The Awesome Heroes of the Ancient Myths – Hercules, Aeneas and Esfandiyar

The great heroes of the myths.

These legends existed in the world of Gods and Monsters, and they went toe to toe with the strongest of them.

These Heroes are legends in their own right and each of them has their place in the mythologies of their respective civilizations.

Their epic feats of strength, courage, and smarts are told in stories that live to this very day.

They are an inspiration to all and it is and in Champions of Gods, they will be showcased in their full glory.

Let’s check them out.

 

Hercules

The greatest Hero that has ever lived.

A demi-god. The slayer of Hydra and Nemean Lion.

The tamer of Cerberus.

Do I need to keep on going?

This guy has accolades in abundance. There is literally nothing that he can not accomplish and his story is awesome.

 

Hercules was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of God Zeus and a mortal Alcmene. Zeus was a cheating husband (to say the least), and because of his infidelity, Hera would harshly punish all of his children.

When Hercules was just eight months old, Hera sent two giant snakes into the children’s chamber. Luckily Hercules was so strong that he choked both of them wit his bare (baby) hands.

Hera, knowing of her husband Zeus’ adultery, persuaded Zeus to swear an oath that the child born that night to a member of the House of Perseus would become High King. Hera did this knowing that while Hercules was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheus. Then Hera caused Eurystheus to be born prematurely, making him High King in place of Hercules.

Later in Thebes, Heracles married King Creon’s daughter, Megara with whom he had children. In a fit of madness, induced by Hera, Heracles killed both Megara and the children.  After his madness had been cured he realized what he had done and fled to the Oracle of Delphi.

Oracle (being guided by Hera) directed Hercules to serve King Eurystheus for ten years and perform any task Eurystheus required of him. Eurystheus decided to give Hercules ten labors and afterward gave him additional two.

I still think that calling these tasks, labors, was wrong. Because the tasks that he was given, would be almost completely impossible for anyone else to accomplish.

We will just list these feats because if we wanted to tell any single one of them properly, we would need a separate article for each one of them.

The list goes like this:

  • Slew the Nemean Lion,
  • Slew the Lernaean Hydra,
  • Captured the Golden Hind of Artemis,
  • Captured the Erymanthian Boar,
  • Cleaned the Augean stables in a single day,
  • Slew the Stymphalian Birds,
  • Captured the Cretan Bull,
  • Stole the Mares of Diomedes,
  • Obtained the girdle of Hippolyta (Queen of the Amazons),
  • Obtained the cattle of the monster Geryon,
  • Stole the apples of the Hesperides,
  • and he even Captured Cerberus.

And this was only the story of his 12 labors!

We didn’t even mention things like capturing the Golden Fleece and wrestling Thanatos (death itself). Hercules’s feats are amazing and jaw dropping and this is the exact reason why they live to this very day.

Now, this is how you claim the spot of the greatest hero that has ever lived 😉

 

Aeneas

Aeneas is one of the rare Roman mythological heroes.

His heroic deeds were described in the Vergil’s Aeneid.

The greatest hero of the Roman mythology that can stand toe to toe with the best of them. His story is amazing and his role in the history of Rome is crucial. Let’s dig into it.

Aeneas was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Venus (Aphrodite). His father was a first cousin of King Priam of Troy (both being grandsons of Ilus, founder of Troy), making Aeneas a second cousin to Priam’s children (such as Hector and Paris).

Aeneas is a minor character in the Iliad, where he is twice saved from death by the gods as if for an as-yet-unknown destiny, but is an excellent warrior in his own right.

He was aided by many gods in his battles, including the one against Achilles, from which he was saved by Poseidon himself. He was destined to become the new king of the Trojan people.

After the destruction of Troy, Aeneas gathered a group, collectively known as the Aeneads.  They traveled to Italy and became progenitors of Romans. The Aeneads included Aeneas’s trumpeter Misenus, his father Anchises, his friends Achates, Sergestus, and Acmon, the healer Iapyx, the helmsman Palinurus, and his son Ascanius.

Several attempts to find a new home failed; one such stop was in Sicily.

Aeneas had a year-long affair with the Carthaginian queen Dido (also known as Elissa), who proposed that the Trojans settle in her land and that she and Aeneas reign jointly.

However, the messenger god Mercury was sent by Jupiter and Venus to remind Aeneas of his journey and his purpose, compelling him to leave secretly. When Dido learned of this, she uttered a curse that would forever pit Carthage against Rome, an enmity that would culminate in the Punic Wars.

Latinus, king of the Latins, welcomed Aeneas’s army of exiled Trojans and let them reorganize their lives in Latium.

Aeneas’s destiny was to find a new place for his people to live and his descendants created one of the most powerful Empire’s that have ever existed.

We can call that “Mission Accomplished”.

 

Esfandiyar

The mythology of the ancient Persia isn’t well known around the world.

Its beauty has been overshadowed by other civilizations’ mythologies.

However, Persian mythology has some beautiful stories and it has some amazing heroes.

One of the most amazing Heroes was Esfandiyar.

For the most heroes, within this character spotlight series,  we’ve been listing their accomplishments more than we focused on their life stories. The reason why we did this, is because most people know the life stories of these famous heroes.

Since most people don’t know Esfandiyar’s life story, I will tell you a bit more about his life, rather than list his accomplishments alone.

Let us talk a bit more about his life and learn what made him such an awesome warrior.

 

Esfandiyar was the son of Goshtap the king of ancient Persia (before Persian Empire came to be).

When the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster) came to Goshtap with the message from the divine god Ahura Mazda himself Goshtap accepted his holy path of good and rejected the evil of Ahriman.

Esfandiyār was a divine warrior that helped Zarathustra to spread the religion of Zoroastrianism. He also fought against many apostates and enemies of Zarathustra to do so. In return, Zarathustra gave Esfandiyār a chain and armor from Heaven.

The armor made him invincible and the chain had the power to bind anyone, even a demon or evil magician, making them unable to escape. Zarathustra also gave a Divine blessing to the prince and declared that anyone who would spill the blood of Esfandiyār (killed him) shall suffer a cursed life of bad omens until the day he dies, and even after death would be condemned to hell.

Esfandiyar was a servant of Ahura Mazda, and if he was to reach heaven, he had to fulfill all the wishes of his king.

Esfandiyar defeated the evil ruler Arjasp and saved his father’s kingdom. However, his father was not willing to relinquish his throne, even though he promised it as the reward for Esfandiyar’s heroic deed.

After being told that Esfandiyar plans to take his throne by force, Goshtap demanded Esfandiyar to be put in chains.

Like not getting the throne wasn’t already bad enough…

Esfandiyar tried to tell his father that all of that was a lie, but his words never reached Goshtap. So Esfandiyar spent many years in chains.

Once that his father needed help, Esfandiyar was released with the promise of the throne being given once again. Guess what happened? He was cheated of it, again.

His father told him that it wouldn’t be a real victory until he had saved his sisters, who were taken by the Arjasp.Esfandiyar went through seven stages to complete this mission. This task is a lot of times connected to labors of Hercules.

Just like Hercules’s we will only list these, because we don’t want to overdo it.

So, Esfandiyar’s labors were accomplished in 7 days:

  • On the first day, he slew two raging wolves,
  • On the second day, he laid low two evil Deevs that were clothed as lions,
  • On the third day, he overcame a dragon whose breath was poisonous,
  • On the fourth day, Esfandiyar slew a great magician who would have lured him into the paths of evil,
  • On the fifth day, he slew a mighty bird whom no man had ever struck down.
  • On the two final days, he went through snow and flood and finally reached the castle of Arjasp.

After taking Arjasp’s life and bringing his sisters home he came before his father for his throne. And he got it. And everyone was happy ever after……

Yeah, right…

His father’s greed and obsession for the throne was so great that he gave one final task to his son, and if he could accomplish that he could get the throne…

What was the task you say? Oh this one was very easy.

If you read our first article about heroes, you can already guess it.

His task was to bring the greatest of all heroes, Rostam, in chains before his father and make him adress Goshtap as his king.

And the Esfandiyar’s response is the one that describes him perfectly.

He says that, because he doesn’t agree with this decision, he renounces the throne. But because he is a slave of his king he will fulfil his request and if the God chooses that he must fall to Rostam, his blood will be on Goshtap’s hands.

So he goes.

He goes to face the impossible odds.

A warrior that has never been defeated in battle.

A hero that has lived for more than six centuries.

The unneatable Rostam.

Rostam’s greatness isn’t just in his strength, but also in his wisdom. From the moment these two legends meet, Rostam tries to find a middle ground.

This is Rostam’s dilemma: As a hero, he can’t be bound in chaince because it would be a huge disgrace, but he also knows of the fate that awaits the murderer of Esfandiyar. A certain death and damnation to hell.

However, Esfandiyar has to fulfil his king’s order, and the battle can not be avoided. And so the epic clash began.

Throughout the battle, the two heroes proved to be pretty evenly matched. However, when they started using arrows, it turned out that Rostam couldn’t penetrate Esfandiyar’s armor, but Esfandiyar could penetrate Rostam’s. The reason for this was because Esfandiyar’s body was bated in the Zoroaster’s miraculous pool of invincibility.

However he had one weakness.

His only weakness were his eyes, because he closed them when he took the immortality bath.

Wounded Rostam asks to retreat to take care of his wounds, so they can continue their battle.

While recovering, Rostam asks Simurgh how to defeat the invincible Esfandiyar. Simurgh gives Rostam the magic arrows that will be able to hit Esfandiyar directly in his eyes and will enable Rostam’s triumph.

Relentlessly, Rostam uses these arrows and defeats Esfandiyar. With his last breath, Esfandiyar tells Rostam not to feel bad because his real murderer was his father Goshtap.

A tragic death of a man who fought for what he believed in. He has served his king and his God until his last breath, and that is a sacrifice worth remembering. That is what true hero is all about.

 

Conclusion

All of these heroes have proven their worthiness by acomplishing the unthinkable and the impossible.

It is heroes like these that have captured the imaginations of many generations.

Time may pass, but their heroic deeds will never be forgotten.

Their stories will live forever!

If you’ve liked this post you can check out some of our other posts in the Champions of Gods character spotlight category.

Want to find out more about Champions of Gods? You can check out this blog post.

And if you like what Champions of Gods is all about, you can subscribe here on our website and get awesome, pre-Kickstarter exclusive, rewards.

Thank you very much!

 

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