the Strongman
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"The origin of this constellation is shrouded in mystery. It was not known to the Greek astronomers by the name "Hercules" but as "Engonasi" or "Engonasin" meaning the "KneelingOne".

The Twelve labors of Hercules are supposed to have an astronomical significance, and refer to the sun's passage through the zodiacal sign. "Beginning with the summer solstice a series of coincidences will be noted which makes impressive this ancient belief. For example the first sign through which the sun passes is Leo, and Hercules' first labour was the slaying of the Nemean lion.

There is certainly a significance in the location of this figure of a giant trampling on a serpent, for he is placed head to head with the giant Ophiuchus, (not pictured) who is represented as holding a writhing serpent in his grasp. Hercules has been thought to represent the first Adam, beguiled by the serpent, and condemned to a life of toil, while Ophiuchus is supposed to be the second Adam, triumphant over the serpent.

Even in his infancy, Hercules displayed great courage and strength, for it is related that he rose in his cradle and strangled the serpents sent by Juno to distroy him.

Bayer represents Hercules as holding in addition to his club an apple branch, possibly to indicate his connection with the myth of the Golden Apples of the Garden of Hesperides. For his eleventh labor he was ordered to procure them."

from Star Lore by William Tyler Olcott

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