Herakles is unique among Greek heroes. He achieved Panhellenic status at such an early date that his origins can no longer be traced, but most likely they lie in the Argolid (his name, which means “glory of Hera,” also evokes Argos). The fact that a wide variety of non-Greek populations, from the Lydians to the Phoenicians and Etruscans, adopted this hero is the best evidence of his overwhelming popularity. Much of his story is familiar to Homer, and some scholars believe that he was a Mycenaean hero. In any event, the question of “origins” is perhaps moot for Herakles because the corpus of his myths, and his general character, are the result of a long process of accretion, with contributions from nearly all parts of the Greek world. While some of the myths appear to have Bronze Age and even Stone Age roots, evidence for cults is much more recent, dating from the seventh and sixth centuries or later.1