Mythological hero Hercules (or Herakles) was famed for his great strength and endurance and celebrated as an extraordinary mortal who,
through success in seemingly impossible labours, won his immortal place amongst the Olympian gods.
A massive fragment of an ancient statue that was unearthed by archaeologists in Amman, the capital of Jordan, was named as the hand of Hercules. People believe it to be a part of the Demi-God Hercules’ colossal marble statue, as it was found at the site of the Roman Temple of Hercules. Apart from the three fingers of his hand, the only other part left from the statue is apparently the elbow. It can be seen by the visitors coming to the Amman’s Hercules temple.
Temple Of Hercules
The area of modern day Jordan came under Roman rule, during the 1st century B.C, and at that time, Amman was known by its Greek name Philadelphia, and was one of the Ten Cities of the Decapolis. During about four centuries of the Roman rule period, many public monuments were built in Amman such as the Roman Theatre and Roman Odeon, which can still be seen in the city today.
Also, another one was the Temple of Hercules, constructed during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, though it was not as well built as the above mentioned two structures. People claim that this temple was never completely constructed, but still, the parts that have survived, give some information to the scholars about this monument.
An Ancient Site
According to the information that the scholars got from the remains, the part of the temple where the columns had been erected is the portico. The six columns would apparently have originally stood at a height of about 10 m, and they were re-erected in 1993, after they fell over centuries. A model of the temple has been made, which is displayed in the American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman.
The researchers also suggest that this temple was made on a site of an older temple dedicated to a native god. There is a bare patch of rock that has been left exposed, which the researchers speculate that may have been the sacred rock that was the centrepiece of the 9th century B.C. Ammonite Temple of Milcom.
Where Is The Rest Of The Hercules?
Apart from the hand and elbow of the statue, some scattered coins were found, which leaves open the question, where is the rest of the statue! And, is there any surety of it being the statue of Hercules? This is a mystery to even the archeologists and researchers. But, given the fact that so many coins found there had the image of Hercules, strengthens the speculation of the temple being dedicated to him.
Based on the remaining parts of the statue, researchers have speculated that its height would have been 43 feet (13 meters), making it one of the largest marble statues to have been sculpted in history. The researchers apparently speculate that probably a catastrophic Earthquake made the statue to collapse, which would strike the area from time to time. They further added that the fragments of the statue might have been used by the locals for other purposes, thus, all that remains today, are the fingers and elbow.