On Tue, 8 Mar 2016 01:57:25 +0000, Helen McKay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Thanks Martin. What you say about 'cles' is fine. And its also said that the Hera- part is from Hera (who basically hated him, so why would he be >her champion?)
What about the morrigan and Cú Chulainn - maybe a hero needs to be provoked onto greatness? With respect to the name though there's a good summary in Emma Stafford's Herakles:
"One line of enquiry which was popular in antiquity was etymology, the attempt to discover the truth about a thing by analyzing its name. Most ancient writers interpreted Herakles’ name as meaning ‘glory (kleos) of Hera’, some attempting to explain the apparent paradox this involves, given Herakles’ notoriously bad relationship with the goddess. According to Pindar (fr. 291 SM), the hero was originally called Alkeides, ‘descendant of Alkaios’, but was renamed Herakles by Hera herself in grudging recognition that his kleos had been won as result of her harassment; Apollodoros attributes this name change to the Delphic oracle. According to Diodoros (4.10.1) and others the original name was simply Alkaios (‘Strong’), which would reflect what we know of historical naming practices, since this is the name of his paternal grandfather. The change to Herakles was made by the people of Argos, impressed by the infant hero’s feat in strangling the snakes sent by Hera, or else it came about much later, when Herakles had assisted Hera by overcoming the giant Porphyrion. Such explanations have not entirely satisfied modern scholars. The name appears to be formed on a principle common to many others familiar from ancient Greece, i.e. by adding a suffix to the name of a deity – Herodotus and Apollodoros are ‘gifts’ of Hera and Apollo respectively, while Herakles is exactly paralleled by Diokles and Themistokles, ‘glory of’ Zeus (‘Dios’ is the genitive case) and Themis, goddess of Order. This kind of name might well reflect the parents’ relationship with a particular deity, expressing thanks for answered prayers or dedicating the child to the god’s future protection. As goddess of marriage, as well as principle deity of the city of Argos, Hera would be an entirely appropriate choice for real Argolid parents to honour in the naming of their son. Farnell (1921, 99–101) indeed took the very normal formulation of Herakles’ name as support for the supposition that he began his career as a mortal (whether fictional or real) and was only later deified. Pötscher (1971) dispensed with the apparent inappropriateness of ‘glory of Hera’ by supposing an original version of the story in which Herakles’ deeds were performed on Hera’s orders, to which the motifs of Hera’s hostility and jealousy of Alkmene were only added subsequently. More recently, West (1997, 471) has revived the theory that the first part of Herakles’ name is related to the word hêrôs, ‘hero’, as well as to Hera, both of which may be derived from the Indo-European root *yêr- meaning ‘year’."
>The problem I think is that this name is probably really ancient, so that each culture may have over the many centuries adapted his name to >something that makes sense to them in their language. That's a common adaption of famous names and places. So we know that Hercules >wasn't a native Greek hero, he had to come from somewhere else, so my question is whether the story was a SW European one first? not the >other way round ...?
Can you expand on your idea that he isn't a native Greek hero and had come from somewhere else? The name seems Greek and his story has a very specific geographic focus:
"It is certainly true that Herakles has a strong mythological attachment to the Argolid, as we have seen in the story of his ancestry. Six of his labours are set in various parts of the Peloponnese, and their traditional sequence follows a geographical expansion which adherents of the historicist approach would see as representing the historical spread of Argive power: Nemea (the lion) and Lerna (the hydra) are in the Argolid itself; Mount Erymanthos (the boar), Keryneia (the hind) and Lake Stymphalos (the birds) in Arkadia; and the stables of Augeias at Olympia"
Which aspects are you suggesting come from somewhere else? I know one Latin story of Hercules was thought to have been borrowed across to him from a native figure named Recaranus or Garanus for example?