A heroon - ἡρῷον (plural "heroa" - ἡρῷα), also called "heroum", was a shrine dedicated to an ancient Greek or Roman hero and was used for the commemoration or worship of the hero. It was often erected over his supposed tomb or cenotaph.

The Romans and the Greeks practised an extensive and widespread cult of heroes. Heroes played a central role in the life of a "polis", giving the city a shared focus for its identity. The cult typically centred around the heroon in which the hero's bones were usually believed to be contained. In a sense, the hero was considered to still be alive; he was offered meals and was imagined to be sharing feasts. His allegiance was seen as vitally important to the continued well-being of the city. This led to struggles between Greek cities for control of heroic remains.

Greek literature records how Cimon of Athens avenged the death of the legendary hero Theseus in 469 BC, finding a set of bones allegedly belonging to the hero and returning with them in triumph to Athens. Similarly, Herodotus records in his "Histories" that the Spartans raided the heroon of the city of Tegea, stealing the bones of Orestes. This was regarded as changing the hero's allegiance from Tegea to Sparta, ensuring that the Spartans could defeat the Tegeans as foretold by the Oracle of Delphi. [Parkins, p. 198.]

Many examples of heroa can be found around the tholos tombs of Mycenaean Greece and in or near the sacred areas of a number of Greek cities around the Mediterranean. A particularly well-preserved example, the so-called Tomb of Theron, can be found at Agrigento in Sicily. Another notable one, at Vergina in Greek Macedonia (the ancient city of "Aigai" - Αἶγαι), is thought to have been dedicated to the worship of the family of Alexander the Great and may have housed the cult statue of Alexander's father, Philip II of Macedon. A well-preserved Roman heroon from the Augustan period is situated in the ancient city of Sagalassos in what is now Turkey.



*Parkins, Helen. "Roman Urbanism". Routledge, 1997.

External links

* [http://www.macedonian-heritage.gr/HellenicMacedonia/en/C1.1.6.5.html The 'Heroon' at Aigai]
* [http://www.archaeology.org/interactive/sagalassos/field06/heroon1.html Archaeology's Interactive Dig: Northwest Heroon, "Archaeology", June-August 2006]

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  • Heroon — in Sagalassos, heute Türkei. Als Heroon (Plural Heroa, griechisch ἡρῷον) bezeichnet man in der griechisch römischen Architektur ein Heiligtum oder ein Grabdenkmal eines Heros, dem dort eine besondere Verehrung zukam, meist dem legendären… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Herōon — (gr. Ant.), 1) einem Heros gewidmeter Tempel; 2) Fest, einem Heros gefeiert; 3) Grabmal eines Heros, gewöhnlich mit Altären u. Hain …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Herōon — (griech.), Heiligtum eines Heros, namentlich das Grabmal eines solchen; s. Heros …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Heroon — Herōon (grch.), Heiligtum eines Heros, namentlich sein Grabmal; auch Fest zu Ehren eines Heros …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • heroon — hèroōn m <G heroóna> DEFINICIJA pov. antički naziv za grobnicu ili svetište nekog heroja ETIMOLOGIJA grč. hērȏion …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Hérôon — Sagalassos : hérôon du nord ouest Un hérôon (au pluriel Heroa, en grec ἡρῷον) est un édifice d architecture gréco romaine dédié à un héros ou à une héroïne et construit au dessus de la tombe ou du cénotaphe de celui ci. Il était consacré à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Heroon — He|ro|on 〈n.; s, ro:a〉 Heiligtum, Grabmal eines Heros [<grch. heroon] * * * He|ro|on, das; s, …roa [griech. hērõon]: Grabmal u. Tempel eines ↑ Heros (1). * * * Heroon   [griechisch] …   Universal-Lexikon

  • herõon — noun A sepulchral monument in the form of a small temple. In Ancient Greece, a monument to a dead hero, and now the relics they find are most well preserved at heroons, like vases or pots with references to the deeds of Herakles, or Calydon …   Wiktionary

  • héroon — (hé ro on) s. m. Terme d antiquité. Monument élevé en mémoire d un héros ou d une héroïne. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Terme venant d un mot grec traduit par héros …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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