Hercules was as surprised as anyone to learn there was an Ancient Greek myth where he sailed around the Mediterranean in a cup looking for fruit.
Episode 55: In which Hercules learns lasers have recovered his temple underwater, and Alexander the “Great” learns Julius Caesar could cry.
This episode of Real Housewives of Mt. Olympus brought to you by the latest archaeological news on SmithsonianMagazine.com – and by CLAS-C 387 Roman History.
[SETTING: Support Group for the Newly Deified]
ROMULUS, FOUNDER OF ROME AND COMPLETE SOCIOPATH:…and that’s why I killed him. You hop over my wall, you’re asking to be straight up murdered.
DIVINE ANTONINUS PIUS, FORMER AND REMARKABLY FORGETTABLE ROMAN EMPEROR: Thank you for sharing, Romulus. It can be difficult to process why some members of a family become gods and others are left to suffer for all eternity. I speak from a place of empathy, not sympathy, of course, since all my immediate family members were deified.
DIVINE HADRIAN, FORMER ROMAN EMPEROR AND PRETENTIOUS WINDBAG: Stop claiming the glory of the Five Good Emperors, Antoninus, we’re not actually related.
ANTONINUS PIUS: As always, Father, please limit your words to those of support. Speaking of, there was a mortal discovery recently that touches on several members of our group. Archaeologists have discovered the location of the lost Temple of Hercules Gaditanus in Spain.
HERCULES, SON OF ZEUS AND FORMER MORTAL: Oh wow, that’s the one with the famous bronze sculptures of my labors! Did they find some of those bronzes? I’ve been on a bit of a hot streak with sculpture recovery lately.
ANTONINUS PIUS: Well, no, they haven’t recovered any artifacts. The temple is still underwater.
HERCULES: (visibly deflating) Oh great, Uncle Poseidon’s probably already there laughing at me…
ROMULUS: (suspiciously) Wait, if it’s still underwater, how did they find the temple? Can mortals live underneath the ocean now? Could mortals always live underneath the water and that’s why they built a temple there? Should I have been killing people underwater this whole time?
HADRIAN: No, you idiot, the temple was originally on land. Our Roman concrete was amazingly waterproof, but not to the point that we would build a temple underwater. The mortals must have found it using that same remote-sensing technique called LIDAR that they were using north of my Wall. They shoot lasers into the ground and the lasers bounce off of buried walls to create a picture of what is underneath the surface.
ROMULUS: Walls, you say…
ANTONINUS PIUS: If we can refocus: Julius, the mortal news mentions you as well. Apparently you visited this temple at one point.
DIVINE JULIUS CAESAR, FORMER ALMOST-ROMAN-EMPEROR AND ANOTHER COMPLETE SOCIOPATH: I can’t be expected to remember that. I visited a lot of temples. Mostly to make plans to redecorate them with my war booty once I took them over.
ANTONINUS PIUS: Well, I thought you might remember this one, since apparently you famously wept there when you saw a picture of Alexander the Great.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (sort of), BRIEFLY FORMER GREEK EMPEROR (sort of) AND CONQUEROR OF THE WORLD (sort of): Dude, you wept when you saw my picture? Maybe those rumors about you were true.
JULIUS CAESAR: Come jump over my wall and say that to my face, punk.
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To explore how Romans took over Greek-speaking Spain, enroll in CLAS-C 387 Roman History, coming up Fall 2023 with no pre-reqs. Or for more exploits of the Greek gods, and how their myths shaped ancient and modern societies, enroll in CLAS-C 205 Classical Mythology, coming up as a late-start class in Spring 2023, and earn GEC credits while you’re at it! Can’t get enough of Ancient Greece and Rome? Earn a Classics Minor in just 15 credits!