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July 3, 2015     Post-Gazette
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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, JULY 3, 2015 by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. THE LABORS OF HERCULES The circumstances sur- rounding the birth of Her- cules, his early education, physical training, and the series of events which led to the imposition of his cel- ebrated "Labors" were dis- cussed in a previous issue. Any reader who might-won- der why newspaper space is devoted to this Greek demigod is reminded that Renaissance Rome honored his memory in many works of art. Presently I can recall a statue entitled "The Farnese Hercules" which is in the National Museum at Naples; a painting of Her- cules killing the Hydra (his second labor) and another of Hercules crushing Antaeus, both in the Uffizi gallery in Florence; and a statute of Hercules slaying Cacus, a cattle thief, in the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence near the copy of Michelangelo's David. The first ordeal imposed upon Hercules was to kill the Nemean lion. This was not an ordinary beast, but one of monstrous pro- portions. The hero visited Nemea (a valley in ancient Argolis, in southeastern Greece) and proceeded to the lion's lair, a two-mouthed cave. He quickly located the animal and, because his aim was infallible, he sent the arrow straight to its mark. When the arrow bounced harmlessly off the lion's side, Hercules realized that the beast was invulnerable to such weapons. He quickly blocked up one end of the cave and walked in unarmed through the other entrance. Antonio del Pollaiuolo's Hercules and the Hydra (c. 1475), Uffizi, Florence. Hercules stopped the charg- ing animal and strangled it with his bare hands. He then slung the dead lion over his shoulder and went back to the city of Tiryns. The terrified king (author of the labors of Hercules) then 4decreed that any future tro- phies were to be displayed outside the city gates. The dead lion was not wanted by anyone, so Hercules skinned it and used the pelt as a garment. The second labor demanded of Hercules, killing the Lernaean Hydra, was much more difficult. This hideous, many-headed Hydra, or water snake, lived in the marsh of Lerna, near Argos, with its devoted friend, a large crab. The Hydra was so poisonous that even its breath was fatal to humans. It also had nine heads, one of which was immortal. Typical of his usual bold- ness, Hercules drove the serpent out into the open with a barrage of burning arrows. As he grabbed the monster by one of its necks, it immediately wound itself around one leg of Hercules. The hero started hacking away at the heads with his sword, but soon found the immortal one invulnerable to his blows, while two other heads grew in place of each that was lopped off. Adding to his problems, the crab now came out of the swamp to bite at the foot of Her- cules. Realizing that he could not fight both adver- sarie's alone, the strong man called for Iolaus, his nephew and charioteer, who brought burning brands. Now as soon as a head was severed, it was cauterized. Repeating this procedure, the duo dispatched the mon- ster, except for the immor- tal head, which was severed and buried beneath a huge boulder. The body of the Hydra was slashed open and the arrows of Hercules were dipped into its deadly gall. This is the deadly poison which in future years caused the destruction of many enemies of Hercules. The hero returned triumphant to the City of Tiryns, but found that the king refused to count this as one of the labors because Hercules did not kill the Hydra alone. The next time you're in Florence be sure to visit the Uffizi Gallery to view the paint- ing of Hercules killing the Hydra, by the Renaissance artist Antonio Del Pollaiuolo. NEXT WEEK: Hind, Boar and Cow Chips R Publica by David TrumbuU On Independence Day Remember the History of American Freedom and Equafity At ten o'clock on the morning of Saturday, July 4th, the Declaration of Independence will be read out to the assembled people from the balcony of the Old State House just as it first was in Boston, 239 years ago on July 18, 1776. Yes, back in the Revolutionary (before E-mail) Period, it could take two weeks to get a document from Philadel- phia to Boston. The memorable words of the Declaration: We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are cre- ated equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, punctuate one scene in a sweep- ing drama of history going back thousands of years. Liberty and equality before law can be traced back to the Great Charter of England (Magna Carta), signed by King John 800 years ago on June 15, 1~15, which declared: No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land. And that medieval declaration of rights echoes an ear- lier act in the drama of freedom. In the Institutes of the Roman Emperor Justinian (A.D. 535), we read: The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due. Freedom, from which men are called free, is a man's natural power of doing what he pleases, so far as he is not prevented by force or law: Slavery is an /nst/tut/on of the law of nations, against nature subject- ing one man to the dominion of another. A thousand years earlier, Pericles (439 B.C.) said of Demo- cratic Athens: Our constitution favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all. And our founding fathers, who threw off allegiance to King George, must have agreed with the words of the Hebrew prophet Samuel who, half a millennium before Pericles warned the people that asked of him a king. This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his offic- ers, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you. -- I Samuel Chapter 8. As you enjoy the long weekend and all the events planned for Boston Harboffest, take some time out to reflect on the meaning of American Independence and our legacy of free- dom. God bless Americal Changes to As announced in April, changes were made to MBTA Late Night Service. After closely monitoring ridership levels for the year-long Late Night Service pilot program, the MBTA is implementing a schedule that continues to offer service where demand is greatest. The following Late Night Service ehantges are now in effect: Last subway trains will depart downtown stations at approximately 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday nights; this is also the latest time to make connections be- tween subway lines. LLO MBTA Late N Real Estate * The five least productive Late Night bus routes have eliminated: 15, 22, 71, 73, and 77. Frequency on all other bus routes and raft lines will be reduced. The Late Night Service changes were made follow- ing a comprehensive review and public comment process in February and March. What services will oper- ate until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights? Rapid Transit -- the Red, Orange, Green, Blue, Mattapan, and Silver Lines (except SL2) -- and some key bus routes. The key bus routes with Mott o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street * Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530 ight Service extended service are Route Nos. 1, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 111, and 116/117. The RIDE paratransit ser- vice will also operate until approximately 2:00 am to areas within aA mile of all late night services. Please note that this is only if both the origin of the trip and the destination of the trip are within aA mile of bus/ subway. Will the extended ser- vice operate like other MBTA services? Service will operate as it does dur- ing the day, serving the same stations and stops as the normal routes. Regular rapid transit and bus fares will be charged on late night services. All late-night trips Will be scheduled and will appear on the MBTA website, on phone apps, on Google Transit, and anywhere else that such in- formation is usually avail- able. Real-time information for buses will also be avail- able for the extended late- night service. Real-time in- formation for the Red, Blue, Green, and Orange Lines, (Continued on Page 13) Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 Speech on Immigration "In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." Fully Insured Lic #017936 :hanica] Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 kenskjs@aol.com