The herald’s staff is the divine symbol of Hermes, messenger of the Gods. Many tales have been sung concerning its origins. Some say that god Hermes once encountered two snakes in mortal combat and separated them with his wand. Thus the snake entwined wand has since been considered as a symbol of peace. Others claim it is the former staff of the oracle Tiresias. Tiresias had found two snakes copulating and killed the female one. He was immediately transformed into a woman and stayed that way until he repeated the act only with the male snake. It is believed that this staff later came into the possession of the god Hermes, along with its transformative powers. The final story of the Ciricium concerns Hermes’ brother Apollo. Hermes had once stolen Apollo’s cattle and as compensation offered his lyre fashioned from a turtle’s shell. As a sign of friendship Apollo offered Hermes in return the fabled Ciricium.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 10:31
Of Hercules' fabled twelve labours, the Nemean Lion was the first. The lion was a ferocious monster with a hide that could not be pierced by any weapon. This made the beast impossible to kill. Yet Hercules managed to strangle the monster with his bare hands, employing his unusual strength and superb wrestling prowess. He killed the lion with the only way possible, the famous "Lion Killing" choke that took its name from this epic feat. After the beast collapsed dead, Hercules used one of its claws to skin the hide and take it as armor. They say it still retains its magical properties, rendering the owner immune to mortal weaponry. No one managed to prove the theory wrong…
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2012 13:43
During Achilles' refusal to fight in the Trojan War’s final weeks, Patroclus begged him to take his armor and pose as the legendary hero himself. Achilles agreed in order to lift the spirits of his brother warriors. However Patroclus was slain in battle by Hector and his weapons taken as spoils. Achilles' mother Thetis asked the god Hephaestus to provide replacement armor for her son.
Hephaestus lamented that he could not protect Achilles from his fate, yet then began to work on the shield, knowing that it would not save his life, but only serve him long enough to take revenge. The shield was the instrument necessary for returning to battle and winning glory, but it was also Hephaestus’ reflection on the life that Achilles had exchanged for the immortality of his legend.
After Achilles’ death and the end of the Trojan War, Ajax and Odysseus claimed the shield and the armor of Achilles as spoils of war. They competed for it by giving speeches on why they were the bravest after Achilles to their Trojan prisoners, who after considering both men came to a consensus in favor of Odysseus. Furious, Ajax cursed Odysseus, which earned the ire of Athena. Athena temporarily made Ajax so mad with grief and anguish that he began killing sheep, thinking them his comrades. After a while, when Athena lifted his madness and Ajax realized that he had actually been killing sheep, Ajax was left so ashamed that he committed suicide. Odysseus eventually gave the armor to Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2012 13:44