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The Gods of Ancient GreeceIdentities and Transformations$
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Jan Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748637980

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637980.001.0001

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Herakles Between Gods and Heroes

Herakles Between Gods and Heroes

(p.228) 12 Herakles Between Gods and Heroes
The Gods of Ancient Greece

Jan N. Bremmer

Andrew Erskine

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter offers an overview of the criteria by which Herakles has been categorised, both in antiquity and in modern scholarship, on the hero-to-god scale. Most recently the debate has focused particularly on cult practice, but other elements which need to be taken into account include the geographical extent of Herakles’ popularity, intimations of immortality in his heroic myth and, most crucially, the apotheosis story. It is this last which ultimately differentiates Herakles from all other ‘ambiguous’ hero-gods and articulates his exceptionally liminal status.

Keywords:   Herakles, Heroes, Apotheosis, Immortality

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