Heracles

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Heracles was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson (and half-brother) of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters.

Variants of name

History

In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.


Arrian[1] mentions that in Tyre there existed a temple of Heracles, Alexander the Great offered him the worship. The Phoenician god Melkarth (lord of the city), whom the Syrians called Baal (lord), was supposed to be identical with the Grecian Heracles, or Hercules, who was the mythical ancestor of the Macedonian kings. Curtius (iv. 7) tells us that Alexander affirmed he had been ordered by an oracle to sacrifice in Tyre to Heracles. Gesenius informs us that a Maltese inscription identifies the Tyrian Melkarth with Heracles.

Arrian[2] writes that the rock of Aornus, which Heracles was unable to capture was possessed by Alexander.

Ch 2.16 The Worship of Hercules in Tyre.— The Tyrians refuse to admit Alexander

Arrian[3] writes.... The reason of this demand was, that in Tyre there existed a temple of Heracles,[1] the most ancient of all those which are mentioned in history. It was not dedicated to the Argive Heracles, the son of Alcmena; for this Heracles was honoured in Tyre many generations before Cadmus set out from Phoenicia and occupied Thebes, and before Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, was born, from whom Dionysus, the son of Zeus, was born. This Dionysus would be third from Cadmus, being a contemporary of Labdacus, son of Polydorus, the son of Cadmus; and the Argive Heracles lived about the time of Oedipus, son of Laius.[2] The Egyptians also worshipped another Heracles, not the one which either the Tyrians or Greeks worship. But Herodotus says that the Egyptians considered Heracles to be one of the twelve gods,[3] just as the Athenians worshipped a different Dionysus, who was the son of Zeus and Core; and the mystic chant called Iacchus was sung to this Dionysus, not to the Theban. So also I think that the Heracles honoured in Tartessus[4] by the Iberians, where are certain pillars named after Heracles, is the Tyrian Heracles; for Tartessus was a colony of the Phœnicians, and the temple to Heracles there was built and the sacrifices offered after the usage of the Phoenicians. Hecataeus the historian[5] says Geryones, against whom the Argive Heracles was despatched by Eurystheus to drive his oxen away and bring them to Mycenae, had nothing to do with the land of the Iberians;[6] nor was Heracles despatched to any island called Erythia[7] outside the Great Sea; but that Geryones was king of the mainland (Epirus) around Ambracia[8] and the Amphilochians, that Heracles drove the oxen from this Epirus, and that this was deemed no mean task. I know that to the present time this part of the mainland is rich in pasture land and rears a very fine breed of oxen; and I do not think it beyond the bounds of probability that the fame of the oxen from Epirus, and the name of the king of Epirus, Geryones, had reached Eurystheus. But I do not think that Eurystheus would know the name of the king of the Iberians, who were the remotest nation in Europe, or whether a fine breed of oxen grazed in their land, unless some one, by introducing Hera into the account, as herself giving these commands to Heracles through Eurystheus, wished, by means of the fable, to disguise the incredibility of the tale.

To this Tyrian Heracles, Alexander said he wished to offer sacrifice. But when this message was brought to Tyre by the ambassadors, the people passed a decree to obey any other command of Alexander, but not to admit into the city any Persian or Macedonian; thinking that under the existing circumstances, this was the most specious answer, and that it would be the safest course for them to pursue in reference to the issue of the war, which was still uncertain.[9] When the answer from Tyre was brought to Alexander, he sent the ambassadors back in a rage. He then summoned a council of his Companions and the leaders of his army, together with the captains of infantry and cavalry, and spoke as follows:—


1. The Phoenician god Melkarth (lord of the city), whom the Syrians called Baal (lord), was supposed to be identical with the Grecian Heracles, or Hercules, who was the mythical ancestor of the Macedonian kings. Curtius (iv. 7) tells us that Alexander affirmed he had been ordered by an oracle to sacrifice in Tyre to Heracles. Gesenius informs us that a Maltese inscription identifies the Tyrian Melkarth with Heracles.

2. Who was the son of Labdacus.

3. See Herodotus, ii. 43, 44.

4. The district comprising all the south-west of Spain outside the pillars of Heracles, or Straits of Gibraltar, was called Tartessus, of which the chief city was Tartessus. Here the Phoenicians planted colonies, one of which still remains under the name of Cadiz. The Romans called the district Baetica, from the principal river, the Baetis or Guadalquivir. The Hebrew name for this region is Tarshish, of which Tartessus is the Greek form. Tarshish was the station for the Phoenician trade with the West, which extended as far as Cornwall. The Tyrians fetched from this locality silver, iron, lead, tin, and gold (Isa. xxiii. 1, 6, 10, lxvi. 19; Jer. x. 9; Ezek. xxvii. 12, xxxviii. 13). Martial, Seneca, and Avienus, the first two of whom were Spaniards, understood Tartessus to stand for the south-west of Spain and Portugal. The word Tarshish probably means sea-coast, from the Sanscrit tarischa, the sea. Ovid (Met., xiv. 416); Martial, viii. 28; Silius, xiii. 673.

5. Of Miletus. Herodotus knew his writings well, but they have not come down to us. See Herod, (ii. 143; v. 36 and 125).

6. The Iberians were originally called Tibarenes, or Tibari. They dwelt on the east of the Black Sea, and west of Colchis, whence they emigrated to Spain. This nation is called Tubal in the Hebrew Bible; in Isa.', lxvi. 19 the Iberians of western Europe are referred to.

7. An island near Cadiz, now called Leon. Cf. Hesiod (Theogonia, . 287-294); Herodotus, iv. 8. Now called Arta.

8. Arrian omits to mention that the Tyrians pointed out to him that his wish to sacrifice to Hercules might be gratified without entering their city, since at Palaetyrus, on the mainland, separated from Tyre only by a narrow strait, was a temple of that deity more ancient than that in Tyre. See Curtius, iv. 7; Justin, xi. 10. We learn from Arrian, i. 18, that when Alexander offered sacrifice to the Ephesian Diana he marched to the temple with his whole army in battle array. No doubt it was this kind of thing the Tyrians objected to. Alexander actually did the same at Tyre after its capture. (See chapter 24.)


p.117-120

Ch 5.26: Alexander's Speech (continued)

Arrian[4] writes..."I, for my part, think, that to a brave man there is no end to labours except the labours themselves, provided they lead to glorious achievements. But if any one desires to hear what will be the end to the warfare itself, let him learn that the distance still remaining before we reach the river Ganges and the Eastern Sea is not great; and I inform you that the Hyrcanian Sea will be seen to be united with this, because the Great Sea encircles the whole earth. I will also demonstrate both to the Macedonians and to the Grecian allies, that the Indian Gulf is confluent with the Persian, and the Hyrcanian Sea with the Indian Gulf. From the Persian Gulf our expedition will sail round into Libya as far as the Pillars of Heracles.[1] From the pillars all the interior of Libya[2] becomes ours, and so the whole of Asia[3] will belong to us, and the limits of our empire, in that direction, will be those which God has made also the limits of the earth. But, if we now return, many warlike nations are left unconquered beyond the Hyphasis as far as the Eastern Sea, and many besides between these and Hyrcania in the direction of the north wind, and not far from these the Scythian races. Wherefore, if we go back, there is reason to fear that the races which are now held in subjection, not being firm in their allegiance, may be excited to revolt by those who are not yet subdued. Then our many labours will prove to have been in vain; or it will be necessary for us to incur over again fresh labours and dangers, as at the beginning. But, O Macedonians and Grecian allies, stand firm! Glorious are the deeds of those who undergo labour and run the risk of danger; and it is delightful to live a life of valour and to die leaving behind immortal glory. Do ye not know that our ancestor[4] reached so great a height of glory as from being a man to become a god, or to seem to become one, not by remaining in Tiryns[5] or Argos, or even in the Pelopounese or at Thebes? The labours of Dionysus were not few, and he was too exalted a deity to be compared with Heracles. But we, indeed, have penetrated into regions beyond Nysa[6]; and the rock of Aornus, which Heracles was unable to capture, is in our possession. Do ye also add the parts of Asia still left unsubdued to those already acquired, the few to the many. But what great or glorious deed could we have performed, if, sitting at ease in Macedonia, we had thought it sufficient to preserve our own country without any labour, simply repelling the attacks of the nations on our frontiers, the Thracians, Illyrians, and Triballians, or even those Greeks who were unfriendly to our interests? If, indeed, without undergoing labour and being free from danger I were acting as your commander, while you were undergoing labour and incurring danger, not without reason would you be growing faint in spirit and resolution, because you alone would be sharing the labours, while procuring the rewards of them for others. But now the labours are common to you and me, we have an equal share of the dangers, and the rewards are open to the free competition of all. For the land is yours, and you act as its viceroys. The greater part also of the money now comes to you; and when we have traversed the whole of Asia, then, by Zeus, not merely having satisfied your expectations, but having even exceeded the advantages which each man hopes to receive, those of you who wish to return home I will send back to their own land, or I will myself lead them back; while those who remain here, I will make objects of envy to those who go back."[7]


Greek Ion, which originally had a digamma, Ivon. Pott says that it means the young, in opposition to the Graikci, the old. According to Aristotle (Meteorologica, i. 14) the Hellenes were originally called Graikoi. Cf. Sanscrit, jewan; Zend, jawan; Latin, juvenis; English, young.

1. Cf. Arrian (Anabasis, vii. 1; Indica, 43). Herodotus (iv. 42) says that Pharaoh Neco sent a Phoenician expedition from the Bed Sea, which circumnavigated Africa and returned by the Straits of Gibraltar, or the Pillars of Hercules. The Carthaginian Hanno is said to have sailed from Cadiz to the extremity of Arabia. See Pliny (Historia Naturalis, ii. 67; v. 1). Herodotus (iv. 43) says that the Carthaginians asserted they had sailed round Africa. There is a Greek translation of Hanno's Periplus still extant. As to the Pillars of Hercules, see Aelian (Varia Historia, v. 3). They are first mentioned by Pindar (Olym. iii. 79; Nem. iii. 36).

2. Arrian, like many other ancient writers, includes Africa, or Libya, as a part of Asia. The boundaries were the Eastern Sea and the Atlas Mountains. Cf. Arrian, iii. 30; vii. 1 and 30. The name Asia first occurs in Homer (Iliad, ii. 461), in reference to the marsh about the Cayster, and was thence gradually extended over the whole continent.

3. The interior of Africa, from the Straits of Gibraltar to Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the then unexplored South.

4. Heracles, from whom the Macedonian kings claimed to be descended.

5. Hence Hercules is called Tirynthius. (Virgil, ,Aeneid. 662; viii. 228).

6. See chap. 1 of this book.

7. Cf. Xenophon (Anab., i. 7, 4).

p.308-311

Phoenician god: Hercules

E. J. Chinnock[5] writes....The Phoenician god Melkarth (lord of the city), whom the Syrians called Baal (lord), was supposed to be identical with the Grecian Heracles, or Hercules, who was the mythical ancestor of the Macedonian kings. Curtius (iv. 7) tells us that Alexander affirmed he had been ordered by an oracle to sacrifice in Tyre to Heracles. Gesenius informs us that a Maltese inscription identifies the Tyrian Melkarth with Heracles.

हरक्यूलस कौन था?

हरक्यूलिस एक मिथक चरित्र है और जैसा कि आप जानते हैं मिथकों का कोई एक रचनाकार नहीं होता. प्राचीन ग्रीस में बहुत से देवी-देवताओं की आराधना की जाती थी. उनमें से प्रमुख थे ज़िउस जो ओलम्पस पर्वत पर राज करते थे. उन्होंने और ऐल्केमेन नामक एक महिला ने एक पुत्र को जन्म दिया जिसका नाम रखा गया हरक्युलिस. उसमें अपने पिता जैसी दैवीय शक्तियां थीं. ज़िउस चाहते थे कि हरक्यूलिस भी अमर हो जाए, लेकिन यह तभी संभव था जब उनकी पत्नी रानी हेरा हरक्यूलिस को अपना दूध पिलातीं. लेकिन हेरा हरक्यूलिस से बहुत चिढ़ती थीं. एक बार तो उन्होंने हरक्यूलिस के पालने में दो ज़हरीले सांप छोड़ कर उसे मारने की कोशिश की. लेकिन हरक्यूलिस उनके साथ खेलने लगे और फिर उन्हें मार डाला. हरक्यूलिस के लिए ओलम्पस पर कोई स्थान नहीं था इसलिए उन्हें धरती पर भेज दिया गया जहां एक ग़रीब दम्पति ने उन्हें पाला. बड़े होने पर उन्होंने मेगारा से शादी की और ख़ुशी-ख़ुशी जीवन बसर करने लगे. फिर जब उन्हें यह पता चला कि वे ज़िउस के बेटे हैं तो वे ओलम्पस पर्वत पहुंचे, लेकिन उन्हें अमरत्व पाने के लिए बारह बड़े दुष्कर काम सौंपे गए. हरक्यूलिस ने सभी काम पूरे तो कर लिए लेकिन अंत में उनकी मौत हो गई.[6]

जाटों का यूरोप की ओर बढ़ना

ठाकुर देशराज[7] ने लिखा है .... हूणों के आक्रमण के समय जगजार्टिस और आक्सस नदियों के किनारे तथा कैस्पियन सागर के तट पर बसे हुए जाट यूरोप की ओर बढ़ गए। एशियाई देशों में जिस समय हूणों का उपद्रव था, उसी समय यूरोप में जाट लोगों का


[पृ.154]: धावा होता है। कारण कि आंधी की भांति उठे हुए हूणों ने जाटों को उनके स्थानों से उखाड़ दिया था। जाट समूहों ने सबसे पहले स्केंडिनेविया और जर्मनी पर कब्जा किया। कर्नल टॉड, मिस्टर पिंकर्टन, मिस्टर जन्स्टर्न, डिगाइन, प्लीनी आदि अनेक यूरोपियन लेखकों ने उनका जर्मनी, स्केंडिनेविया, रूम, स्पेन, गाल, जटलैंड और इटली आदि पर आक्रमण करने का वर्णन किया है। इन वर्णनों में में कहीं उन्हें, जेटा, कहीं जेटी, और कहीं गाथ नाम से पुकारा है। क्योंकि विजेता जाटों के यह सारे समूह ईरान और का कैस्पियन समुद्र के किनारे से यूरोप की ओर बढ़े थे। इसीलिए यूरोपीय देशों में उन्हें शकसिथियन के नाम से भी याद किया गया है। ईरान को शाकद्वीप कहते हैं। इसीलिए इरान के निवासी शक कहलाते थे। यूरोपियन इतिहासकारों का कहना है कि जर्मनी की जो स्वतंत्र रियासतें हैं, और जो सैक्सन रियासतों के नाम से पुकारी जाती हैं। इन्हीं शक जाटों की हैं। वे रियासतें विजेता जाटों ने कायम की थी। हम यह मानते हैं और यह भी मानते हैं कि वे जाट शाकद्वीप से ही गए थे। किंतु यूरोपियन लेखकों के दिमाग में इतना और बिठाना चाहते हैं कि शाल-द्वीप में वे जाट भारत से गए थे। और वे उन खानदानों में से थे जो राम, कृष्ण और यदु कुरुओं के कहलाते हैं।

यूरोप में जाने वाले जाटों ने राज्य तो कायम किए ही थे साथ ही उन्होंने यूरोप को कुछ सिखाया भी था। प्रातः बिस्तरे


[पृ.155]: से उठकर नहाना, ईश्वर आराधना करना, तलवार और घोड़े की पूजा, शांति के समय खेती करना,भैंसों से काम लेना यह सब बातें उन्होंने यूरोप को सिखाई थी। कई स्थानों पर उन्होंने विजय स्तंभ भी खड़े किए थे। जर्मनी में राइन नदी के किनारे का उनका स्तंभ काफी मशहूर रहा था।

भारत माता के इन विजयी पुत्रों ने यूरोप में जाकर भी बहुत काल तक वैदिक धर्म का पालन किया था। किंतु परिस्थितियों ने आखिर उन्हें ईसाई होने पर बाध्य कर ही दिया। यदि भारत के धर्म प्रचारक वहां पहुंचते रहते तो वह हरगिज ईसाई ना होते। किंतु भारत में तो सवा दो हजार वर्ष से एक संकुचित धर्म का रवैया रहा है जो कमबख्त हिंदूधर्म के नाम से मशहूर है। उनकी रस्म रिवाजों और समारोहों के संबंध में जो मैटर प्राप्त होता है उसका सारांश इस प्रकार है:-

  • जेहून और जगजार्टिस नदी के किनारे के जाट प्रत्येक संक्रांति पर बड़ा समारोह किया करते थे।
  • विजयी अटीला जाट सरदार ने एलन्स के किले में बड़े समारोह के साथ खङ्ग पूजा का उत्सव मनाया था।
  • जर्मनी के जाट लंबे और ढीले कपड़े पहनते थे और सिर के बालों की एक बेणी बनाकर गुच्छे के समान मस्तक के ऊपर बांध लेते थे।

[पृ.156]:
  • उनके झंडे पर बलराम के हल का चित्र था। युद्ध में वे शूल (बरछे) और मुग्दर (गदा) को काम में लाते थे।
  • वे विपत्ति के समय अपनी स्त्रियॉं की सम्मति को बहुत महत्व देते थे।
  • उनकी स्त्रियां प्रायः सती होने को अच्छा समझती थी।
  • वे विजिट लोगों को गुलाम नहीं मानते थे। उनकी अच्छी बातों को स्वीकार करने में वे अपनी हेटी नहीं समझते थे।
  • लड़ाई के समय वे ऐसा ख्याल करते थे कि खून के खप्पर लेकर योगनियां रणक्षेत्र में आती हैं।

बहादुर जाटों के ये वर्णन जहां प्रसन्नता से हमारी छाती को फूलाते हैं वहां हमें हृदय भर कर रोने को भी बाध्य करते हैं। शोक है उन जगत-विजेता वीरों की कीर्ति से भी जाट जगत परिचित नहीं है।

External Links

References

  1. [[[The Anabasis of Alexander/2b]], Ch.16, f.n.1
  2. The Anabasis of Alexander/5b, Ch.26
  3. [[[The Anabasis of Alexander/2b]], Ch.16
  4. The Anabasis of Alexander/5b, Ch.26
  5. [[[The Anabasis of Alexander/2b]], f.n.1
  6. http://www.bbc.com/hindi/news/story/2007/04/070407_askus_hercules.shtml
  7. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Navam Parichhed,p.153-156