Votive hymn to Hercules Saxsanus


Hercules from the Leiden Aratea

Beset by foes on every side,
alone amidst the knavish host
without a hope of mortal aid,
O Hercules, you raised your voice
to Jove your kindly sire for help—
you, victor though you ever were,
did not disdain to seek relief.
No bolts of shocking lightning now,
no armies of tooth-begotten men,
did Jove provide to succor you:
the means, instead, for you to fight
and vanquish all your sneering foes
on Gaulish strand from heaven fell—
the rocks that none could hurl but you.
From that uncanny storm of stones
you drew all needful strength anew,
and whirled the heav’n-sent missiles round
confounding that Ligurian host
that sought to make your spoils their own.
Astounded, scattered, smarting brood,
they fled the field beneath your blows.
And thus you kept from jealous hands
the rustled kine of Geryon,
fulfilling heavy labors due
to deathless godhead’s stern decrees.
O persevering Hercules,
by stones from brigands’ clutches freed,
eternal friend of those distressed,
give us the means to struggle on
against the haughty hateful deeds
of those forsworn to decent shame.
You hero once, eternal god,
equip us now with all we need
to build the house of justice new,
and hold off barbarism’s sway.
For all you do for truth and right
to honor virtue through the earth,
I thank you, gracious Hercules,
and offer you this humble gift.


About DeoMercurio

I’m a Gaulish polytheist, now back living in lands ceded by the Council of Three Fires after several years’ sojourn in Anatolia and in the land of the Senecas, with frequent travels to Gaul along the way. My grandfather’s family came from the area around Trier, and I identify closely with the Treveri in my religious practice.
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3 Responses to Votive hymn to Hercules Saxsanus

  1. The Gaulish Hercules is one I want to explore more, so many thanks for posting this and giving me some devotional food for thought! 🙂

    • DeoMercurio says:

      One unexpected Gaulish source for Hercules (not necessarily the same Hercules as the Ogmios-of-chained-heads fame, and not necessarily Hercules Saxsanus either) is the divine Postumus’ series of Hercules-themed coins during the Gallic Empire. The Twelve Labours series is quite prized, I gather, by numismatists…

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