Difference Between Hercules and Heracles

What name would come into your mind if I asked you about the most powerful god? I know many of you would say, Zeus. Zeus is undoubtedly the most powerful god in Greek mythology as even the other gods used to fear him. But ever wondered what happened to the powers of Zeus? I know you must be thinking that his powers must’ve been transferred to his offspring and that is for sure the truth. His son is also one of the most powerful gods in Greek mythology. He is a human and a god at the same time. His name is Hercules and some may also know him as Heracles.

Hercules vs Heracles

The main difference between Hercules and Heracles is that Hercules is the name of the son of Zeus in the Greek language. On the other hand, Heracles is also the name of the son of Zeus but in the English language.

Hercules and Heracles

Hercules and Heracles are the names of the same demigod but the people from the Roman times adapted the figure of Heracles and started calling him Hercules. Both Hercules and Heracles are the same people but the name Hercules is adopted from Greek mythology by Roman mythology.

Even though Heracles, the demigod born to Zeus, showed tremendous promise since birth: he strangled two snakes sent by Hera while still in his baby crib. In his childhood, he had the most brilliant teachers, and by the time he was in his teens, he had already surpassed them in both stature and strength.

Comparison Table Between Hercules and Heracles

Parameters of ComparisonHerculesHeracles
OriginalityAnother name for Heracles.Another name for Alcides or Alcaeus.
OriginRoman mythology.Greek mythology.
PopularityThe 2000sThe 1960s
MeaningA hero noted for his great strength and courage.“having the glory of Hera”.
MotherAlcmene (greek)Hera (roman)

Who is Hercules?

The god Hercules lived in ancient Greek mythology as the son of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Alcmene, the mortal. One night, Zeus relentlessly changed his appearance as Alcmene’s husband and visited Alcmene in her bed and had intercourse, and therefore Hercules was born. He was an incredibly strong and courageous demi-god. The demi-god is someone who is half human and half god and just because Alcmene was a mortal woman and Zeus was a god, Hercules turned out to be a demi-god.

While he achieved incredible feats, including wrestling death twice and traveling twice to the underworld, and his tales were told throughout Greece and even in Rome, he lived a life far from easy, and his relationships with others often ended in disaster. Hercules was Zeus’ illegitimate son, and Hera, Zeus’ wife, sought to kill him because of this. Although he had been named Alcaeus at birth, he later started being called Herakles, which meant “glory of Hera”, inferring that he would become famous due to his struggles with the goddess Hera who is also his mother.

Who is Heracles?

Heracles is the original name of Hercules. This name is derived from Greek mythology meaning the “glory of Hera”. Herakle’s early life was full of hunts and quests. Once upon winning the hunt, Heracles met Erginus’ heralds, who had been sent by the Minyan king to collect the annual Theban tribute of one hundred cows. In response, Heracles – according to one of the greek literature – Hercules cut off their body parts into pieces and directed his men to carry them a shrine or a tribute to the great opponents – Erginus and the Minyans. infuriated with the loss of their men by the Hercules, Erginus gathered a large army filled with Minyans and marched towards Hercules – but unfortunately met his death because he was not able to cope with the power of the demigod Heracles.

 Because of Creon’s deep appreciation for Heracles, Megara, the Theban king’s eldest daughter, was given to Heracles, with whom he had at least two and perhaps as many as eight children. As a result, Heracles killed all of them, and after that, he was filled with mad jealousy for Hera. According to the Delphic oracle, he was commanded to be a servant of a Tiryn king Eurystheus for roughly around twelve years (as mentioned in the Greek philosophy) and carried out all the tasks he was given by the king. The twelve labors of Heracles were initially ten but grew into the famous Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Main Differences Between Hercules and Heracles

  • The name Hercules is another name for Heracles whereas the name Heracles is another name for Alcides.
  • The name Hercules is from roman mythology whereas the name Heracles is from Greek mythology.
  • The name Hercules was popularised in the 2000s because of Disney movies whereas the name Heracles was popularised in the 1960s because of the ancient Greek books.
  • The name Hercules refers to someone who is known for his great strength and courage whereas the name Heracles means “glory of Hera”.
  • The mother of Hercules is named Alcmene in Greek mythology whereas the mother of Heracles is named as Hera in roman mythology.

Conclusion

Even though both Hercules and Heracles are the names of a single person but they have their unique differences. These differences occurred because of the conflict in the literature of Rome and Greece. Roman mythology adopted the concept of Hercules from Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, the name Hercules is named Heracles. The name Hercules refers to someone who is known for his great strength and courage whereas the name Heracles means “glory of Hera”. The mother of Hercules is named Alcmene in Greek mythology whereas the mother of Heracles is named as her in roman mythology.

References

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