Friday, February 5, 2010

Myths and Legends: Choice of Heracles

The Choice of Heracles. To find out more about the parable of the choice of Heracles, see this Wikipedia article: link; for information about the image: image source.

Today's image is a painting by Raphael that illustrates the famous "choice of Heracles." In a dream, Heracles saw the allegorical figures of Pleasure (that's the lovely blonde lady on the right) and of Virtue (the sword-wielding woman on the left). The pleasurable life would be soft and easy, while the virtuous life offered challenges but also glory. You can read the detailed account of this encounter reported by Xenophon in his Memorabilia online here; it's near the beginning of Book 2, section 1.

For a quite different depiction of this famous choice, see this emblem by Rollenhagen.

You can also find more myths and legends for the week of February 5-11 here. For more information and links to the actual javascript code, see the Myths & Legends Widget Reference Page.