Cacus – The One Who Dared Cross Hercules

Cacus – The One Who Dared Cross Hercules

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According to Roman mythology, Cacus was a thief who stole from the hero Hercules (whose Greek equivalent was Heracles), which was the action that resulted in the former’s death. There are several versions of this myth, as it has been recounted by different authors.

Although not considered to be amongst the most famous Roman myths, the story of Cacus and Hercules is significant for a number of reasons. For the ancient Romans, the story served as an etiology for the cult of Hercules at the Ara Maxima. The myth may also be read as an allegory of the gradual replacement of local Italic cultures (as symbolized by Cacus) by a Hellenistic one (represented by Hercules).

Cacus the Evil

The name ‘Cacus’ is said to be derived from ancient Greek, and means ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. Indeed, in all versions of the myth, Cacus plays the role of the antagonist. In some, however, he is presented as a monstrous creature. This is seen, for example, in Virgil’s Aeneid. In the Book 8 of this epic poem, Virgil has the story of Cacus and Hercules told to Aeneas by Evander, who founded the city of Pallantium on the future site of Rome, prior to the Trojan War .

Evander describes Cacus as a “foul-featured, half-human monster” who lived in “a cave which the rays of the Sun never reached.” The cave of Cacus is believed to be situated on the Aventine Hill. Evader also informs Aeneas that Cacus was the son of Vulcan (the Roman counterpart of the Greek god Hephaestus), and that “it was his father’s black fire he vomited from his mouth as he moved his massive bulk.”

Cacus was not only a monster in form, but also in behavior. Evander states that the floor of Cacus’ cave was “always warm with freshly shed blood,” whilst “the heads of men were nailed to his proud doors and hung there pale and rotting.” Therefore, the people of the area prayed to the gods to end Caucus’ reign of terror. Their prayers were eventually answered with the arrival of Hercules, who, at that point of time, had just accomplished one of his famous Twelve Labors.

Front panel frieze from a sarcophagus with the Labors of Hercules. (Museo nazionale romano di palazzo Altemps / )

These were a series of impossible tasks that the hero had to perform as penance. Hercules had killed his wife, Megara, and their children in a fit of madness sent by Hera, and was thus forced to become a servant of Eurystheus (one Hercules’ cousins, and the king of Tiryns) for twelve years. It was Eurystheus who came up with the Twelve Labors, and imposed them on Hercules.

The Tenth Labor: Slaying of the Giant

The myth of Cacus and Hercules is associated with the Tenth Labor, which is the acquisition of the cattle of Geryon. In order to complete this task, Hercules had to travel to island of Erythia (meaning ‘red’), which is said to be located in the westernmost part of the world, near the boundary of Europe and Libya. On the island was a herd of cattle whose coats were stained red by the rays of the setting Sun. The cattle, however, belonged to a terrifying giant called Geryon.

According to the myths, Geryon was the son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe. The former was a man who had sprung from the body of the Gorgon Medusa when she was decapitated by Perseus, whilst the latter was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. The physical description of Geryon varies according to the source.

Heracles fighting Geryon, amphora by the E Group, c.540 BC. (Louvre Museum / )

In some, for instance, he is described as a giant with three heads attached to one body, whilst others state that he had three bodies. In some versions, Geryon is even said to have wings. In addition to Geryon, the cattle were guarded by herdsmen, one of whom, Eurytion, was slain by Hercules, as well as a two-headed dog called Orthus (the brother of Cerberus).

Having slain Eurytion, Orthus, and Geryon, Hercules faced no further opposition on the island, and was therefore able to begin his journey back to Tiryns with the cattle. This journey home turned out to be more troublesome than the initial theft of the cattle. Interestingly, the encounter with Cacus on the Aventine Hill in Rome was only one of the many troubles faced by Hercules as he brought the cattle before Eurystheus.

Hercules driving off the cattle of Geryon, at the right are the nymphs of Hesperides. (Giulio Bonasone (c.1531) / )

For example, in Liguria (in northwest Italy), two of Poseidon’s sons tried to steal the cattle, so Hercules killed them. In another instance, one of the cattle broke loose, and swam to the island of Sicily from Rhegium (in southern Sicily), before wandering off to a neighboring country. Apparently, the native word for ‘bull’ was ‘italus’, and hence the whole country became known as Italy.

Finally, as Hercules arrived at the edge of the Ionian Sea, and was on the verge of completing his labor, Hera sent a gadfly to attack the cattle, causing the herd to scatter far and wide. As a consequence, Hercules was forced to wander around Thrace in search of the missing cattle, before he could return home.

Theft From Under the Nose of Hercules

The story of Hercules’ journey from Erythia back to Tiryns with the cattle of Geryon shows that the hero travelled along the length of the Italian Peninsula. Therefore, it would not have been difficult for the Cacus episode to be inserted into this myth. According to Evander, when the herd was grazing in the valley, and drinking from the river, Cacus “stole from the pasture four magnificent bulls and as many lovely heifers”, and brought the animals to his cave.

Cacus, however, knew that Hercules would come looking for the stolen cattle. Therefore, in order to prevent any hoofprints from pointing to his cave, thereby revealing the location of the cattle, he “dragged them in by their tails to reverse the tracks”.

In the meantime, the remaining cattle had finished grazing, and Hercules was moving them out of the pasture, and prepared to continue on his journey. It was at this moment that Cacus’ theft of the cattle was revealed, “the cows began to low plaintively at leaving the place, filling the whole grove with their complaints, and bellowing to the hills they were leaving behind them. Then, deep in the cave, a single cow lowed in reply. Cacus had guarded her well, but she thwarted his hopes.”

Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli (1525–34), Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy. ( VarnakovR / Adobe stock)

Hercules’ Wrath Was Felt

The furious Hercules went after Cacus, who fled in terror back to his cave, and shut its entrance by jamming the doorposts with a huge rock. This proved to be a challenge, even for the mighty Hercules, “there was Hercules in a passion, trying every approach, turning his head this way and that and grinding his teeth. Three times he went around the whole of Mount Aventine in his anger. Three times he tried to force the great rock doorway without success. Three times he sat down exhausted in the valley.”

Having failed to move the stone from the entrance, Hercules climbed to the top of the cave, and unroofed it. There was no escape for Cacus, and a battle was fought between him and Hercules, “so Cacus was caught in the sudden rush of light and trapped in his cavern in the rock, howling as never before, while Hercules bombarded him from above with any missile that came to hand, belaboring him with branches of trees and rocks the size of millstones.

There was no escape for him now, but he vomited thick smoke from his monstrous throat and rolled clouds of it all round his den to blot it from sight. Deep in his cave he churned out fumes as black as night and the darkness was shot through with fire. Hercules was all past patience. He threw himself straight down, leaping through the flames where the smoke spouted thickest and the black cloud boiled in the vast cavern. There, as Cacus vainly belched his fire in the darkness, Hercules caught him in a grip and held him, forcing his eyes out of their sockets and squeezing his throat till the blood was dry in it.

Engraving of Hercules killing Cacus at his cave, from The Labors of Hercules. (Hans Sebald Beham (c.1525) / )

After slaying Cacus, Hercules opened the cave, and brought his cattle out. He also dragged the corpse out into the open for all to see. The death of Cacus was celebrated by the local population, who honored Hercules as a hero from then onwards, “ever since that time we have honored his name and succeeding generations have celebrated this day with rejoicing. This altar was set up in its grove by Potitius, the first founder of these rites of Hercules, and by the Pinarii, the guardians of the rites. We shall always call it the greatest altar, and the greatest altar it will always be.”

Varying Accounts: Just an Ordinary Shepperd?

The myth of Cacus and Hercules is found not only in Virgil’s Aeneid, but also in other Roman sources, such as Ovid’s Fasti, and Livy’s History of Rome . It may be mentioned, however, that there is no evidence for the existence of this myth prior to the Augustan period. Thus, it has been suggested that the myth may have been a recent invention, although it deals with the earliest history of Rome.

Interestingly, elements of Greek mythology can be detected in the story. For instance, the theft of Hercules’ cattle bears similarities to the theft of Apollo’s cattle by Hermes. It has also been argued that the myth may have been inspired by an obscure myth, in which Sisyphus steals the Mares of Diomedes (Hercules’ Eighth Labor). The comparison with Hermes and Sisyphus casts Cacus in a different light, i.e. as a cunning rogue, rather than a brutish monster.

Hermes and Apollo with the cattle in the background. (Francesco Albani / )

Although Virgil paints Cacus as a terrifying monster, this is not always the case with the other Roman writers. In Livy’s account, for example, Cacus is said to be a local shepherd who desired Hercules’ cattle, and therefore committed the theft.

Livy also explains how this ordinary shepherd was able to steal from the great hero, “he [Hercules] swam across the Tiber, driving the oxen before him, and wearied with his journey, lay down in a grassy place near the river to rest himself and the oxen, who enjoyed the rich pasture. When sleep had overtaken him, as he was heavy with food and wine, a shepherd living near, called Cacus, presuming on his strength, and captivated by the beauty of the oxen, determined to secure them.”

Like Virgil’s Cacus, Livy’s shepherd also drags the cattle into his cave by their tails, thereby concealing their tracks. Likewise, it was the lowing of the animals from inside the cave that revealed their hidden location. As a consequence, Hercules went to the cave, and Cacus was killed as he tried to stop the hero from entering it, “as Cacus tried to prevent him by force from entering the cave, he was killed by a blow from Hercules’ club, after vainly appealing for help to his comrades.”

Hercules beating Cacus with his club with the cattle behind him. (Marten Ryckaert / )

The story continues with the establishment of Hercules’ cult. This time, however, the hero is honored not because he vanquished a monster, but because of a prophecy. Evander, whom Livy claimed was the king at that time, was the son of a prophetess by the name of Carmenta, who prophesized that Hercules would one day become a god.

Therefore, after meeting Hercules, Evander decided to build a shrine for him, an offer which the hero accepted, “Hercules grasped Evander's right hand and said that he took the omen to himself and would fulfil the prophecy by building and consecrating the altar. Then a heifer of conspicuous beauty was taken from the herd, and the first sacrifice was offered; the Potitii and Pinarii, the two principal families in those parts, were invited by Hercules to assist in the sacrifice and at the feast which followed.”

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The Myth’s Legacy

Although the myth of Cacus and Hercules is not very well-known in modern times, it was an important one for the ancient Romans. This myth served as the foundation story of the Ara Maxima, the oldest cult center of Hercules in Rome. Although the monument is no longer in existence, it is believed that it once stood in the eastern part of the Forum Boarium (ancient Rome’s cattle market), not far from the so-called Temple of Hercules Victor.

The myth may also be interpreted as an allegory, in which the local Italic cultures, which were considered to be less advanced, were replaced by the more sophisticated culture of the Greeks. Alternatively, it may be argued that the story was meant to depict the Romans as the rightful successors of the Greek civilization.

Olivier Levasseur

Olivier Levasseur (1688, 1689, or 1690 – 7 July 1730), was a French pirate, nicknamed La Buse ("The Buzzard") or La Bouche ("The Mouth") in his early days for the speed and ruthlessness with which he always attacked his enemies as well as his ability to verbally attack his opponents. He is known for allegedly hiding one of the biggest treasures in pirate history, estimated at over £1 billion, and leaving a cryptogram behind with clues to its whereabouts.

Born at Calais during the Nine Years' War (1688–1697) to a wealthy bourgeois family, Levasseur became a naval officer after receiving an excellent education. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), he procured a letter of marque from King Louis XIV and became a privateer for the French crown. When the war ended he was ordered to return home with his ship, but he instead joined the Benjamin Hornigold pirate company in 1716. Though he already had a scar across one eye limiting his sight, Levasseur proved himself a good leader and shipmate.

After a year of successful looting, the Hornigold party split, Levasseur partnering briefly with Samuel Bellamy [1] before deciding to try his luck on the Brazilian Coast on board a stolen 22 gun Merchant frigate La Louise. He attacked many boats and ships on his way to the South of Brazil, most notably a Slave ship coming from Angola, whose crew was abandoned to sink in their ship after it was robbed and damaged. He then abandoned 240 stolen slaves on an island off Macae (next to Rio de Janeiro) before a Portuguese armed boat gave him chase. After skirmishes with the Brazilian and Portuguese at Ilha Grande and Ubatuba, where ten pirates were killed, La Louise took shelter in Cananeia for some days. There Levasseur was informed of a rich French merchantman in the nearby bay of Paranagua. While giving it chase, La Louise was caught in a storm off Cotinga Island and sank on 9 March 1718, with the death of about 80 of its crew. Levasseur escaped on a small brigantine that escorted his ship, and from there went South to Sao Francisco do Sul where he robbed a boat full of cassava flour, to feed the surviving crew, sailing back to Cananeia. The pirates then sailed further North preying on ships again. Later, Levasseur reappeared in the Caribbean in June of that year in a smaller vessel that he managed to steal on his way back from Brazil, but was almost captured by HMS Scarborough under the command of Captain Hume, and fled with much of his valuables to the Caribbean area in a smaller sloop. [2] He later joined his former associates. After William Moody was ejected from command by his disgruntled crew in late 1718, they elected Levasseur as captain in Moody's place. [3] In 1719, he operated together with Howell Davis and Thomas Cocklyn (who had also served under Moody) for a time. In 1720, they attacked the slaver port of Ouidah, Kingdom of Whydah (on the coast of what is now Benin), reducing the local fortress to ruins. Later that year, he was shipwrecked in the Mozambique Channel and stranded on the island of Anjouan in the Comores. His bad eye had become completely blind by now, so he started wearing an eyepatch.

From 1720 onwards, Levasseur launched his raids from a base on the island of Sainte-Marie, just off the coast of Madagascar, together with pirates John Taylor, Jasper Seagar, [4] and Edward England. The Great Mughal's heavily armed but also heavily laden pilgrim ships to Mecca sailed these seas. Levasseur's quartermaster at this time was Paulsgrave Williams, who had been Bellamy's quartermaster and fellow captain until Bellamy was killed in a storm off Cape Cod. [5] They first plundered the Laccadives, and sold the loot to Dutch traders for £75,000. Levasseur and Taylor eventually got tired of England's humanity and marooned him on the island of Mauritius.

They then perpetrated one of piracy's greatest exploits: the capture of the Portuguese great galleon Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape) or Virgem Do Cabo (The Virgin of the Cape), which was loaded full of treasures belonging to the Bishop of Goa, also called the Patriarch of the East Indies, and the Viceroy of Portugal, who were both on board returning home to Lisbon. The pirates were able to board the vessel without firing a single broadside because the Cabo had been damaged in a storm to avoid capsizing the crew had dumped all 72 cannons overboard, then anchored off Réunion island to undergo repairs. (This incident would later be used by Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel Treasure Island, in which the galleon is referred to as The Viceroy of the Indies in the account given by his famed fictional character Long John Silver).

The booty consisted of bars of gold and silver, dozens of boxes full of golden Guineas, diamonds, pearls, silk, art, and religious objects from the Se Cathedral in Goa, including the Flaming Cross of Goa, made of pure gold and inlaid with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. It was so heavy that it required three men to carry it to Levasseur's ship. In fact, the treasure was so huge that the pirates did not bother to rob the persons of the ship's passengers, something they normally would have done.

When the loot was divided, each pirate received at least £50,000 worth of golden Guineas, as well as 42 diamonds each. Seagar died when they sailed to Madagascar to divide their take [4] Levasseur and Taylor split the remaining gold, silver, and other objects, with Levasseur taking the golden cross.

In 1724, Levasseur sent a negotiator to the governor on the island of Bourbon (present-day Réunion) to discuss an amnesty that had been offered to all pirates in the Indian Ocean who would give up their practice. However, the French government wanted a large part of the stolen loot back, so Levasseur decided to avoid the amnesty and settled down in secret on the Seychelles archipelago. Eventually he was captured near Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. He was then taken to Saint-Denis, Réunion, and hanged for piracy at 5 PM on 7 July 1730.

Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1 Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., Ed.

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[p. 27] His first act was to fortify the Palatine, on which 3 he had himself been reared. To other gods he sacrificed after the Alban custom, but employed the Greek for Hercules, according to the institution of Evander. [ 4 ] The story is as follows: Hercules, after slaying Geryones, was driving off his wondrously beautiful cattle, when, close to the river Tiber, where he had swum across it with the herd before him, he found a green spot, where he could let the cattle rest and refresh themselves with the abundant grass and being tired from his journey he lay down himself. [ 5 ] When he had there fallen into a deep sleep, for he was heavy with food and wine, a shepherd by the name of Cacus, who dwelt hard by and was insolent by reason of his strength, was struck with the beauty of the animals, and wished to drive them off as plunder. But if he had driven the herd into his cave, their tracks would have been enough to guide their owner to the place in his search he therefore chose out those of the cattle that were most remarkable for their beauty, and turning them the other way, dragged them into the cave by their tails. [ 6 ] At daybreak Hercules awoke. Glancing over the herd, and perceiving that a part of their number was lacking, he proceeded to the nearest cave, in case there might be foot-prints leading into it. When he saw that they were all turned outward and yet did not lead to any other place, he was confused and bewildered, and made ready to drive his herd away from that uncanny spot. [ 7 ] As the cattle were being driven off, some of them lowed, as usually happens, missing those which had been left behind. They were answered with a low by the cattle shut up in the cave, and this made Hercules turn back. When he came towards the [p. 29] cave, Cacus would have prevented his approach with 4 force, but received a blow from the hero's club, and calling in vain upon the shepherds to protect him, gave up the ghost. [ 8 ] Evander, an exile from the Peloponnese, controlled that region in those days, more through personal influence than sovereign power. He was a man revered for his wonderful invention of letters, 5 a new thing to men unacquainted with the arts, and even more revered because of the divinity which men attributed to his mother Carmenta, whom those tribes had admired as a prophetess before the Sibyl's coming into Italy. [ 9 ] Now this Evander was then attracted by the concourse of shepherds, who, crowding excitedly about the stranger, were accusing him as a murderer caught red-handed. When he had been told about the deed and the reason for it, and had marked the bearing of the man and his figure, which was somewhat ampler and more august than a mortal's, he inquired who lie was. [ 10 ] Upon learning his name, his father, and his birth-place, he exclaimed, “Hail, Hercules, son of Jupiter! You are he, of whom my mother, truthful interpreter of Heaven, foretold to me that you should be added to the number of the gods, and that an altar should be dedicated to you here which the nation one day to [ 11 ] be the most powerful on earth should call the Greatest Altar, and should serve according to your rite.” [ 12 ] Hercules gave him his hand, and declared that he accepted the omen, and would fulfil the prophecy by establishing and dedicating an altar. Then and there men took a choice victim from the herd, and for the first time made sacrifice to Hercules. [ 13 ] For the ministry and the banquet they employed the Potitii and the Pinarii, being the families [p. 31] of most distinction then living in that region. It so 6 fell out that the Potitii were there at the appointed time, and to them were served the inwards the Pinarii came after the inwards had been eaten, in season for the remainder of the feast. [ 14 ] Thence came the custom, which persisted as long as the Pinarian family endured, that they should not partake of the inwards at that sacrifice. The Potitii, instructed by Evander, were priests of this cult for many generations, until, having delegated to public slaves the solemn function of their family, the entire stock of the Potitii died out. [ 15 ] This was the only sacred observance, of all those of foreign origin, which Romulus then adopted, honouring even then the immortality won by worth to which his own destiny was leading him. 7

2 A form of the legend preserved by Dion. Hal. i. 87, and Ovid, Fasti, iv. 843, names Celer, whom Romulus had put in charge of the rising wall, as the slayer of Remus.

5 Evander is said to have invented the Roman alphabet.

7 For the story of Cacus and the origin of the Ara Maxima see also Virgil, Aen. viii. 182-279 Prop. iv. 9 Ovid, Fasti, i. 543-586.

Book IV.2:1-64 The God Vertumnus

‘Why marvel at the many shapes of my one body? Learn the native tokens of the god Vertumnus. I am a Tuscan born of Tuscans, and do not regret abandoning Volsinii’s hearths in battle. This crowd of mine delights me, I enjoy no ivory temple: it’s enough that I oversee the Roman Forum.

Tiber once took its course here, and they say the sound of oars was heard over beaten waters: but once he had given so much ground to his adopted children, I was named the god Vertumnus from the river’s winding (verso) or because I receive the first fruits of returning (vertentis) spring, you believe them a ‘return’ for your sacrifice to Vertumnus.

The first grape changes hue, for me, in darkening bunches, and hairy ears of corn swell with milky grains. Here you see sweet cherries, autumn plums, and mulberries redden through summer days. Here the grafter pays his vows with apple garlands, when the unwilling pear stock has borne fruit.

Be silent echoing rumour: there’s another pointer to my name: believe the god who speaks about himself. My nature is adaptable to every form: turn me (verte) into whatever you wish: I’ll be noble. Clothe me in Coan silk, I’ll be no bad girl: and when I wear the toga who’ll say I am no man? Give me a scythe and tie twists of hay on my forehead: you can swear the grass was cut by my hand. Once I carried weapons, I remember, and was praised: yet I was a reaper when burdened by the basket’s weight.

I’m sober for the law: but when the garland’s there, you’ll cry out that wine’s gone to my head. Circle my brow with a turban I’ll impersonate Bacchus’s form: if you’ll give me his lyre I’ll impersonate Apollo. Loaded down with my nets I hunt: but with limed reed I’m the patron god of wildfowling.

Vertumnus has also a charioteer’s likeness, and of him who lightly leaps from horse to horse. Supply me with rod and I’ll catch fish, or go as a neat pedlar with trailing tunic. I can bend like a shepherd over his crook, or carry baskets of roses through the dust. Why should I add, what is my greatest fame that the garden’s choice gifts are given into my hands? Dark-green cucumbers, gourds with swollen bellies, and the cabbages tied with light rushes mark me out: no flower of the field grows that is not placed on my brow, and fittingly droops before me. Because my single shape becomes (vertebar) all my native tongue from that gave me my name.

And Rome, you gave rewards to my Tuscans, (from whom the Vicus Tuscus, the Tuscan Way takes its name today) at the time when Lygmon came with armed allies, and crushed fierce Tatius’ Sabine soldiers. I saw the broken ranks, the abandoned weapons, and the enemy turn their backs in shameful flight. Seed of the Gods, grant that the toga’d crowds of Rome may pass before my feet forever.

Six lines should yet be added: you, who hurry to answer bail, I’ll not delay you: this is your last mark on the way.

I was a maple stock, cut by a swift sickle: before Numa, I was a humble god in a grateful city. But, Mamurius, creator of my bronze statue, let the rough earth never spoil your skilful hands that were able to cast me for such peaceful use. The work is unrepeated, but the honour the work is given that is not.’

Their relationship today

From the moment they met, it was clear that their love was going to last. Gifts are not the most important thing in a relationship, but Seville has dedicated many to the demigod. Hercules is still present in many places in the capital and in different ways.

Arch with the figure of Hercules Seville City Hall. | Shutterstock

The most remarkable is in the Seville City Hall in Plaza Nueva, which has a statue commemorating the figure of the founder in the arch. In the front also appear the two columns of Hercules. Yes, the ones that point to the location of Atlantis. Finally, the architectural element became a sign of Seville and Andalusia. So important is this demigod in the Andalusian community that it is also represented in its flag.

The Alameda de Hercules is not only named in honor of this heroic navigator who later became a demigod. Among the tribute are the columns that decorate the space. Crowning the top of one of them is Hercules overlooking everything he once saw and fell in love with for the first time. This characteristic square is an must visit if you step on Sevillian territory. It is also a meeting place on terraces or benches for the joy of the inhabitants of the Andalusian capital.

But it does not end there. In this story there is a hero protagonist loved by his city. All that is missing is a wall and dragons. Dragons certainly not, but there was a wall. Seville was surrounded in the Roman period by one, of which there are still remains in the old town next to the Real Alcazar. The gate was located in the mythical Sevillian square of Puerta Jerez. On a plaque on its door, already mentioned, one could read: “Hercules founded me, Julius Caesar surrounded me with walls and high towers and the Holy King won me with Garci Perez de Vargas“. Therefore, the current plaque.

Column of Hercules in the Alameda de Hercules in Seville. | Shutterstock

This relationship is the perfect example that myth and reality can go hand in hand. Or that opposites attract. What is a reality is the magic of walking around smelling the orange blossom of Seville. It is not a coincidence. It was founded not by a mortal, but by a hero, and that can be breathed in its streets. A mutual crush, a consolidated relationship.


As one of the most significant mythical creatures in Greek mythology , Pegasus, the winged horse was the offspring of Poseidon and Gorgon Medusa.

Simultaneously with his brother Chrysaor, Pegasus was given birth when Perseus killed his mother.

Some accounts suggest that these two creatures were born from the blood coming out of Medusa’s neck while others suggest that they were born from the Earth when Medusa’s blood fell onto it.

A third version of the story suggests that they were born from the mixture of sea foam, pain and Medusa’s blood implying that Poseidon played a role in their birth.

If the Palatine Hill was a person I could talk to, the first thing I would say would be “thank you”! All the Seven Hills that compose Rome’s landscape are deeply connected to how the city developed and how Romans lived, but without the Palatine Hill in specific, there would be no history to be told.

According to Roman mythology, it was in the Palatine Hill that Rome was born, which was confirmed over two millennials later when archaeologists found remains of Rome’s oldest stones at the hill. But giving birth to the Eternal City is not its only remarkable fact. During the Roman Empire, the Palatine Hill was also one of the most important locations in Rome, being both the home of many aristocrats and emperors and the venue of religious events.

The green and quiet hill is open for visitation upon the acquisition of a ticket, but before you wander around the houses of Livia and Augustus, the palace of Domitian, the Temple of Apollo Palatinus and many other monuments, let me introduce a quick history of the Palatine Hill in Rome to you.

Palatine Hill in Roman mythology

Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus discovered by Faustulus by Arnold Houbraken – WikiCommons

You most probably have already heard the story of Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were rescued by a she-wolf after being left to die as newborns in the Tiber River. According to legend, when the twins were rescued, the she-wolf suckled them in a cave at the Palatine Hill. The boys were later found and adopted by a shepherd named Faustulus and his wife.

When they grew older, Romulus and Remus became shepherds like their adoptive father. One day, Remus engaged in a fight with other shepherds loyal to King Amulius, king of Alba Longa, and was taken to the palace as a prisoner. Romulus assaulted the palace with the help of other shepherds, rescued his brother and killed king Amulius.

Capitoline Wolf. Photo by Andy Montgomery – Flickr

Instead of taking over Alba Longa, Romulus and Remus gave the throne back to King Numitor – from whom Amulius had usurped it – and decided to found their own city. However, the brothers didn’t agree on the location of the new city: while Romulus wanted to build it at the Palatine Hill, Remus wanted to build it at the Aventine Hill. After a fight on who had the support of the gods, Romulus killed his brother, founded the new city at the Palatine Hill and became its first king. He named the city Rome after himself.

Although the legend speaks of the time of the foundation of Rome, which allegedly happened in 753 BC according to ancient Roman scholar Varro Reatinus, its earliest written record is from the 3 rd century BC, and little is known about the origins of the myth.


The photo of the excavated cave beneath on the Palatine Hill, believed to be the Lupercal. The photo was taken with a remote sensing device – WikiCommons

In 2007, a cave was found underneath the House of Livia during renovation works. The cave is decorated with mosaics, seashells and marble, and has the picture of a white eagle at the center of the ceiling, which was the symbol of the Roman Empire.

Italian archaeologist Irene Iacopi announced at the time that he had found the cave where Romulus and Remus were suckled by the she-wolf. Other scholars, however, affirm the grotto was more likely a nymphaeum or a formal dining room, and that the legendary one would be located more on the south. The cave is now known as Lupercal.

Hercules and Cacus

Monument by Baccio Bandinelli – Hercules and Cacus, Piazza della Signoria, Florence – WikiCommons

Another myth involving the Palatine Hill is that of Hercules and Cacus. Before the foundation of Rome, Cacus – the fire-breathing giant son of the god of fire – used to live in a cave in the Aventine Hill and feed on human flesh.

One day, Hercules passed by the Aventine and, in a minute of distraction, had some animals from his cattle stolen by Cacus. Hercules would have killed the giant at the Palatine with such a hard strike that a cleft was open on the southeast part of the hill, where an ancient staircase was built.

Archaeological discoveries and history

The Palatine Hill has been inhabited for a really long time. Modern archaeology has found evidences of Bronze Age settlements at the Palatine prior to the foundation of Rome. With all the traces of human settlements, archaeologists have collected enough indications that the city was indeed founded at the Palatine around the 8 th and the 9 th century BC, as Varro had suggested.

Imperial palaces

According to Italian historian Titus Livius (64 BC or 59 BC – 12 AD or 17 AD), after the Sabines and Albans moved to the city, the Palatine was mainly inhabited by original Romans. During the Republican Period, the hill was the home of many aristocrats and important figures. The same happened during the Roman Empire, when a number of emperors established their palaces at the Palatine Hill.

House of Augustus (Domus Augusti), South wall of the Mask Room, 2nd Pompeian style, Palatine Hill, Rome – by Carole Raddato – WikiCommons

Historians believe that emperors built their palaces at the hill because living at the place first chosen by Romulus would legitimate and strengthen their power. During your visit, you can see the ruins of the Houses of Augustus and Livia, the first emperor of Rome and his wife the House of Tiberius, son of Livia and stepson of Augustus, and second emperor of Rome and the Palace of Domitian, last member of the Flavian Dynasty.

Religious temples

Remains of the temple of Apollo on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Photo by ”Antmoose / Anthony M”

But the Palatine was not just a residential area. Religious temples were also built there.

One of the most important temples ever built at the site was the Magna Mater Cybele. Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess associate by the Greek to nature, fertility, mountains, towns and city walls. The Romans called her Magna Mater (Great Mother) and built the first Roman temple dedicated to her at the Palatine Hill in 191 BC.

The Temple of Magna Mater Cybele was unfortunately destroyed in 394 AD, but the Palatine Hill still holds some of its ruins, as well as the ruins of the Temple of Apollo Palatinus, which was built in 28 BC.

Renascence gardens

Giovanni Battista Falda, Pianta del giardino del duca di Parma su l’Monte Palatino, da G.B. Falda, Li giardini di Roma, 1683. Courtesy Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

In 1550, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese acquired some of the Palatine Hill’s northern area. He filled in some ruins of the Palace of Tiberius and built on top of them one of the first private botanical gardens in Europe, the Farnese Gardens.

The gardens were home for many exotic plants and birds, some of them brought for the first time to Europe from the American continent, which contributed to its popularity and prestige. However, they suffered from a long period of decline in the 18 th century as the male branch of the Farnese family disappeared.

Farnese Gardens by Giuseppe Vasi (1761)

At the time, men at the Farnese family, who ruled the Ducky of Parma, transferred the succession of the ducky to the female line through Elisabeth Farnese, who’d later become Queen of Spain. Her son, Infante Felipe, got married to the French princess Marie Louise Elisabeth of France, member of the House of Bourbon, and founded the House of Bourbon-Parma. The Farnese Gardens then became property of the Bourbon of Naples, who had little interest in their maintenance.

Nowadays, the gardens have little of the magnificent structure they once had. However, thanks to a thorough restoration work that started in 2013, there are lots of beautiful and interesting things to see. Restauration was concluded in 2018 and the gardens reopened after more than 30 years closed to the public.

How to visit the Palatine Hill

If you have a ticket to the Colosseum, then you can also visit the Palatine Hill. That’s because the tickets to the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum are actually the same. The combined ticket gives you access to the three Roman sites within 48 hours.

During your visit to the Palatine Hill, you may also enter the Palatine Museum. No additional ticket is required. The museum was established where once stood the Monastery of the Visitation, built by the Catholic Church in 1868 over the ruins of Domitian’s palace. The museum holds many artifacts collected during two centuries of excavations in the Palatine, including pre-Rome Iron-Age objects and Roman statues.

The Palatine’s entrance and ticket office are on the right side of the Colosseum, a five-minute walk past the Arch of Costantino, at Via di San Gregorio.

Arch of Constantine and Palatine Hill by Sonse – Flickr


Now that you know its history, you are ready to fully enjoy a walk across the Palatine Hill! Don’t forget to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes and bring a bottle of water with you. You’ll certainly spend long hours in that magic place.


Mariana is a journalist passionate about the world and the history of humanity. For her, Rome is an endless source of inspiration where people become as eternal as the city. She is always wandering around its ruins, catacombs, monuments, museums and art galleries, and loves writing about what she sees. At night, she can be easily spotted bar hopping, always with a good Italian beer in hand.

Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold the primary power over women and their families in regards to the tradition, law, division of labor, and education women can take part in. [1] Women used cross-dressing to pass as men in order to live adventurous lives outside of the home, which were unlikely to occur while living as women. [2] Women who engaged in cross-dressing in earlier centuries were lower-class women who would gain access to economic independence as well as freedom to travel risking little of what they had. [3] Cross-dressing that consisted of women dressing as men had more positive attitudes than vice versa. Altenburger states that female-to-male cross-dressing depicted a movement forward in terms of social status, power, and freedom. [2]

Men who cross-dressed were looked down upon because they automatically lost status when dressed as a woman. [4] It was also said that men would cross-dress to gain access around women for their own sexual desire. [4]

Greek Edit

  • In punishment for his murder of Iphitus, Heracles/Hercules was given to Omphale as a slave. Many variants of this story say that she not only compelled him to do women's work, but compelled him to dress as a woman while her slave.
  • In Achilles on Skyros, Achilles was dressed in women's clothing by his mother Thetis at the court of Lycomedes, to hide him from Odysseus who wanted him to join the Trojan War. often goes to the aid of people in the guise of men in The Odyssey. was turned into a woman after angering the goddess Hera by killing a female snake that was coupling.
  • In the cult of Aphroditus, worshipers cross-dressed, men wore women's clothing and women dressed in men's clothing with false beards.

Norse Edit

    dressed as Freyja to get Mjölnir back in Þrymskviða. dressed as a female healer as part of his efforts to seduce Rindr. in the legend of Hagbard and Signy (the Romeo and Juliet of the Vikings). dressed as a shieldmaiden in one of his eastern campaigns. from the Hervarar saga. When Hervor learnt that her father had been the infamous Swedish berserker Angantyr, she dressed as a man, called herself Hjörvard and lived for a long time as a Viking.

Hindu Edit

  • The Mahabharata: In the Agnyatbaas ("exile") period of one year imposed upon the Pandavas, in which they had to keep their identities secret to avoid detection, Arjuna cross-dressed as Brihannala and became a dance teacher.
  • The goddess Bahuchara Mata: In one legend, Bapiya was cursed by her and he became impotent. The curse was lifted only when he worshiped her by dressing and acting like a woman.
  • Devotees of the god Krishna: Some male devotees of the god Krishna, specifically a sect called the sakhi bekhi, dress in female attire as an act of devotion. [5] Krishna and his consort Radha had cross-dressed in each other's clothing. Krishna is also said to have dressed as a gopi and a kinnari goddess. [6]

Ballads have many cross-dressing heroines. While some (The Famous Flower of Serving-Men) merely need to move about freely, many do it specifically in pursuit of a lover (Rose Red and the White Lily or Child Waters) and consequently pregnancy often complicates the disguise. In the Chinese poem the Ballad of Mulan, Hua Mulan disguised herself as a man to take her elderly father's place in the army.

Occasionally, men in ballads also disguise themselves as women, but not only is it rarer, the men dress so for less time, because they are merely trying to elude an enemy by the disguise, as in Brown Robin, The Duke of Athole's Nurse, or Robin Hood and the Bishop. According to Gude Wallace, William Wallace disguised himself as a woman to escape capture, which may have been based on historical information.

Fairy tales seldom feature cross-dressing, but an occasional heroine needs to move freely as a man, as in the German The Twelve Huntsmen, the Scottish The Tale of the Hoodie, or the Russian The Lute Player. Madame d'Aulnoy included such a woman in her literary fairy tale, Belle-Belle ou Le Chevalier Fortuné.

In the cities Techiman and Wenchi (both Ghana) men dress as women – and vice versa – during the annual Apoo festival (April/May).

Cross-dressing as a literary motif is well attested in older literature but is becoming increasingly popular in modern literature as well. [7] It is often associated with character nonconformity and sexuality rather than gender identity. [8]

Many societies prohibited women from performing on stage, so boys and men took the female roles. In the ancient Greek theatre men played females, as they did in English Renaissance theatre and continue to do in Japanese kabuki theatre (see onnagata).

Cross-dressing in motion pictures began in the early days of the silent films. Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel brought the tradition of female impersonation in the English music halls when they came to America with Fred Karno's comedy troupe in 1910. Both Chaplin and Laurel occasionally dressed as women in their films. Even the beefy American actor Wallace Beery appeared in a series of silent films as a Swedish woman. The Three Stooges, especially Curly (Jerry Howard), sometimes appeared in drag in their short films. The tradition has continued for many years, usually played for laughs. Only in recent decades have there been dramatic films in which cross-dressing was included, possibly because of strict censorship of American films until the mid-1960s.

Cross-gender acting, on the other hand, refers to actors or actresses portraying a character of the opposite gender.

Medieval Europe Edit

It was once considered taboo in Western society for women to wear clothing traditionally associated with men, except when done in certain circumstances such as cases of necessity (as per St. Thomas Aquinas's guidelines in Summa Theologiae II), which states: "Nevertheless this may be done sometimes without sin on account of some necessity, either in order to hide oneself from enemies, or through lack of other clothes, or for some similar motive." [9] Cross-dressing is cited as an abomination in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy (22:5), which states: "A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this", [10] but as Aquinas noted above this principle was interpreted to be based on context. Other people in the Middle Ages occasionally disputed its applicability for instance, the 15th-century French poet Martin le Franc, wrote:

Don't you see that it was forbidden
That anyone should eat of an animal
Unless it had a cleft foot
And chewed its cud?
To eat of a hare no one dared
Neither of sow nor of piglet,
Yet should you now be offered any,
You would take many a morsel. [11]

Historical figures Edit

Famous historical examples of cross-dressing people include:

Many people have engaged in cross-dressing during wartime under various circumstances and for various motives. This has been especially true of women, whether while serving as a soldier in otherwise all-male armies, while protecting themselves or disguising their identity in dangerous circumstances, or for other purposes. Conversely, men would dress as women to avoid being drafted, the mythological precedent for this being Achilles hiding at the court of Lycomedes dressed as a girl to avoid participation in the Trojan War.

  • Several tales of the Desert Fathers speak of monks who were disguised women, and being discovered only when their bodies were prepared for burial. One such woman, Marina the Monk, died 508, accompanied her father to a monastery and adopted a monk's habit as a disguise. When falsely accused of getting a woman pregnant, she patiently bore the accusation rather than revealing her identity to clear her name, an action praised in medieval books of saints' lives as an example of humble forbearance.
  • In monarchies where the throne was inherited by male offspring, male descendants of deposed rulers were sometimes dressed as female so that they would be allowed to live. One example was the son of KoreanPrincess Gyeonghye, herself the daughter of a former king, who was dressed in female clothes in his early years to fool his great uncle into thinking he was not a male descendant of Munjong. [12]
  • The legend of Pope Joan alleges that she was a promiscuous female pope who dressed like a man and reigned from 855 to 858. Modern historians regard her as a mythical figure who originated from 13th-century anti-papal satire. [13]

Spain and Latin America Edit

Catalina de Erauso (1592–1650), known as la monja alférez "the Nun Lieutenant", was a Spanish woman who, after being forced to enter a convent, escaped from it disguised as a man, fled to America and enrolled herself in the Spanish army under the false name of Alonso Díaz Ramírez de Guzmán. [14] She served under several captains, including her own brother, and was never discovered. She was said to behave as an extremely bold soldier, although she had a successful career, reaching the rank of alférez (lieutenant) and becoming quite well known in the Americas. After a fight in which she killed a man, she was severely injured, and fearing her end, she confessed her true sex to a bishop. She nonetheless survived, and there was a huge scandal afterwards, specially since as a man she had become quite famous in the Americas, and because nobody had ever suspected anything about her true sex. Nevertheless, thanks to the scandal and her fame as a brave soldier, she became a celebrity. She went back to Spain, and was even granted a special dispensation by the pope to wear men's clothes. She started using the male name of Antonio de Erauso, and went back to the America, where she served in the army till her death in 1650.

Scandinavia Edit

Ulrika Eleonora Stålhammar was a Swedish woman who served as a soldier during the Great Northern War and married a woman.

United States Edit

The history of cross-dressing in the United States is quite complicated as the title of ‘cross-dresser’ has been historically been utilized as an umbrella term for varying identities such as cisgender people who dressed in the other gender’s clothing, transgender people, and intersex people who dress in both genders’ clothing. [15] The term pops up in many arrest records for these identities as they are perceived to be a form of ‘disguise’ rather than a gender identity. For example, Harry Allen (1888-1922), born female under the name Nell Pickerell in the Pacific Northwest, was categorized as a ‘male impersonator’ who cross-dressed, rather than as a transgender male which is how he identified. [16]

Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, colonial governor of New York and New Jersey in the early 18th century is reported to have enjoyed going out wearing his wife's clothing, but this is disputed. [17] Hyde was an unpopular figure, and rumors of his cross-dressing may have begun as an urban legend.

Because female enlistment was barred, many women fought for both the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War while dressed as men.

Other contemporary cross-dressing artists include J.S.G. Boggs.

The Gold Rush of 1849 led to a mass global migration of mainly male laborers to Northern California and the development of government backed economic interests in the Pacific Northwest region of the modern United States. The sudden explosive population increase resulted in a huge demand to import commodities including food, tools, sex, and entertainment, to these new male-oriented, homogeneous societies. As these societies evolved over the following decades, the growing demand for entertainment created a unique opportunity for male cross-dressers to perform. Cross-dressing was encouraged for entertainment purposes due to lack of women, yet the tolerance for the acts were limited to on-stage roles and did not extend to gender identities or same-sex desires. Julian Eltinge (1881-1941), a ‘female impersonator’ who performed in saloons in Montana as a kid and eventually made it to the Broadway stage, exemplifies this limited social acceptance for cross-dressing. His cross-dressing performances were celebrated by laborers who were starved for entertainment, yet his career was put at risk when he was exposed for exhibiting homosexual desires and behaviors. [15]

Cross-dressing was not just reserved for men on stage. It also played a crucial role in the development of female involvement in the United States’ industrial labor force. Many female-born workers dressed in men’s clothing to secure a laborer’s wage to provide for their families. Testimonial accounts from cross-dressing women who had been arrested reflect that many chose to identify as male due to financial incentives, even though basic cross-dressing had been deemed immoral and could lead to legal consequences. Women also chose to cross-dress because they feared they might become victims of physical harm while traveling alone across long distances. [16]

San Francisco, California, was one of approximately 45 cities to have criminalized cross-dressing by framing the act as a form of immoral sexual perversion. [18] The law was enforced by arrest in one case, doctor Hjelmar von Danneville was arrested in 1925, though she later negotiated with the city to obtain a permit to dress in masculine clothing. [19]

The ban against transvestism in the United States military dates back to 1961. [20]

US Laws Against Crossdressing Edit

The birth of anti-cross-dressing laws stemmed from the increase in non-traditional gender expression during the spread of Americas frontier, and the will to reinforce the two-gender system which was threatened by those who deviated from it. [21] Some of the earlier cases of US arrests made due to cross-dressing are seen in 19th century Ohio. In 1849, Ohio passed a law which prohibited its citizens from publicly presenting themselves "in a dress not belonging to his or her sex", and before WWI, 45 cities in the US went on to pass anti-cross-dressing laws. [22] These cities were noticeably focused in the West, [21] however across America many cities and states passed laws outlawing things such as public indecency or appearing in public under a disguise - effectively encompassing cross-dressing without mentioning sex or gender. The laws which did this often did not lend to an easy prosecution on the grounds of cross-dressing, because they were designed to prohibit presenting in disguise in order to commit a criminal offense. Because of this, the laws mainly served the purpose of allowing police to harass cross-dressers.

There is significant documentation of the origins of these laws in San Francisco. The city passed it's anti-cross-dressing law in 1863, and the specific criminalization of one publicly presenting "in a dress not belonging to his or her sex" was included in a wider law which criminalized general public indecency such as nudity. [23] This conflation of cross-dressing with acts such as prostitution was not unintentional, as many prostitutes at the time used cross-dressing to signify their availability. [23] This association between the two furthered the perception of cross-dressing as a perversion, and the law was effectively “one of the city’s very first “good morals and decency” laws". [23]

Throughout time, anti-cross-dressing laws became difficult to apply, as the definitions of feminine and masculine presentation grew more obscure. After the Stonewall riots of 1969, cross-dressing arrests decreased and became much less common. [24] Today, while there are little to no laws directly protecting transgender individuals from discrimination and harassment, the majority of anti-cross-dressing laws have been overturned.

France Edit

As the Hundred Years' War developed in the late Middle Ages, [25] cross dressing was a way for French women to join the cause against England. [26] Joan of Arc was a 15th-century French peasant girl who joined French armies against English forces fighting in France during the latter part of the Hundred Years' War. She is a French national heroine and a Catholic saint. After being captured by the English, she was burned at the stake upon being convicted by a pro-English religious court, with the act of dressing in male (soldiers') clothing being cited as one of the principal reasons for her execution. A number of eyewitnesses, however, later explained that she had said she wore soldiers' clothing in prison (consisting of hosen and long hip-boots attached to the doublet with twenty fasteners) because this made it more difficult for her guards to pull her clothing off during rape attempts. She was, however, burned alive in a long white gown. [27]

In the seventeenth century, France underwent a financially driven social conflict, the Fronde. [28] At this period, women disguised themselves as men and enlisted in the army, sometimes with their male family members. [29] Cross dressing also became a more common strategy for women to conceal their gender as they traveled, granting a safer and more efficient route. [29] The practice of cross dressing was present more in literary works than in real life situations, despite its effective concealing properties. [29]

Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée Éon de Beaumont (1728–1810), usually known as the Chevalier d'Eon, was a French diplomat and soldier who lived the first half of his life as a man and the second half as a woman. In 1771 he stated that physically he was not a man, but a woman, having been brought up as a man only. From then on she lived as a woman. On her death it was discovered that her body was anatomically male.

George Sand is the pseudonym of Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, an early 19th-century novelist who preferred to wear men's clothing exclusively. In her autobiography, she explains in length the various aspects of how she experienced cross-dressing.

Rrose Sélavy, the feminine alter-ego of artist Marcel Duchamp, remains one of the most complex and pervasive pieces in the enigmatic puzzle of the artist's oeuvre. She first emerged in portraits made by the photographer Man Ray in New York in the early 1920s, when Duchamp and Man Ray were collaborating on a number of conceptual photographic works. Rrose Sélavy lived on as the person to whom Duchamp attributed specific works of art, Readymades, puns, and writings throughout his career. By creating for himself this female persona whose attributes are beauty and eroticism, he deliberately and characteristically complicated the understanding of his ideas and motives.

England, Scotland, and Ireland Edit

In medieval England, cross dressing was normal practice in the theatre, used by men and young boys dressing and playing both roles of male and female. [30] During early modern London, religious authorities were against cross-dressing in theater due to it disregarding social conduct and causing gender confusion. [31]

Later, during the eighteenth century in London, crossdressing became a part of the club culture. Crossdressing took a part in men's only clubs where men would meet at these clubs dressed as women and drink. [32] One of the most well known clubs for men to do this was known as the Molly Club or Molly House. [32]

Anne Bonny and Mary Read were 18th-century pirates. Bonny in particular gained significant notoriety, but both were eventually captured. Unlike the rest of the male crew, Bonny and Read were not immediately executed because Read was pregnant and Bonny stated that she was as well. Charles Edward Stuart dressed as Flora MacDonald's maid servant, Betty Burke, to escape the Battle of Culloden for the island of Skye in 1746. Mary Hamilton dressed as a man to learn medicine and later married a woman in 1746. It was also alleged that she had married and abandoned many others, for either financial gain or for sexual gratification. She was convicted of fraud for misrepresenting herself as a man to her bride. Ann Mills fought as a dragoon in 1740. Hannah Snell served as a man in the Royal Marines 1747–1750, being wounded 11 times, and was granted a military pension.

Dorothy Lawrence was a war reporter who disguised herself as a man so she could become a soldier in World War I.

Writer and doctor Vernon Coleman cross-dresses and has written several articles about men who cross-dress, stressing they are often heterosexual and usually do not want to change sex. Artist and Turner Prize winner, Grayson Perry often appears as his alter-ego, Clare. Writer, presenter and actor Richard O'Brien sometimes cross-dresses and ran a "Transfandango" ball aimed at transgender people of all kinds in aid of charity for several years in the early 2000s (decade). Eddie Izzard, stand-up comedian and actor, states that he has cross-dressed his entire life. He often performs his act in feminine clothing, and has discussed his cross dressing as part of his act. He calls himself an "executive transvestite".

Japan Edit

Japan has a centuries-old tradition of male kabuki theatre actors cross-dressing onstage. [33] Transgender men (and more rarely, women) were also "conspicuous" in Tokyo's gei (gay) bar and club subculture in the pre- and post-World War II period. By the 1950s, publications concerning MTF cross-dressing were in circulation, advertising themselves as aimed at the "study" of the phenomenon. Fully-fledged "commercial" magazines aimed at cross-dressing 'hobbyists' began publishing after the launch of the first such magazine, Queen, in 1980. It was affiliated with the Elizabeth Club, which opened branch clubs in several Tokyo suburbs and other cities. [34] Yasumasa Morimura is a contemporary artist who cross-dresses.

Thailand Edit

Through the pre-modern age, cross-dressing and transgender appearance in Thailand was apparent in many contexts including same-sex theater performance. [35] The term Kathoey came to describe anyone from cross-dressers to transgender men (and women) as the practice became more prevalent in everyday life. [35] Lack of colonization by Western civilizations in Thailand have led to different ways of thinking about gender and self-identity. In turn, Thailand has fostered one of the most open and tolerant traditions towards Kathoeys and cross-dressers in the world. [36] In contrast to many Western civilizations, where homosexuality and cross-dressing have been historically criminal offenses, Thai legal codes have not explicitly criminalized these behaviors. [37] It was not until the 20th century that a public majority, whether on stage or in public, came to assume cross-dressing a sign of transgenderism and homosexuality. [35]

China Edit

Since the Yuan dynasty, cross-dressing has had a unique significance in Chinese opera. Period scholars cite it as the time in Chinese theatre as the "golden age." [38] The rise of dan, though characterized as female characters, was a prominent feature of the Peking Opera and many males took the roles of females. There were schools dedicated to the specific dan training as well. [39] Female crossdressers in the Chinese opera were also valued immensely and prospered far better than male crossdressers did. [38]

Hua Mulan, the central figure of the Ballad of Mulan (and of the Disney film Mulan), may be a historical or fictional figure. She is said to have lived in China during the Northern Wei, and to have posed as a man to fulfill the household draft quota, thus saving her ill and aged father from serving.

Shi Pei Pu was a male Peking Opera singer. Spying on behalf of the Chinese Government during the Cultural Revolution, he cross-dressed to gain information from Bernard Boursicot, a French diplomat. Their relationship lasted 20 years, during which they married. David Henry Hwang's 1988 play M. Butterfly is loosely based on their story.


This monster’s father was Vulcan his were the black fires he belched forth, as he moved with massive bulk. In due course, time brought the help and presence of a god. For to us, too, in our need, the mightiest of avengers, glorying in the slaughter and spoils of triple Geryon, Hercules came, and this way drove his huge bulls in triumph, and his oxen filled vale and riverside. But Cacus, his wits wild with frenzy, that no crime or craft might prove to be left un-dared or untried, drove from their stalls four bulls of surpassing form, and as many heifers of peerless beauty. And that there might be no tracks pointing forward, the rustler dragged them by the tail into his cave, and, with the signs of their course thus turned backwards, the thief hid them in the rocky darkness: anyone who sought them could find no marks leading to the cave. Meanwhile, when Amphitryon’s son was now moving the well-fed herds from their stalls and making ready to set out, the cattle lowed as they went all the grove they fill with their plaint, and with clamour quit the hills. One heifer returned the cry, lowed from the high cave’s depths, and from her prison baffled the hopes of Cacus. At this the wrath of Alcides furiously blazed forth with black gall seizing in hand his weapons and heavily knotted club, he seeks with speed the crest of the steep mountain. Then first our people saw Cacus afraid and with trouble in his eyes in a twinkling he flees swifter than the East Wind and seeks his cave fear lends wings to his feet.

Just as he shut himself in and, bursting the chains, dropped the giant rock suspended in iron by his father’s

Beowulf Vs Hercules Comparison

The origins of the two heroes, Beowulf and Hercules, are associated with divine heroes. They were honorary and royal servants of their country and communities, they lead their communities to heroic events and battles. In most of their stories, the two warriors usually have a successful ending. These two concerns were of similar European origins. To be more specific, these two concerns have inspired two different generations in German history (“Compare and contrast Beowulf and Hercules”).

Hercules came before Beowulf. He was the inspiration for the majority of the German population, which was interested in military heroic events and deeds during the Roman period (“Compare and contrast Beowulf and Hercules”). Beowulf’s story was the inspiration for the Germanic warriors who appeared later in the generation, he fought the monsters that lived in the caves. Beowulf fought the deadly dragon while Hercules faced the Cacus Monster. They both came from the royal family, one of them is from Greece and the other from Denmark.

Beowulf and Hercules achieve similar status, strength and battles in their stories, leading to the conclusion that these heroes are the same. Some may argue that the two concepts are very different, however, we must remember that the story of Hercules influenced the Germanic people with heroic tales and bravery, like Beowulf for subsequent generations of the Germanic people, and therefore the reason for the similarities in both. Hercules and Beowulf are amazing warriors. Beowulf is called to fight the beast Grendel, who terrorizes the people of Heorot. Grendel doesn’t like the hustle and bustle that happens there, so he chases people and kills them as they try to fight him off.

Beowulf comes to King Hrothgar and the volunteers to fight Grendel and travels to Denmark to do so. He successfully defeats the beast and continues to fight Grendel’s mother, followed by the Dragon. His ability to fight and defeat these beasts shows his prowess and he becomes known as the protector of the city and the man the people call to fight for them. Hercules is similar in the sense that he was a great fighter and protector. He fought the minyan, who was a group of men who threatened Thebes, in Greece. He also went through twelve jobs that were difficult and dangerous. Some of his tasks included killing the Stymphalian Birds, a group of birds that ate people and terrorized the city, the Lernaean Hydra, which had nine heads and when he chopped off one another, it grew, and the Erimantha Boar, which was another beast that he won to chase him until the beast got tired.

Even after he completed his twelve labors, he continued to fight with new battles and adventures. Hercules and Beowulf are people who constantly won battles and were always ready to help others. They received the status of defenders of the people. These people also had tremendous strength and special abilities. Beowulf’s abilities are evident during his battle with Grendel. During the fight, Grendel tries to grab Beowulf, but instead Beowulf grabs him so hard that he becomes afraid. Grendel is unable to escape from Beowulf’s hold and their fight shakes the kingdom. The warriors try to jump with their weapons and help Beowulf, but are unaware that Grendel is weapon-prone, forcing Beowulf to use his bare hands.

Beowulf rips open Grendel’s arm and carries him to anchor him to the wall. We see his special abilities again in the fight against Grendel’s mom, which takes place underwater. Beowulf has the ability to hold his breath for several hours while he fights, and can spend days and nights without rest or food. Hercules has a reputation for being the most powerful person who ever lived. From an infant stage, he killed two poisonous snakes that were in his bed, sent by the goddess Hero, who was jealous of Zeus, his father. He also killed Neimon the Lion, who was a ferocious beast with his bare hands, just like Beowulf did, and fought the gods in battles and won often. He never grew old and could jump 100 feet into the air.

Another similarity between the two is that they have experienced some kind of downfall in each of their stories. When Beowulf fights his last battle, which is the Dragon, he is old. He risks the chance of losing because he was not as young as he was when he fought the other two animals. Dragon and Beowulf start to fight but then bit Beowulf and he begins to bleed. Although he is injured, he receives a knife and stabs the dragon and he dies. Unfortunately, Beowulf also dies. Hercules’ second wife Deianeira was the cause of his death. They tried to cross the River Evenus, and a centaur named Nessus offered to ferry Deianeira. She allowed it, but it was only after she was given a ride that Nessus tried to rape her. Hercules, of course, protecting his wife, shot Nessus to stop him. However, dying, he ordered to leave some of her blood so that in case Hercules falls out of love with her, she can use it to make him fall in love again. It was a lie and his blood is actually filled with poison, however Deyaneriya still accepts it. Later, Hercules begins to look like a desirable woman named Lawl. Worried about their marriage, Deinaneria takes Nessus’s blood and soaks his clothes into it so that he continues to be interested in her.

When Hercules goes to put it on, his skin catches on fire as the poison begins. He is in great pain, and because he is a demigod, he does not die right away, which means that he has to endure slowness, excruciating pain. Realizing what she has done, Denineria kills herself. Finally, Hercules decides to commit suicide and set the rest of himself on fire. This kills the mortal part of him, but not the immortal part. He goes to his new home on the mountain. Olympus to reunite with other gods. These two men also have patriarchal figures who have had some sort of power. Hercules was the son of Zeus, who was the God of King and Thunder who ruled over Olympus and other gods. Beowulf’s father was the king of the land of the Danes.

Although the two heroes fought and represented their peoples and communities on a dangerous and important quest, they were weaknesses in human nature. Beowulf’s main weakness was his ego, which was accompanied by pride. This aspect caused him to be reckless, causing him to take on very dangerous tasks individually. This aspect distinguished Beowulf from the rest of the Roman and Greek warriors. Greek and Roman warriors always had tragic flaws that led them to defeat and destruction in most cases. Some dangerous quests without using weapons and without outside help, as he is always confident that he will be the winner.

In his older age, when he did not have much strength, Beowulf decides to fight the dragon alone, when he was wounded, unable to defeat the dragon, he accepts this as his destiny and accepts that he will die at that point. This distinguished him from the Greek classical heroes in that their fate was based on their poor choices, which they made at the most crucial moments. He had to choose the decision to meet the dragon, or many people would die. In this act, he never demonstrated the Greek hamartia, but demonstrated the fatalism of the Western.

Beowulf’s strengths are included supernatural strength, loyalty, faith, honor and courage. This is well demonstrated by the fact that he agreed to destroy Grendel and his mother. He develops his courage by fighting two creatures separately, and he dies while still fighting and fighting to save his people. His strength is well worked out when he rips off Grendel’s ribs. He demonstrated his faith and acceptance of the Supreme Being by always thanking God when he wins his battles (“Beowulf’s Characteristics”).

In Greek mythology, Herkulx is said to have dominated his voracious and lustful nature most of the time. There is information from unreliable sources that claim that he impregnated the daughters of Thespius, who were 50 years old. His wife Megara also bore him three children. He was also very energetic. Over time, he continued to change his character, in some stories he was portrayed as very modest. Hercules’ strengths included his passion for overcoming manifested in his path, his physical strength and courage. Hercules’ strengths and abilities are mostly compared to Samson from the Bible, so in some cases he is called the Greek Samson (“Greek Samson”).

Watch the video: The Cretan Bull - The Labours of Hercules - Greek Mythology Stories - See U in History (May 2022).