Rough Typology of Greek Hero Legend

1. Birth

Prophecy before or after birth

One parent is divine

Persecution, e.g. exposure

Kindly animal

2. Initiation (not the same as cultic initiation)

Hunting for, combat with monsters

Other dangerous tasks

"Buddy" motif

Exx.: Gilgamesh and Enkidu; Heracles and Iolaüs (faint); Achilles and Patroclus; Theseus and Peirithoüs; Orestes and Pylades.

Quest for a bride ->

3. Marriage

Acquires father-in-law’s kingdom

4. Crimes and atonement

Exx.: Heracles; Oedipus; Perseus kills Acrisius

5. Ruler, founder, father

6. Hero’s children

7. Foundations

Colonies, cities, festivals, rituals, forms of government

8. Death

The hero is mortal! Death always remarkable in some way

Redemption, if earlier crimes

Magnificent funeral