It is possible to distinguish on the fragments of a glazed ceramic cup (showcase n. 15, n. 20.1) three
of the twelve labours: the capture of the Erymanthian Boar, the Lernaean Hydra and the Amazons.
The Hercules’drawings were widely spread, especially among the relief decorations of the bronze or
silver potteries, but also among the “terra sigillata” ceramics.
For example, the excavations in Alba have put in light a “terra sigillata” cup decorated with an
episode of the Hercules’legend. This cup is now exposed in the Archaeological Museum of Turin.
The cup was produced in north African aboratories and it dates back from 350 AC to 430 AC. The
decorations on the internal base represents the myth about Hercules and Cicnus.
According to the myth Ercole, the Latin name of Erakles, son of Zeus and of a mortal woman, was
hero in the life and considered a god after the death. Because of an unlucky destiny manipulated by
Hera, the Zeus’wife, he had to obey to the Oing of Mycenae, who imposed him twelve labours.
The myth of Hercules and Cicnus
Cicnus was a violent man, a rubber that stopped the travellers; he killed them and later he offered
sacrifices to his father Ares with their remains. Apollo – got angry with Cicnus who used to steal the
pilgrims’ herds during their travel to Delfi – put against him Hercules. Hercules and Cicnus fought
in Makedonia and, after a brief fight, the former killed the latter. After the death of his son, Ares
attacked Hercules, but Hera diverted the Ares’ dart and the hero hit his leg, causing its flight.
1) Silver skyphos decorated with the Hercules’labours (National Archaeological Museum of
2) Terra sigillata cup decorated with the Hercules and Cicnus myth representation
(Archaeological Museum of Turin)