My title has a double meaning; Hercules as a figure representing imperialism both as a pre-historic forerunner for the subjects of imperial Rome themselves, and as a point of pre-historic reference for this collection. There is a danger in contributing an essay on classical material to a collection of studies of the contemporary world; a danger that the specificity of ancient society will be passed over in the urge to find similarities, or worse, to find origins and causes. However, it is a danger that can be productive, in that a recognition of similarity can restrain an unjustified sense of the uniqueness of modern conditions. And for the classicist to look at the configurations of ancient empire from a modern perspective is to look at an area traditionally characterized by its political irrelevance, and to find new possibilities in the details of how different imperial subjects related to each other.
Fox, Matthew, Greek & Roman Hercules: Moments in Pre-Historical Imperialism., Kunapipi, 18(1), 1996.