What does "god of heroes" mean?

#1 Posted by seekquaze (619 posts) - - Show Bio

In both Chaos War and his current series Hercules has been referenced as the "god of heroes."  What does that mean?  Athena is the goddess of heroic endeavour.  She sought out heroes and helped them with problems brute strength could not solve along with the overall heroic path.  Tyr is sometimes known as the god of heroic glory.  This probable arose from war being the source of glory and where heroes come from.  In other cultures war gods sometimes come close to being the closet equivalent due to not only the glory aspect, but common traits of ancient heroes like courage and strength in battle.  Ares was sometimes prayed to for strength and courage in battle.  Mars much more so. 

Where does that leave Hercules?  What duties does being the "god of heroes" entail?  Does it just mean he is the greatest hero in Greco-Roman religion?  Therefore a symbol for what other heroes should try and emulate?  Does it mean his task is to set out to find new heroes and train them to protect the mortal world instead of doing it all himself?  Is it limited to just what he is doing now?  Trying to be a hero?  Does it mean he has to be a hero all the time now?  What about his duties as the "god of heroes" separates him from Athena and Ares?  Is it just another title?  What Norse god comic character would probable be the close to his current role?

#2 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio


I would say Herc being the 'God of Heroes" means he is the living embodiment of heroism in much the way that Ares, as God of War, is the living embodiment of war. 

 

As far as him being the example for other heroes to follow . . . in certain ways; yes.  He fought all manner of creature, monster and giant and performed many seemingly impossible tasks at great personal risk and earned godhood for it.  That's a pretty impressive resume.  As far as his personal life; he's a very human, deeply flawed character who still demonstrates an ability to rise above himself for the sake of what's right. 

 

I wouldn't say Herc, as God of Heroes, must find and train others to be heroes.  I think he could help whomever he chose to or do nothing.  The capriciousness of the gods is legendary and, though Herc might not act like the typical god, he might not want to be tasked with the role of mandatory 'trainer of heroes.'   He would probably be more inclined to helping heroes in their times of need.

 

I don't see any other character in mythology approximating Marvel Herc's new 'God of Heroes' status, not even the Norse pantheon.

#3 Posted by seekquaze (619 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc:
Good points.  I can agree with pretty much all of it.  Hercules would in a least metaphorical if not literal sense be an embodiment of heroism from at least the Greco-Roman culture.  You make good points about Hercules as a person itself. 

As for other characters in a way I could see Thor being the Norse version of the "god of heroes."  Thor is usually considered the ideal of what a hero should be from the perspective of the Asgardian gods though his status as the god of thunder would outweigh anything else.  The thing about Marvel's Norse gods is they have a slew of heroic characters that trying to have one stand out enough to have that title is difficult.  Hercules comes across as so far apart in both nobility and deed to any other god or hero from Greek mythology that it is easier to distinguish him from the rest (I mean this in a good way.)

One more question, as Prince of Power and god of strength Hercules's main divine role was the defender of Olympus and to a lesser extent Earth.  What, if any, additional duties do you think the title "god of heroes" brings to the table?
#4 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze:
Exactly.  

 

Thor's status as the 'God of Thunder' is pretty cool and definitely takes precedence over any other title and would preclude, in my mind at least, the title of 'God of Heroes.'

 

The likelihood of Marvel creating or promoting another (besides Thor) Norse god to any degree seems unlikely.  You make me think, however; who could they try to make the Norse God of Heroes?  I think Marvel could possibly conceive and create their own version of 'Beowulf' for this role.

 

As for additional duties for Herc due to his new title, I wouldn't give him any mandatory ones. 

I'd make it so he could aid, train and/mentor anybody he felt worthy or deserving due to their heroism or heroic potential.  


 

#5 Posted by Beta_Ray_Fred (9 posts) - - Show Bio

I interpreted "God of Heroes" to mean that he is the divine benefactor of Heroes. Just as scholars are Athena's worshipers, though I doubt most heroes would worship Hercules. But as their benefactor/protector he would be there to help heroes in their greatest hour of need; by directly intervening, giving them clues as to what they are to do, sending reinforcements, giving them temporary power enhancements, giving them trials or quests to prove their heroism, even redeeming fallen heroes or ex-villains. Hercules would be most prominent when a threat requiring the combined efforts of several heroes arises as well. His role as God of Heroes could be essential to this, being a sort of focal point for diverse heroes to work together. Finally he would be a sorta of ideal for young heroes to try to live up to, and inspiration to civilians as well as heroes. 

#6 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio

Well he beyond a shadow of a doubt the most famous hero to ever exist, He was worshiped more than any of the Greek gods aside from Zeus, and has been around longer than the bible 

#7 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

Well he beyond a shadow of a doubt the most famous hero to ever exist, He was worshiped more than any of the Greek gods aside from Zeus, and has been around longer than the bible

Quite right. He is known the world over.

The name "Hercules" is synonymous with Strength and Heroism.

#8 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: The word Herculean meaning to have great strength and courage is derived from his name 
#9 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

@PowerHerc: The word Herculean meaning to have great strength and courage is derived from his name

Indeed, Sir, and exactly. Hercules literally means strength.

#10 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: Batman can't top that 
#11 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

@PowerHerc: Batman can't top that

No, he sure as hell can't. lol.

#12 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: more people know who Hercules is than Superman and possibly Jesus 
#13 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

@PowerHerc: more people know who Hercules is than Superman and possibly Jesus

I think you might be right about more people knowing who Hercules is than Superman (worldwide), but I don't think that's the case when compared to Jesus.

#14 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: its probably close tho
#15 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe:

Yes. It might, indeed, be close.

Interestingly, the origins Hercules and Jesus have several similarities.

#16 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: They are both the children of a god and a mortal, they both died very painful deaths and they both ascended and became worshiped figures after their deaths. 
#17 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

@PowerHerc: They are both the children of a god and a mortal, they both died very painful deaths and they both ascended and became worshiped figures after their deaths.

Yes they both did.

I think it's interesting to note that the story/existence of Hercules preceeds Jesus by well over one thousand years.

#18 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: The whole son of a god and mortal thing is far from unique tho
#19 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

@PowerHerc: The whole son of a god and mortal thing is far from unique tho

That's true, both of those things were quite common in ancient religions.

What was unique, at that time, was that both were said to have ascended to the highest plane of existence (in their respective religions) as fully immortal and worshipped gods.

#20 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: True
#21 Posted by gravitypress (2069 posts) - - Show Bio

I would say God of Heroes represents the fact that he has been the base for all heroes in comics. Superman, Captian Marvel, Marvelman, and more used him as a partial template at their creation.

#22 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@gravitypress said:

I would say God of Heroes represents the fact that he has been the base for all heroes in comics. Superman, Captian Marvel, Marvelman, and more used him as a partial template at their creation.

Hercules was indeed a factor in the creation of these and other superheroes both directly and indirectly.

#23 Posted by seekquaze (619 posts) - - Show Bio
@Beta_Ray_Fred said:
I interpreted "God of Heroes" to mean that he is the divine benefactor of Heroes. Just as scholars are Athena's worshipers, though I doubt most heroes would worship Hercules. But as their benefactor/protector he would be there to help heroes in their greatest hour of need; by directly intervening, giving them clues as to what they are to do, sending reinforcements, giving them temporary power enhancements, giving them trials or quests to prove their heroism, even redeeming fallen heroes or ex-villains. Hercules would be most prominent when a threat requiring the combined efforts of several heroes arises as well. His role as God of Heroes could be essential to this, being a sort of focal point for diverse heroes to work together. Finally he would be a sorta of ideal for young heroes to try to live up to, and inspiration to civilians as well as heroes. 
The role you describe more aptly describes Athena in her position as Goddess of Heroic Endeavors.  I can't see Hercules doing many of the things you mention.  Its a bit too intellectual for him.
#24 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

The point seems moot now, anyway.

Hercules being the "God of Heroes" will probably be forgotten or become purely symbolic in Marvel continuity.

#25 Posted by seekquaze (619 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc said:

The point seems moot now, anyway.

Hercules being the "God of Heroes" will probably be forgotten or become purely symbolic in Marvel continuity.

Sad thing is Pak and Lente never did much if anything with it. They failed to develop it at all and they were the ones who came up with it.

#26 Posted by joshmightbe (25002 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze: Actually Athena's primary title was Goddess of Wisdom

#27 Posted by seekquaze (619 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe: I know. Like most major Greek gods she had many roles. Zeus was both god of storms and law. Hermes is primarily thought of as the god of travellers, merchants, and thieves, but is also a god of shepherds and athletics. Athena was primarily a goddess of wisdom and military stategy, but she has also been called the goddess of heroic endeavor due to fulfilling pretty much everything stated in the above post. She even stated she is the goddes of heroic endeavor in Marvel.

#28 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

@PowerHerc said:

The point seems moot now, anyway.

Hercules being the "God of Heroes" will probably be forgotten or become purely symbolic in Marvel continuity.

Sad thing is Pak and Lente never did much if anything with it. They failed to develop it at all and they were the ones who came up with it.

Yes, I agree.

Ironic, isn't it?

#29 Edited by LeeSensei (385 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

@joshmightbe: I know. Like most major Greek gods she had many roles. Zeus was both god of storms and law. Hermes is primarily thought of as the god of travellers, merchants, and thieves, but is also a god of shepherds and athletics. Athena was primarily a goddess of wisdom and military stategy, but she has also been called the goddess of heroic endeavor due to fulfilling pretty much everything stated in the above post. She even stated she is the goddes of heroic endeavor in Marvel.

It means that he was worshipped as a protector god. People in ancient Greece and rome worshipped him as the divine protector of mankind and people like Pompey and Alexander the Great made offerings to him when they were victorious in battle. He was also worshipped for health, sports, travellers and by gladiators.

This isn't that new though. In a 70s issue of Thor vikings were fighting Greeks and prayed for thor to come help them and the Greeks called on hercules to help them.

As for his Norse counterpart... It's either thor or herimdall. The Romans compared hercules to thor because they both fought giants and monsters, we're physically the most powerful gods, used blunt weapons, had twin sons and were sons of the chief god. He's also comparable to heimdall. Heimdall was the guardian of asgardians nd hercules was the guardian of Olympus.

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