The Golden Age of Denial: Hercules, the Bisexual Demigod

Hercules has been the icon of alpha-masculinty for centuries — do you know about his gay love life?



Above: At the Musei Capitolini in Rome, a statue of Heracles (Hercules) killing the Lernaean Hydra. Marble, Roman copy from a Greek original of the fourth century B.C.; restored c. 1635. Careful, Herc, that Hydra is awful close to the business.

Above: More snakes, some museum, somewhere.

Left: Mid-century gay artist George Quaintance certainly knew that sometimes a Hydra is more than a Hydra.

Battles with serpents, snakes, and other phallic forms play freely in the subconcious mind. Is a serpent ever just a serpent? Seems fitting that Hercules was wrestling snakes when he was just an infant. He went on to other legendary phallic battles: His slaying of the Hydra (nine heads!) was one of the 12 Labors of Hercules.

If you study the Hercules myth you will find that both the Greeks (Heracles) and Romans (Hercules) had very similar but slightly varying tales of his parentage and love life, but in both he is a demigod, a child of one god and one human.

He was also fairly erratic. We would say 'roid rage now, but we doubt there was an ancient Greek version of Biogenesis. Suffice it to say he murdered his first three sons while in a very bad mood. But heroes play fast and loose with the rules. We see this in the modern-day equivalent of the gods: professional athletes.

Tags: Bisexuality, Art