The male heroes , singular the heroes ( ancient Greek ἥρως hḗrōs "the hero ") or the female heroines , singular the heroines ( ἡρωίς hērōís "the heroine"), are figures of Greek and Roman mythology , mostly of semi-divine origin.
As an extension of the private ancestral cult , the hero cult plays an important role for states, cities, communities and shrines. The appeal to legendary and semi-divine founder figures represented an additional legitimation and bond and guaranteed divine protection. The relics of the heroes enjoyed special veneration and were venerated in their own sanctuary, the heroon , usually consisting of the grave, an altar and a grove. The prescribed sacrifices and prayers were offered on fixed feast days.
Drakon anchored in the late 7th century BC Chr. The hero worship in the Athenian constitution . Olympia referred to its legendary foundation by the hero Pelops , who was worshiped in a corresponding sanctuary. One of the most famous heroes was Achilles , whose grave was visited until late antiquity . The city founders Romulus and Remus enjoyed special veneration in Rome .
- Gunnel Ekroth: The sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults in the Archaic to the early Hellenistic periods (= Kernos . Supplement Vol. 12). Center International d'Étude de la Religion Grecque Antique, Liège 2002 (also dissertation, Stockholm University 1999).
- Lewis Richard Farnell: Greek hero cults and ideas of immortality . Ares Publ., Chicago, Ill. 1995, ISBN 0-89005-023-6 (reprint of the Oxford 1921 edition).
- Hans von Geisau : hero cult. In: The Little Pauly (KlP). Volume 2, Stuttgart 1967, Col. 1103-1105.
- Karl Kerényi : The heroes stories (The mythology of the Greeks; Vol. 2). 21st edition Dtv, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-423-30031-0 (former title The Heroes of the Greeks ).