Archeologico 72740: Etruscan bronze mirror with Hera (Uni) nursing Herakles (Hercle) in center; on the right, Zeus (Tinia) and on the left, Apollo (Aplu); in background, two goddesses; above, a silenos with drinking cup


E. Gerhard, Eduard, A. Klügmann, G. Körte, Etruskische Spiegel (Band 5, 1897), pl. 60

Digital LIMC

Pindar fr 291 SM – Pindarus 2, p. 147, ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1975.

At first he was named Alcides then Hercules… by Hera…, because she thought that from her power he had acquired fame and a reputation for virtue. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

ApB 2.4.12 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

The Pythian priestess then first called him Hercules, for hitherto he was called Alcides. Greek Text

ΣT Il 14.324 – Scholia T to Homer, Iliad – Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem 6, p. 87, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1888.

Greek Text

Σ Ol 6.115d – Scholia to Pindar, Olympian Odes – Scholia vetera in Pindari carmina 1, p. 179, ed. A.B Drachman. Leipzig 1903.

Greek Text

DS 4.10.1 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

After this Hera sent two serpents to destroy the babe, but the boy, instead of being terrified, gripped the neck of a serpent in each hand and strangled them both. Consequently the inhabitants of Argos, on learning of what had taken place, gave him the name Heracles because he had gained glory (kleos) by the aid of Hera, although he had formerly been called Alcaeus. Other children are given their names by their parents, this one alone gained his name by his valour. Greek Text

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Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, March 2023.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, December 2020

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