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Classics & Ancient History   >   Greek Religion: Hero Cult

What is a Hero?

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Greek Religion: Hero Cult

In this course, Professor Richard Seaford (University of Exeter) explores the ancient Greek institution of the hero cult. In the first module, we describe what a hero cult actually is, thinking in particular about the different meanings of the word 'hero' in the Greek world. After that, we trace some of the connections between the kinds of offerings that an individual might receive at an ordinary Greek funeral to those received by 'heroes'. In the fourth module, we think about the kind of figures who attracted hero cult, before moving on in the fifth module to explore the increased importance of hero cult in maintaining political cohesion and stability.

What is a Hero?

In this module, we think about the different senses of the word 'hero' in the ancient Greek world, focusing in particular on the general idea of a 'hero' as a role model, but also the 'heroes' of epic and tragedy, and – most importantly for this set of lectures – the 'heroes' of hero cult.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Seaford, R. (2018, August 15). Greek Religion: Hero Cult - What is a Hero? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Seaford, R. "Greek Religion: Hero Cult – What is a Hero?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Prof. Richard Seaford

Prof. Richard Seaford

Exeter University