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Epic Heroes on Screen

Edited by Antony Augoustakis, Stacie Raucci

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Representations of the ancient hero in the new millennium

Since 2000, numerous heroes of the ancient world have appeared on film and TV, from the mythical Hercules to leaders of the Greek and Roman worlds. Films and shows discussed in this volume range from Hercules and The Legend of Hercules to TV shows, Atlantis and Supernatural, to other biopic works influenced by the ancient hero.

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Series Editors’ Preface

Editors’ Acknowledgments


List of Illustrations

Introduction: The Reinvention of the Ancient Hero, Antony Augoustakis and Stacie Raucci

Part I: Hercules

1. Hercules and the Millennial Generation, Jon Solomon

2. Hercules – The Mythopoetics of New Heroism, Alastair J. L. Blanshard

3. Hercules, Putin, and the Heroic Body on Screen in 2014, Emma Stafford

4. Heroes and Companions in Hercules (2014), Angeline Chiu

5. Sacrifice and Salvific Heroism in Supernatural (2005-), Meredith E. Safran

Part II: Epic Heroes

6. Russell Crowe and Maximal Projections in Noah (2014), Monica S. Cyrino

7. The Immortality of Theseus and his Myth, Margaret Toscano

8. The Changing Faces of Heroism in Atlantis (2013-15), Amanda Potter

9. Xena: Warrior, Heroine, Tramp, Anise K. Strong

10. Divergent Heroism in Centurion (2010), Hunter H. Gardner

Part III: Antiheroes

11. The Hero in a Thousand Pieces: Antiheroes in Recent Epic Cinema, Daniel Curley

12. Trouble in the Tehran Multiplex: Xerxes, 300 and 300 Rise of an Empire in Iran, Lloyd Llewellyn Jones

13. Ancient (Anti)Heroes on Screen and Ancient Greece Post-9/11, Vincent Tomasso

14. Making Modern (Anti)Heroes, the Ancient Way, Alex McAuley

About the Author

Antony Augoustakis is Professor of Classics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. His research focuses on Imperial Latin literature of the first century CE, especially the role of gender and the representation of death and ritual in epic poetry. He has also published several book chapters on the representation of classical antiquity on film and television. He is the editor of Classical Journal.

Stacie Raucci is Associate Professor of Classics at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Her academic research focuses on Roman elegy, Roman topography, and the reception of the ancient world in popular culture. She is the author of Elegiac Eyes: Vision in Roman Love Elegy (Peter Lang 2011) and co-author of Rome: A Sourcebook on the Ancient City (Bloomsbury 2018).


Damaged males and empowered females: the epic protagonists of this collection, including Dwayne Johnson and Vladimir Putin, show the increasing dark tones used to depict heroism in the new millennium. Constant references to the story of Hercules show the continuing, yet mutating influence of classical myth.

- Arthur J. Pomeroy, Victoria University of Wellington

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