c. 30 BC–AD 20
Bronze with silver and copper inlays
Overall: 14.5 x 8 cm (5 11/16 x 3 1/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1987.2
While Hercules is holding the lion skin in this figure, often he is shown wearing it as a hooded cape.
Half-human, half-divine, not very bright, but very strong, this hero was the most popular of all mythological figures. His intellectual weakness made him a sympathetic figure while his persistence in undergoing great trials was inspirational. Roman artists often portrayed Hercules as middle-aged, as though greater maturity would increase his power andvirility. Hercules slew a monster-lion—the scourge of Nemea—by strangling it and beating it with his olive-wood club. He wears the beast’s pelt as a trophy, and this statuette’s right hand once held a club.
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