Hercules, mythical founder
The tenth labour of Hercules (to take possession of the giant Geryon’s cattle and bring them back) provided the half-god with the opportunity to put up the pillars which bear his name and close off the Mediterranean (strait of Gibraltar).
After having accomplished this task, he returned to Greece via the northern shore of the Mediterranean. When he was passing through Liguria, Hercules forged a path and built the Rocher.
The Mediterranean path, which already bore his name in the 4th century B.C., was probably punctuated by little oratories located near to inhabited areas. During Christianisation, these oratories may have been replaced by chapels dedicated to saints. The old temple of Hercules could therefore be on the site of the current Saint Devota church (though recent research suggests that it could have towered above the Trophy of Augustus in La Turbie).
Running alongside the Main Courtyard of the Prince’s Palace, the Hercules gallery in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco was a desire of Prince Honoré II, in memory of his son Hercules, who died in an accident in 1651, and in memory of the mythical founder of Monaco. The gallery is beautifully decorated, with frescoes which are dedicated to the half-god and works by the Genoese painter Orazio Ferrari.