Heraclean Historians


The rhetorical use of Heracles, well recognized in poetry and philosophy, also occurs in historiography, not only to praise various historical figures but even to flatter the historians themselves since they saw their work as a "labor" for the benefaction of mankind. This conceit seems to have been particularly important for universal historians as shown by the examples of Diodorus, Pompeius Trogus, and Nicolaus of Damascus. Surely philosophers such as Prodicus were influential in the historians' use of Heracles, and most likely Heracles was first explicitly compared with historians by one of Diodorus' predecessors in universal history.