Approximately when did Hercules live?

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As others have already stated, Herakles was a Greek hero rather than a real person. With that in mind, answering a question such as this is always going to be difficult. In any case, it is possible to make some limited generalizations.

Generally speaking, you can observe a kind of chronology within the Greek heroic sagas, with the Iliad and The Odyssey located toward the end of that timeline. Furthermore, the Trojan War is usually believed to have been fought around 1200 BCE. As these events would have been located toward the end of that heroic timeline, we can therefore situate Herakles at an even earlier point.

Furthermore, these heroic myths tend to be set within the Mycenaean age, which itself is usually situated between the middle of the second century BCE and around 1200 BCE (1200 BCE marks the end of the Bronze Age). Finally, note that, for the seventh of his twelve labors, Herakles was sent to capture the Cretan Bull. From this, you can situate him as contemporaneous with the Minoans also.

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Thanks for the question! Hercules is the Latin name for Herakles, a hero and demigod from Greek mythology. No reliable evidence suggests that Herakles ever lived. It is highly improbable that he is based on an ancient historical figure. Stories of Herakles are approximately three thousand years old and probably date to the early 1000s BCE, as Greek culture began to blossom.

As the son of the Greek thunder god Zeus, the character of Herakles was blessed with a variety of powers, most notably strength. In the stories of the Greek mythos, Herakles is famous for completing his twelve labors and interacting with a diverse pantheon of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures.

Although Herakles did not exist, historians do know that he was a wildly popular (albeit fictional) religious figure across the Mediterranean. The fact that the demigod is commonly known by his Latin name of Hercules is evidence of this. The historian Thomas Martin states,

The only hero to whom cults were established internationally, all over the Greek world, was the strongman Herakles (Hercules). His superhuman feats in overcoming monsters and generally doing the impossible gave him an appeal as a protector in many city-states.

Just because Herakles didn’t exist doesn’t mean that he was not influential in the ancient world. In the same way that superheroes serve as symbols of bravery and goodness today, Herakles symbolized the triumph of humanity over the elements for the ancient world. The fact that his name is known across the globe today is a testament to just how important Herakles was, even if he was fictional! I hope this helps.

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First, it is important to understand that Hercules (also called Herakles or Heracles) was mythical figure.  He was said to be the son of Zeus (the most powerful of the Greek gods, known in Rome as Jupiter) and a Greek woman named Alcmene.  

Ancient Greece is considered to have run from about 1100 BCE to 146 CE when the Romans conquered.  The legend of Hercules continued in Rome at least until paganism was officially outlawed in 380 CE.  

It is often true that legends or myths are inspired by real people. However, there is no real evidence of an actual Hercules-type person.  There are some who say there was a great warrior who inspired the myth, but that the Romans destroyed all records of his existence. 

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