Hercules and the city of Thebes
Few can say they have never heard of Hercules. A divine hero of the Ancient Greek mythology, Hercules was the son of Zeus, who was chief among all gods, and a mortal woman named Alcmene. Zeus was infamous for his many affairs that resulted in many demigods and goddesses.
Out of all of his illegitimate children, Hercules withstood the fury and hatred of his wife, Hera the most.
Starting when he was only an infant, Hera attempts to destroy Hercules by sending two venomous snakes into his cradle. Her attempt is unsuccessful with Hercules strangling the snakes, showcasing his immense power even at such young an age.
Hera will claim her vengeance years later when Hercules, now married with children, falls into a fit of madness induced by Hera and murders his whole family.
In search of atonement, Hercules is ordered to complete twelve tasks, or more commonly referred to as labors. His strength, courage and intelligence along with his loyal companion, Iolaos, are all the weapons he needed in order to succeed.
Hercules’s hometown, the city of Thebes, has been the stage of many ancient strategies and mythical stories. Located in central Greece, the city exists to this day and has a strong historical presence. The most significant attraction is the Archaeological Museum which occupies an area of 1000m2 and is home to a myriad of artifacts divided among 18 sections.
Notable artifacts include seven clay tablets dating back to the Mycenaean period (13th century BC) inscribed in Linear B (a type of Greek representing the earliest form of Greek script), beautifully adorned fragment pieces of wall paintings, precious gems, clay figurines and the statues of three kouroi (young men) from the Sanctuary of Apollo.
What greatly enhances the experience of visiting the Museum of Thebes and is arguably unique is that it allows visitors to touch the ancient artifacts. For those who enjoy viewing ancient relics, this is a rare opportunity indeed.
The area of Thebes has a rich history and offers much to its visitors. The Monastery of Saint Luke, one of the most prominent of the Middle Byzantine Era and recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, is located nearby and offers visitors a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and a chance to see Byzantine-era frescoes and mosaics.
So whether you are a local or a visitor, make sure to make some space in your itinerary to discover this small city. I can guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised!