Sunday, June 30, 2019

By the Gods!

Virna Lisi, Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

I'm currently reading plenty of books on Greek mythology (including the Iliad) and it's interesting that Aeneas was the remote descendant of Romulus (of Romulus and Remus; see chart below), both portrayed by Steve Reeves, as Aeneas in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) and THE AVENGER (1962; aka Last Glory of Troy) and as Romulus in DUEL OF THE TITANS. Now how to connect Hercules, Steve's most famous role, with Aeneas and Troy. I've discovered many things these past few weeks, including the time Hercules attacked Troy. Now that's a movie that should have been made: HERCULES AGAINST TROY. From Wikipedia (I know):

"Laomedon, King of Troy, planned on sacrificing his daughter Hesione to Poseidon in the hope of appeasing him. Heracles happened to arrive (along with Telamon and Oicles) and agreed to kill the monster if Laomedon would give him the horses received from Zeus as compensation for Zeus' kidnapping Ganymede. Laomedon agreed. Heracles killed the monster, but Laomedon went back on his word. Accordingly, in a later expedition, Heracles and his followers attacked Troy and sacked it. Then they slew all Laomedon's sons present there save Podarces, who was renamed Priam, who saved his own life by giving Heracles a golden veil Hesione had made."

Priam is the first cousin to Aeneas' father, Anchises! BTW, those horses were immortal and could run on water.

Someone should make the ultimate lineage chart of Greek mythological characters. Something like this one about the House of Troy and Dardaniaand.


Richard Svensson said...

Hercules also visited what would become the Avantine Hill in Rome, before the city was built. At that time a cave on the pastoral location was inhabited by the fire-breathing giant Cacus, son of Vulcan. He used to eat the local populace, and nail the heads of his victims to the entrance of his cave. Hercules passed by with Geryon's cattle (after his tenth labor), and while he took a nap, Geryon stole eight of the animals. When Hercules noticed this he, of course, became furious and stormed Geryon's cave. Though being assaulted by the monster's fire and smoke, Hercules strangled the giant and became a local hero. Both simple and grand temples were erected to his honor in the area, but only the temple of Hercules Victor remains in some form, I think.
This tale is also mentioned somewhere in the Aenid, and we actually had to read it in the original Latin when I went to high school.

TC said...

Usually, the myths state that Romulus and Remus were sons of the Vestal virgin priestess Rhea Silva, and that the father was Mars, god of war. There is a version, though, that says their father was Hercules. So that would provide the Hercules connection. And Duel of the Titans could have been marketed as "Tyrant of the Sabines Against the Sons of Hercules," or something like that.

IIUC, the stories of Aeneas, and of Romulus & Remus, began independently of each other, and it was sometime around 1 A.D. that Roman writers tried to reconcile the two. So it became canon that Romulus and Remus were descendants of Aeneas. My guess is that the Romans wanted to trace their ancestry to Troy, but the story of Romulus & Remus was just too good to delete.

There was also a story about Rome being founded by a son of Ulysses and Circe, but it did not really catch on. Maybe the Romans did not want to trace their ancestry to a Greek.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that the TV pilot Hercules and the Princess of Troy was based on an actual Greek myth, but evidently Princess Diana (Diana Hyland) was based on Hesione, and the movie/TV episode even included the immortal horses.

Scott Ochiltree said...

The latest fashion in serious fiction is the retelling of the Trojan War from a female perspective.

THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS by British author Pat Barker is a well received example of this genre.

Anonymous said...

Julius Caesar's family traced their descent from Aeneas and therefore claimed Venus/Aphrodite as an ancestor.