Hercules Slays Cacus, 1550

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Heinrich Aldegrever's finely-detailed engraving presents the climactic scene from the Roman myth of Hercules and Cacus. Hercules, a demi-god and son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, was known for his physical strength and adventurous exploits. Cacus, who lived in a cave on the future site of Rome, was a fire-breathing monster, the son of Hephaestus and Medusa. Cacus lived on human flesh, and decorated his cave with the bones and skulls of his victims. After Hercules discovers Cacus had stolen eight of his cattle, he seeks the monster out for retribution. Cacus hides in his cave, rolling a boulder to block the entrance. Hercules tosses the boulder aside and using rocks and tree branches, battles Cacus, who fights back with his fire-breathing abilities. Hercules eventually prevails, murdering Cacus by strangulation.

Hercules Slays Cacus
Artist Life
1502–after 1555/61
Accession Number
W.B. Scott, Lugt 2607
Catalogue Raisonne
Holl.85; B.85, 391
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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