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Monday, August 15, 2011

Rare statue of Hercules found in northern Israel

The marble statue of Hercules, displayed August 2011

Archeologists discover marble statue in excavation site in Jezreel Valley, depicting the Greek demigod holding a club decorated with the skin of the Nemean lion he killed according to legend.

A marble statue of Hercules dating back to the second century C.E.has been found in an archeological dig in northern Israel, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced on Monday. The statue, approximately a meter and half tall, was probably part of the decoration of a bathhouse pool.

The statue depicts Hercules leaning on a club, with the skin of the Nemean lion hanging from it. Hercules killed the monstrous lion as the first of the twelve "Labors of Hercules." Archeologist Walid Atrash of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the statue is a rare and high-quality discovery.

Hercules, son of the god Zeus (Jupiter in Roman mythology) and the mortal Alcmnene, was considered in the Greek and Roman civilizations as a symbol of power, bravery and superhuman strength.

The excavation took place at Horvat Tarbenet in the Jezreel Valley, which was a Jewish settlement in the third century C.E.