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Gilded Bronze Hercules - History
Like the Augustus and the Mercury Fountain, the Hercules Fountain, created by Adriaen de Vries, embodies Augsburg’s pride in its wealth of water resources. The Kastenturm at the Red Gate was erected as an additional water tower to supply water for the fountains.
Building history and description
- Monumental fountain in the style of late Mannerism
- marble pillars
- bronze figures
- orienation to Giambologna
- originally public drinking and running fountain
- since the establishment of the fountain grid (early 18th century) showpiece, original gratin obtained today removed
- Augsburg, city center, Maximilianstraße (former wine market), Maximilianstraße 65 (at the Schaezlerpalais)
- creation 1596-1600
- commissioning 1602
- pillar renewed 1826
- restoration and casting 1997-1999
- casting of secondary figures until 2002
- original bronzes in the Maximilian Museum
- sculptor Adriaen de Vries, foundry Wolfgang Neidhardt
- 3.47 m high bronze figure group of Hercules with the flame mace and the seven-headed Hydra, all-view
- on two-storey fountain pillars staggered in four levels, three naked, washing life-sized Naiads on shell pools
- three gosling Eroten with Attributes Cupid
- three as Tritons (water deities) interpreted busts
- three lion masks
- three gilded bronze reliefs on the pillar (scenes of the Roman-mythological city history: founding of the city, entry of the city goddess Augusta, alliance of Roma and Augusta)
Use and purpose
- Hercules as a strong, courageous conqueror of the water (Hydra = water snake) and symbol of the hydrological achievements (heroic-mythological "Master Builder")
- courtly character (Hercules usually as a virtuous ruling laurels), theatrical, suspenseful and cross-platform
- Tension field of virtue ideals: courageous fight (Hercules, Hydra) and playful grace (Naiads), so that unambiguous interpretation is not possible
- Placement on Weinmarkt (central fairground of the imperial city of Augsburg) makes Brunnen a glorification of the city's history and genius loci Augsburg
- so-called "Prachtbrunnen" or grand fountain as forerunner of the city's extensive "urban program" of Augsburg around 1600 as well as artistically high-quality representation of the water system
- worldwide unique trias of monumental fountains forms a unity
- water was supplied through the box tower of the waterworks at the Red Gate
Authenticity and unique features
- Fountain bronzes in their best condition, original bronzes due to environmental threats and vandalism today museum exhibits (but this does not contradict the UNESCO requirement of authenticity)
- Regular care by the city of Augsburg
- winter protection cover
- fountain grid received, but not appropriate
- Manneristic artwork of European renown, Triassic splendor fountain in this form unique in the world
- Glorification of the water through very expensive material Bronze illustrates the significance of the water system for Augsburg
The Heroic Labors of Hercules
Apollo understood that Hercules’ crime had not been his fault—Hera’s vengeful actions were no secret𠅋ut still he insisted that the young man make amends. He ordered Hercules to perform 12 “heroic labors” for the Mycenaen king Eurystheus. Once Hercules completed every one of the labors, Apollo declared, he would be absolved of his guilt and achieve immortality.
The Nemean Lion
First, Apollo sent Hercules to the hills of Nemea to kill a lion that was terrorizing the people of the region. (Some storytellers say that Zeus had fathered this magical beast as well.) Hercules trapped the lion in its cave and strangled it. For the rest of his life, he wore the animal’s pelt as a cloak.
The Lernaean Hydra
Second, Hercules traveled to the city of Lerna to slay the nine-headed Hydra𠅊 poisonous, snake-like creature who lived underwater, guarding the entrance to the Underworld. For this task, Hercules had the help of his nephew Iolaus. He cut off each of the monster’s heads while Iolaus burned each wound with a torch. This way, the pair kept the heads from growing back.The Golden HindNext, Hercules set off to capture the sacred pet of the goddess Diana: a red deer, or hind, with golden antlers and bronze hooves. Eurystheus had chosen this task for his rival because he believed that Diana would kill anyone she caught trying to steal her pet however, once Hercules explained his situation to the goddess, she allowed him to go on his way without punishment.
The Erymanthean Boar
Fourth, Hercules used a giant net to snare the terrifying, man-eating wild boar of Mount Erymanthus.
The Augean StablesHercules’ fifth task was supposed to be humiliating as well as impossible: cleaning all the dung out of King Augeas’ enormous stables in a single day. However, Hercules completed the job easily, flooding the barn by diverting two nearby rivers.
The Stymphlaian Birds
Hercules’ sixth task was straightforward: Travel to the town of Stymphalos and drive away the huge flock of carnivorous birds that had taken up residence in its trees. This time, it was the goddess Athena who came to the hero’s aid: She gave him a pair of magical bronze krotala, or noisemakers, forged by the god Hephaistos. Hercules used these tools to frighten the birds away.
The Cretan Bull
Next, Hercules went to Crete to capture a rampaging bull that had impregnated the wife of the island’s king. (She later gave birth to the Minotaur, a creature with a man’s body and a bull’s head.) Hercules drove the bull back to Eurystheus, who released it into the streets of Marathon.
The Horses of Diomedes
Hercules’ eighth challenge was to capture the four man-eating horses of the Thracian king Diomedes. He brought them to Eurystheus, who dedicated the horses to Hera and set them free.
The ninth labor was complicated: stealing an armored belt that belonged to the Amazon queen Hippolyte. At first, the queen welcomed Hercules and agreed to give him the belt without a fight. However, the troublemaking Hera disguised herself as an Amazon warrior and spread a rumor that Hercules intended to kidnap the queen. To protect their leader, the women attacked the hero’s fleet then, fearing for his safety, Hercules killed Hippolyte and ripped the belt from her body.
The Cattle of Geryon
For his 10th labor, Hercules was dispatched nearly to Africa to steal the cattle of the three-headed, six-legged monster Geryon. Once again, Hera did all she could to prevent the hero from succeeding, but eventually he returned to Mycenae with the cows.
The Apples of Hesperides
Next, Eurystheus sent Hercules to steal Hera’s wedding gift to Zeus: a set of golden apples guarded by a group of nymphs known as the Hesperides. This task was difficult—Hercules needed the help of the mortal Prometheus and the god Atlas to pull it off𠅋ut the hero eventually managed to run away with the apples. After he showed them to the king, he returned them to the gods’ garden where they belonged.
For his final challenge, Hercules traveled to Hades to kidnap Cerberus, the vicious three-headed dog that guarded its gates. Hercules managed to capture Cerberus by using his superhuman strength to wrestle the monster to the ground. Afterward, the dog returned unharmed to his post at the entrance to the Underworld.
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P256 Aedes Herculis Victoris
Hercules Victor, aedes : a temple vowed by Lucius Mummius in 145 B.C. , and dedicated in 142 by Mummius when censor, if we may accept the p257 evidence of an inscription found on the Caelian behind the Lateran hospital ( CIL I 2 626 = VI .331: L. Mummi ( us ) L. f. Cos. duct [ u ] auspicio imperioque eius Achaia capt [ a ] Corinto deleto Romam redieit triumphans ob hasce res bene gestas quod in bello voverat hanc aedem et signu [ m ] Herculis Victoris imperator dedicat ). Another inscription ( CIL VI .30888 ) found near SS. Quattro Coronati may refer to this temple which was probably on the Caelian in this vicinity ( HJ 227 DE III .701 RE VIII .578 Rosch. I .2920).
Hercules Victor ( Invictus ), aedes : a round temple of Hercules in the forum Boarium (Liv. X .23.3: in sacello Pudicitiae patriciae quae in foro Boario est ad aedem rotundam Herculis Fest. 242 Macrob. III .6.10: Romae autem Victoris Herculis aedes duae sunt, una ad portam Trigeminam altera in foro Boario ). It was decorated with frescoes by the poet Pacuvius (Plin. NH XXXV .19), and is probably the temple into which neither flies nor dogs were said to enter (ibid. X .79: Romae in aedem Herculis in foro Boario nec muscae nec canes intrant ). The fact that this same story is found in Solinus ( I .10), who speaks of a consaeptum sacellum , and in Plutarch ( q. Rom. 90: ἐντὸς τῶν περιβόλων ), makes it somewhat uncertain whether it was told originally of the precinct of the Ara Maxima (q.v.) , or of this temple.
The passage in Festus (242: Pudicitiae signum in foro bovario est ubi familiana aedisset Herculis ) has occasioned much discussion. If Scaliger's emendation — ubi Aemiliana aedis est Herculis — is accepted, the natural inference would be that the round temple of Hercules was restored by L. Aemilius Paullus (Jord. I .2.483, n58 WR 275, n4 RE VIII .556, 557, 558, 560 Rosch. I .2903, 2904, 2905, 2909). This emendation, however, is purely conjectural (see Pudicitia Patricia). If Tacitus (Ann. XV .41: et magna ara fanumque quae praesenti Herculi Arcas Evander sacraverat ) is referring to this temple, as some believe, it was injured in the fire under Nero, but it must have been restored very soon, and Pacuvius' frescoes must have been preserved (Plin. loc. cit. ).
During the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471‑1484) the remains of a round temple near S. Maria in Cosmedin were destroyed, but the building is referred to by archaeologists of the period ( e.g. Pomponius Laetus, Albertinus). A drawing made a little later (1503‑1513) by Baldassare Peruzzi, of the plan and fragments (Vat. Lat. 3439, f. 32 De Rossi, Ann. d. Inst. 1854, pl. 3 Altm. 33‑36), shows a structure not unlike the existing round temple which is the church of S. Maria del Sole.a This temple stood just north of the Piazza di Bocca della Verità, between it and the Piazza dei Cerchi, north-west of the probable site of the ara Maxima ( DAP 2.vi.241, 242 sq. ). The discovery of the gilded bronze statue of Hercules, of the second century A.D. ( HF 1005 Cons. 282), p258 258 caused it to be identified with the aedes rotunda of Livy, an identification assisted by the further discovery in the immediate vicinity of a series of dedicatory inscriptions to Hercules Invictus ( CIL VI .312 ‑319). These inscriptions, however, might belong to the Ara Maxima (q.v.) .
The relations, topographical and historical, between the different shrines of Hercules in and near the forum Boarium, are by no means clear, and the problems involved have given rise to a considerable literature. (For this temple and for the general subject, see especially De Rossi, Ann. d. Inst. 1854, 28‑38 RE VIII .552‑563 Rosch. I .2901‑2920 also Jord. I .2.479‑483 Gilb. III .433‑434 JRS 1919, 180 CIL I 2 p150, 505 Boll. Ass. Arch. Rom. V . (1915) 108‑129.)b
The Authors' Notes:
1 Urlichs, Malerei vor Caesar , 17, prefers to explain ' pictura ' as a panel.
2 It is from the St. Germain MS. of Ligorio that we learn this: Panvinio (Vat. Lat. cit. ) does not mention the fact (Altm. cit. ).
a Platner is not the clearest writer, sometimes: the church of S. Maria del Sole is the surviving temple, not the one that was destroyed. For an outline of the Christian history of this building, as S. Stefano Rotondo, S. Stefano alle Carrozze, and S. Maria del Sole, see the article S. Stephanus Rotundus in Christian Hülsen's Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo. (And no, that article is not about the church now called S. Stefano Rotondo, with which our building was frequently confused.)
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