How much of Olympus's military strength does Hercules represent?

#1 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

Roy Thomas's Ragnarok storyline, the one that introduced Red Norvell, had Sif state Thor represents about half of Asgard's military strength and Mjolnir represents about half of Thor's strength. Take away the hammer and Thor still represents about 25% of Asgard's military power. This is minus Odin.

How much then do you think Hercules represents of Olympus's military power? The two pantheons have usually been treated as about equal in power. However, the differences between them and the differences between Hercules and Thor are worth considering. This is keeping their respective skyfathers out of it.

To me, Hercules at best represents about 20% of Olympus's military power. Maybe less. This is not a knock on Hercules, but based on the differences between the two pantheons.

Thor is Asgard's greatest warrior. In strength and fighting skills the two are close enough the difference is virtually negligible. Thor makes up so much of Asgard's military power because of Mjolnir. Thor could easily summon tornadoes that would render most of the Asgardian army useless. Physically, he is of course far more powerful than any other Asgardian shown.

The other factor in regards to Asgard is the lack of powerful Asgardians. The more powerful Asgardians like Skurge, Loki, Hela, and Amora traditionally fight against Asgard. They are not part of the military unless the situation forces them to be. Njord the sea god has hardly been shown and when he has was hostile to Asgard. Tyr is handicapped. Balder is a glorified light bulb. The other named Asgardians lack the healing factories, durability, or esoteric powers of the named Olympians. They are usually only more skilled and maybe a bit more durable than the average Asgardian.

Olympus is different. Hercules is without a doubt its single strongest warrior and an important military asset. Based on what I have seen he no doubt has a better healing factor than Thor. Yet he lacks Thor's energy powers and the other Olympians have their own powers. Apollo is a walking sun compared to Balder. Artemis has magic arrows. Ares has a powerful healing factor and lacks Tyr's handicap. Neptune has been shown fighting aside Olympus in battle and he has vast powers of his own. Hermes has his speed and is no slouch in fighting so he is at least a match for Hermod. Hephaestus may not be the best fighter, but he builds some of the best war machines around. Athena is supposed to be a great fighter as well along with being a genius. Eris can mess with a person's mind. Even Hera has been shown joining in the battles.

In the end its not necessarily one pantheon is stronger than the other. Hercules represents less of Olympus's military might because the power of the pantheon is spread out more among them.

Thoughts?

#2 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

If Thor does indeed equal half of Asgard's military might, then I think you probably have it right in terms of Hercules representation of Olympus' military might.

The Olympian Pantheon seems to have more key energy wielding gods and goddesses than Asgard does while they seem to have roughly the same power in terms of strictly physical strength, speed and fighting skills. Thus, Asgard is more reliant on Thor, and his hammer, than Olympus is on just Hercules, who has no energy wielding abilities, but is their greatest warrior.

I think it is interesting to note that . . .

  • Thor is Asgard's greatest warrior & champion
  • Magni is the Asgardian God of Strength
  • Volstagg is known as "The Lion of Asgard"

Yet for the Olympians Hercules fulfills all three of these roles:

  • Hercules is Olympus' greatest warrior & champion
  • Hercules is the Olympian God of Strength
  • Hercules is known as "The Lion of Olympus"

So, even though Hercules might not represent the same percentage of Olympus' military might as Thor does for Asgard, he is still a force to be reckoned with and quite highly respected.

#3 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc: I agree Hercules is a force to be reckoned with and should be highly respected.

Honestly, in a way Olympus is better off that way. By concentrating most of their power in one warrior you get one amazing super-weapon, but if that warrior is unavailable than you are screwed. This has occurred several times. With Olympus, if Hercules or Ares are unavailable it is problematic, but the other gods can sort of absorb the blow so it is less damaging.

I'm not sure if roles matter that much. Thor fills virtually the same roles as Hercules. Since Magni has not been born yet Thor is the god of strength. Volstagg has always been a bit of a braggart who for half of his career could not back it up. Perhaps I am interpreting you wrong.

I think what balances the pantheons militarily is Asgard is a warrior-based society and Olympus is not. Asgardians are trained from childhood in the arts of war. Every male citizen and a good portion of the females are expected to be on call to defend the kingdom. Attacks are frequent and when not fighting many are either training, going on adventures, or engaged in fighting sporting matches. Many are also part of the standing army.

Olympus lacks the same military structure. They have a security force of Yellow-Crested Titans and a few others to serve as guards to maintain order. I'm sure the Olympians train some, but it seems to be with less seriousness than the Asgardians. Much of it is sport competitions. They seem to go on less adventures and lack major external threats. Hercules and Ares can manage most of those. If they do need an army beyond the usual gods they call up mythological creatures from the countryside or resurrect dead mortals.

At least that is the way I see it. Maybe Thor needs the extra power since Asgard is threatened more? Maybe to better differentiate himself from the other gods?

#4 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze:

The three roles/titles I mentioned were really just a interesting side-note, not as anything denoting a military advantage or implication. You're right; Volstagg is an over-the-hill braggart. He earned the title "Lion of Asgard" during his youth and prime as a fearsome warrior, but I agree about him no longer being able to back it up. I realize that Magni has yet to be born and that Thor is the strongest of the Asgardians, however, that doesn't make Thor the Asgardian "God of Strength" hence that is a role Hercules fills for Olympus that Thor doesn't fill for the Asgardians.

Asgard does seem to be a warrior-based society and is attacked more, in the Marvel Universe at least, than Olympus. The frequent attacks might be what gives Asgard a bit of a military edge but I think it has been the perpetual, looming threat of Ragnarok that has given Asgard their warrior culture; their motivation to train, to fight and to survive. Olympus, on the other hand, doesn't have a prophesied end of days to worry about and thus Olympians seemsto have a much more of a hedonistic way of life which doesn't necessarily lend itself to military strength. Olympians do compete in fighting sports (wrestling, boxing, Pankration) and other competitions with fighting applications (archery, sword-fights, javelin), so I think Olympus would still have many denizens skilled and ready to defend their realm despite a overt militaristic/warrior culture.

As far as Thor having the extra power; it makes sense that he, as the God of Thunder (A role Zeus fills for Olympus) and the possessor/wielder of Mjolnir, he would be far more powerful than nearly/possibly all his Asgardian brethren. It also makes sense because Thor is an A-List Marvel character whom they want (or at least should want) to present and promote as being top tier in terms of power, strength, skill and courage.

#5 Posted by whydama (1093 posts) - - Show Bio

One difference I would like to point out is that Olympus is defended by dead heroes like Achilles while for Asgard, the dead go to Valhalla and rarely participate in battle. This also puts an addition strain on Thor as the defender of Asgard while Hercules can be substituted by the heroes if he is absent

#6 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

@whydama:

This has been shown to be true, but don't forget the honorable dead/fallen heroes of Valhalla await Ragnarok so they can fight for Asgard and they have indeed been used for just that purpose a lot of times over the years whenever the next Ragnarok would rear it's ugly head.

#7 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc: You know this does make me wonder. I would presume dead heroes whether Greek or Norse would only be solid in the realm of the dead. Otherwise they should be shades/ghosts/astral spirits. I presume whenever they leave to be used in battle the gods make them solid or bring them to life again. So what happens if they die? Do they go back to Valhalla or Elysium? What prevents the gods from resurrecting them again? Is this a key factor in warfare between pantheons? Do you have to cut the afterlife off from the rest of the pantheon to prevent the dead from returning? Is it one of the first targets in any war between gods?

#8 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze:

Good questions! Until you pose these questions, I'd never considered them.

It seems to me the risen dead would have to be solid even outside their respective realms to be a truly viable military resource though that doesn't mean it's the case. I can see the risen dead returning to their former after-life realms if they are slain in a "Godly" realm. If they were to die outside of such a realm it could be possible/it would make sense that they are lost even to their respective pantheon's after-life realm(s), going instead the the actual final after-life realm they deserve or even they might even cease to exist entirely. Either way: I don't think they would or should be the first strategic targets in wars of gods.

#9 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc:

In some stories armies of the dead can be incorporeal, but scare their foes to death. Otherwise, they maybe solid for a bit or somehow able to pass through their foes killing them. In other stories like Marvel they become solid somehow to be effective.

Why do you think they would cease to be if they are slain outside of a godly realms?

If they are not the first strategic targets in wars of gods what do you think should be?

By the way, in some stories dead souls are sometimes shown possessing the powers they had in life. Ares required half of Pluto's forces to hold. Abomination was supposedly hell's strongest prisoner and maintained all of his powers in the afterlife. Gods I can somewhat understand due to their more spiritual nature, but why would mortals retain their powers?

#10 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

@PowerHerc:

In some stories armies of the dead can be incorporeal, but scare their foes to death. Otherwise, they maybe solid for a bit or somehow able to pass through their foes killing them. In other stories like Marvel they become solid somehow to be effective.

Why do you think they would cease to be if they are slain outside of a godly realms?

If they are not the first strategic targets in wars of gods what do you think should be?

By the way, in some stories dead souls are sometimes shown possessing the powers they had in life. Ares required half of Pluto's forces to hold. Abomination was supposedly hell's strongest prisoner and maintained all of his powers in the afterlife. Gods I can somewhat understand due to their more spiritual nature, but why would mortals retain their powers?

In some stories revived dead can become incorporeal but I haven't seen or heard that to be the case with these godly type characters.

I think since they already 'died' once and then went on to their respective pantheon's realm of the dead that it's entirely possible that if they were to be killed again they might enter a different/higher/more permanent afterlife or they might cease to exist altogether. If they simply went back to their original land of the dead, then it seems they could be recycled endlessly which could/would make them inexhaustible forces which would make their wars never ending and thus pointless.

I think the first strategic targets should always be the ones that present the greatest threat and/or provide the greatest protection. The army of the risen dead may contain some of these targets but it would still be mainly comprised of minor warriors and such. Besides, if they can simply be brought right back to life, then what's the point of taking any of these guys out at all? They'll simply be resurrected again and again making them essentially unbeatable.

I can see any and all characters (mortal, immortal, alien, demon, etc.) retaining their powers in the afterlife. They retain their looks, their memories and their identities so why not their powes/abilities?

#11 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc said:


I think since they already 'died' once and then went on to their respective pantheon's realm of the dead that it's entirely possible that if they were to be killed again they might enter a different/higher/more permanent afterlife or they might cease to exist altogether. If they simply went back to their original land of the dead, then it seems they could be recycled endlessly which could/would make them inexhaustible forces which would make their wars never ending and thus pointless

IIRC, in D & D that is what happens between the Orc gods and the Goblin gods. They have the souls of dead orcs and goblins fight each other constantly in the afterlife. Even if one side wins it doesn't matter because the other reforms and the war starts all over again.

@PowerHerc said:


I think the first strategic targets should always be the ones that present the greatest threat and/or provide the greatest protection. The army of the risen dead may contain some of these targets but it would still be mainly comprised of minor warriors and such. Besides, if they can simply be brought right back to life, then what's the point of taking any of these guys out at all? They'll simply be resurrected again and again making them essentially unbeatable.

Now that I think about it, in the Ares mini, Ares tore each member of Pluto's army apart so they would never be whole. The other gods implied this would be permanent. Maybe gods are able to damage spirits more than other beings or spirits are vulnerable outside of their realm? It could also be resurrecting them is too costly energy wise?

#12 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

Now that I think about it, in the Ares mini, Ares tore each member of Pluto's army apart so they would never be whole. The other gods implied this would be permanent. Maybe gods are able to damage spirits more than other beings or spirits are vulnerable outside of their realm? It could also be resurrecting them is too costly energy wise?

That's right!

Maybe they are more vulnerable outside their realm and maybe it is to costly energy-wise to resurrect them.

Good points.

#13 Posted by Enyalios (142 posts) - - Show Bio

The Asgardian noble dead (the Einherjar) have been called on to defend Asgard in the past, though its mainly to take on the foot soldiers of whoever is attacking Asgard, so you don't really see much of their uses. As I recall though Odin does conjure them on occasion and they were shown in a few of the supposed Ragnaroks of the past.

Also, Thor was the Asgardian god of strength. I always get a chuckle out of people that insist he is not. While Magni may be strength personified, all of Thor's children are named for traits possessed by Thor himself, and three of them (Magni, Thrudr, and Pruor) all mean strength. Its similar to the fact that, while Hercules was the Greek god of strength, Kratos, Zeus's little errand boy, was strength personified. Apollo was the god of the sun, but Helios (Sol to the Romans) WAS the sun. Outside of one story, there are no major hymns to Magni, no temples built, no towns or landmarks with his name in them, meaning he was not a god that was actively worshiped by the Scandinavians or Germanic people. He is a god of strength in the same way that his sister is, as an abstract notion, but they are both subordinate to their father in that regard. The Norse prayed to Thor for strength and protection, not Magni.

I think another reason why the Olympians would not rely on Hercules primarily for their defense is because the Greeks stopped being a culture of champions far earlier than the Germanic peoples who brought the Asgardian gods into the world. While the Norse and the ancient Germans are a warrior culture, theirs was a culture of individual warriors each out to prove his own glory, whereas the Greeks (and later, the Romans to an even greater extent) were a military culture who placed greater emphasis on the strength of units and armies. Therefore, its against their nature to place so much of their emphasis on the strength and skill of only one of their number.

#14 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio


I can see any and all characters (mortal, immortal, alien, demon, etc.) retaining their powers in the afterlife. They retain their looks, their memories and their identities so why not their powes/abilities?

This was a point I missed the first tie around.

I think characters should retain their abilities, but not their powers in the afterlife because of genetics. A mutant is able to shoot fire because if a genetic mutation. Remove the physical body and the source of their power is gone. They should only be another shade. Same for beings who get their powers from technology, accident or most other sources. The only exceptions would be those who have developed their spirit. Dr. Strange spend decades developing his spiritual powers and spends quite a bit of time on the astral plane. His physical body is more of an anchor. Some martial artists have trained their minds to transcend the body giving them spiritual powers as well. Gods are beings that walk the line between spiritual and physical. So I can see exceptions with these, but your standard mortal/hero/villain/immortal should not be able to.

#15 Posted by PowerHerc (83461 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze: Interesting points. I definitely agree that tech-powered beings shouldn't retain their powers in the after life but I'm still not sure about the ones whom owe their powers to genetics. Genetics are physical, so I see your point, but genetics, along with the soul and memories, are also what makes everyone who they are. Who is to say that who we are physically isn't or can't be linked to our spirits in the afterlife? It could go either way, I suppose. It's something to ponder.

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