The Drunken Hercules

This picture is entitled "The Drunken Hercules" by Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640.

Baal (Lord) Melqart is a Canaanite god known as 'king of the city', the hunter, and 'fire of heaven'. As the Son of Poseidon, he was a sea god as well as a dying and rising vegetation god. He was celebrated once a year in the "egersis" or Ceremony of Awakening. Eating or drinking the plant of Melqart-Hercules would bestow the 'fire of heaven' and make an ordinary warrior into a superman.

Here we find the likely meaning behind the twelve labours of Hercules, with their fantastical monsters and mythical journey as one of the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece (a.k.a. lambs wool used to filter kykeon). These were the kind of visions one could expect from eating the hero plant.