In the Footsteps of Hercules

Light Night 2011 in Leeds – Friday 7th October

In the Footsteps of Hercules (or should that be Herculeeds?)

Tales of Hercules tells the stories of the Hercules’ life, from his earliest childhood to him becoming a god, offering you an opportunity to read, listen to and ask questions about this ancient – yet very modern – hero.

Iphicles will recount his twin brother’s exploits – from Hercules’ very first heroic act (saving Iphicles’ life) to his last (walking the three-headed dog Cerberus). Hear little-known details of Hercules’ famous 12 Labours and get an insider’s view of what it’s like to grow up with a hero. Story-telling will respond to the audience’s interests and age-group. Particular stories by request.

Dr Emma Stafford, internationally renowned expert on the Greek hero Herakles, who was known to the Romans (and to us) as Hercules, will be on hand to answer any and all of your questions about the hero: from the size of his feet, to how many Labours he actually performed, to whether he performed them at all! Take the opportunity to discuss what it means to be a hero and discover some of the meanings attached to this hero through the ages.

Literary and artistic responses to individual tales of Hercules will be on display, with examples from a number of different media and time periods – from epic poetry to sculpture, from the ancient world to 21st century Yorkshire.

Location: the Classics Departmental Library, 1st floor, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds

Walk in Hercules’ size 14½ shoes to well-known – and less-well-known – Leeds city centre locations to encounter mythical characters and monsters featured in his 12 Labours. In the Footsteps of Hercules brings ancient Greek and Roman myth to life by combining cutting-edge classical research by Emma Stafford and other experts on ancient costume with performance art and story-telling in a “factasy” walking tour of Leeds taking in its public art, architecture, and history. Collect a map of the locations from the young Hercules or his mother, Alcmene, in the Ancient Worlds Galleries of Leeds City Museum or join the route at any location with an information point or costumed character. Each location will have information explaining the link between it and one of the 12 Labours, including illustrations and excerpts from relevant ancient texts. Masked costumed characters, who will tell the story of a Labour and guide interactions with the location, can be found in Leeds City Museum, in Mandela Gardens, on the Town Hall Steps, in Bond Court (off Park Row and East Parade) and in City Square. Will you kidnap Cerberus, kill the Hydra, seek the Cretan Bull, confront the Nemean Lion, capture the cattle of Geryon, cleanse the Augean Stables, dodge the Horses of Diomedes, scare the Stymphalian Birds, spot the Erymanthian Boar, find the Apples of the Hesperides, meet the Amazon Queen, or chase the Keryneian Hind? Above all, will you find Hercules in Leeds?

For more information, see the profect website.

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