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Did Hercules Suffer From Mental Disorders? - Crazy Characters
Did Hercules Suffer From Mental Disorders? - Crazy Characters

Video: Did Hercules Suffer From Mental Disorders? - Crazy Characters

Video: Did Hercules Suffer From Mental Disorders? - Crazy Characters
Video: 10 Disney Characters With Serious Mental Disorders 2023, December

Did the legendary hero of myths, the strong and big man Hercules suffer from mental disorders? The hero of ancient Greek mythology, the son of the god Zeus, Hercules, is perhaps the most popular character, who in our time, with great success, "penetrated" even into the cinema. But the founder of the Olympic Games is worthy of such a memory without any exaggeration. Recall that in ancient Rome, Hercules was revered under the name of Hercules

Why are we so interested in this strong and gallant-looking man who personifies the Latin proverb "A healthy mind in a healthy body"?

Nowadays, few people doubt its truth, not knowing that it is for pedagogical reasons! - taken out of context. The complete translation of Mens sana in corpore sano - avis rara is more realistic and means: "In a healthy body, a healthy mind is a rare success." The ancient Romans were wiser than us and did not want to deceive themselves and others.

It is already more difficult to argue with the meaning of the full version of the proverb. As with the fact that some of the mythological heroes suffered … mental disorders. The latter circumstance testifies to the fact that when composing a "biography" of the hero, without much hesitation, he was endowed with signs of one or another mental illness.

More specifically, the deeds that Hercules had to accomplish were the result of his mental disorder. Therefore, we can conclude that already in ancient times in the human mind, heroic deeds were associated with mental pathology. Apparently, our ancestors thought it absolutely incredible that one could exist without the other. This conclusion was probably promoted by real examples from the life of the descendants of the gods.

What was the hero of myths Hercules sick with from a psychiatric point of view?

As a teenager, the Theban Lin taught Hercules to sing and play the cithara (stringed plucked instrument) and once beat him for negligence. In response, Hercules hit his teacher with a wooden kifara and … killed. So he had a tendency to unrestrained aggression since childhood.

Based on ancient sources and the opinion of psychiatrists, it can be assumed that Hercules suffered a "fit of insanity", similar to the disorder of consciousness that sometimes develops in patients with epilepsy. In support of this, we quote from the tragedy of Euripides "Hercules".

Once the hero made a sacrifice to his father Zeus. And suddenly “he seemed to be not himself. The whites in his eyes were anxiously set in and bloodshot, and thick foam dripped from his lips onto his beard, and a wild, terrible laugh accompanied his words. He began to undress and made such movements as if he were fighting with someone. Then he grabbed a bow and arrow and killed his wife and children. And then “he collapsed to the ground, and a deep sleep bound him immediately” (Euripides, 2013).

It is indicative that, upon waking up, Hercules amnesiac the past attack and was bitterly worried about the perfect. The described symptoms indicate a sudden impairment of consciousness. Psychiatrist Pavel Kovalevsky believed that such "Hercules rampage can serve as an excellent example of epileptic rampage" (PI Kovalevsky, 1995).

According to other mythological legends, he killed not only his children, but also the children of his twin brother Iphicles. Epileptics are characterized by episodic attacks of angry aggression outside the seizure state.

As punishment, the Pythia ordered Hercules to perform ten labors. But King Eurystheus did not count two of them, so our hero had to additionally get three more golden apples of the nymphs of the Hesperides and tame the terrible dog Cerberus.

When Hercules was preparing for his first feat - to kill the Nemean lion, Tsar Thespius cordially invited him to visit. He took him for 50 days and every night he sent one of his daughters to him, who later bore 50 sons from him.

According to another version, the hero "combined" with all the daughters in one night, except for one who refused such pleasure. Then the poor woman was forced to remain a virgin and become a priestess in the temple. Later, the Archbishop of Constantinople Gregory Nazianzus (III-IV century) ironically stated on this occasion that Hercules had performed his "thirteenth feat" that night.

Hercules can be considered bisexual, since he had a lover named Yalnos, to whose coffin homosexuals went to take an oath of allegiance (Dietz K., Hesse PG, 1967). Plutarch wrote that “the other beloved of Hercules, according to Apollodorus, was Gilas, the son of Theiodamant” (Ivik O., 2011).

The death of the famous hero looked unusually tragic.

The centaur Nessus agrees to carry Hercules' wife Deianira (this is the second wife of our hero) across the river. But, after swimming, he tries to kidnap her. Hercules kills him with a bow, poisoned arrow. The dying Nessus deceives Deianeira by saying that his blood can be used as a love potion.

Hercules' wife collects some poisoned blood, as Hercules began to cheat on her with the beautiful Iola, whom he took prisoner during the next victorious campaign. Deianira gives her husband a robe soaked in Ness's blood to return his love. The blood of the centaur inflicts such terrible torment on Hercules that he cannot bear and throws himself into the fire. The repentant Deianira, in turn, throws herself on the sword and also dies.

Shakespeare is resting …

Presumptive diagnosis: an emotionally unstable personality disorder in an epileptic patient with transient psychotic disorders.


  • Euripides. Hercules // Euripides. Complete works in one volume / Translation by Innokenty Annensky. M.: ALPHA-KNIGA, 2013. S. 372–431.
  • Ivik O. History of sexual prohibitions and prescriptions. M.: Lomonosov, 2011.
  • Irmsher J., Yone R. Dictionary of Antiquity / Translation from it. M.: Progress, 1989.
  • Kovalevsky P. I. Psychiatric sketches from history: in two volumes. T. 2. M.: TERRA, 1995.
  • Dietz K., Hesse PG Wörterbuch der Sexuologie und ihrer Grenzgebiete / 2. Aufl. Rudolstadt: VEB Greifenverlag, 1967.