Previous Next Index Thread
Transcript No. 971 June 24, 1996 HERCULES, ANCIENT STRONG MAN, ON COINS by Kerry Wetterstrom From Atlas to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the strong-man has always been viewed with admiration and awe. Perhaps the most honored of all was that hero of myth and movies, Hercules. Today, we'll mention the many coins which feature the image of Hercules. Alexander the Great chose a bust of Hercules for the front of his standard silver coin, the tetradrachm. Other ancient Greek rulers, and cities as well, placed Hercules on their coins. Most often, Hercules is shown naked, holding his two trademarks: a club, and a lion skin he earned by clubbing and then strangling a monstrous lion sent by Hera. Hera was jealous of Hercules because he was the illegitimate child of her husband, Zeus, the greatest of all the gods. The Egyptian city of Alexandria issued a rare series of bronze coins showing Hercules and scenes from his monumental "Twelve Labors." These coins were issued in Egypt while it was under the control of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. Perhaps Hercules was a personal hero and role- model for the emperor. Part of Hercules' appeal to ancient society was the fact that he became a demigod. Physical strength helped Hercules achieve his position. Because of all the deeds he performed in his lifetime, Hercules was able to go from being a mere mortal to a god . . . a goal sought by most people in ancient times, and more than a few today. Modern heroes like Schwarzenegger show that the strong-man is still an important part of our culture today. Is there a commemorative coin in Arnold's future? Doubtful, maybe--but not impossible! Today's program was written by Kerry Wetterstrom and underwritten by COINS magazine, providing its readers with the latest news on the U-S coin market. "Money Talks" is a copyrighted production of the American Numismatic Association, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903, 719/632-2646, email@example.com, http://www.money.org.