Legends and folklores from around the world speak of a heroic person of immense strength, courage, justice and piety, called Hercules, who had roamed the world in the ancient times, and played a significant role in slaying evil monsters, founding important cities and in establishing the institutions of monarchy and priesthood.

In an earlier article titled “Hercules and Balarama: The Symbolic and Historical Connections”[i], I had pointed out that the Greek historians such as Arrian and Diodorus Siculus (who were quoting from the earlier works of Megasthenes) had represented Hercules as a native of India. They had written that Hercules was depicted amongst the Indians with a club and lion’s hide, and was worshipped by the Surasena tribe at the city of Mathura, on the banks of the Yamuna river. These descriptions indicate, quite clearly, that the Grecian Hercules was Balarama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. 

A number of Oriental scholars of the early 19th century, including Captain Francis Wilford and Colonel James Tod, had provided further insights in this regard. Captain James Tod's suggestion that the term Hercules could be a compound of Hari-kula-es meaning "Lord of the race of Hari" was most enlightening, for both Krishna and Balarama were lords (es) of the race of Hari (Harikula).

My own research in this matter threw up more commonalities between these heroic personalities. Both Hercules and Balarama were strong and courageous individuals who had rid the world of monsters. They were depicted holding implements such as the club, plough, lion’s skin, wine-cup, bow and arrow, sword etc. The labors of Hercules and the exploits of the brother deities Krishna-Balarama share a number of symbolic elements - the multi-headed serpent, the ferocious bull, the man-eating birds, the fire-breathing horses, amongst many others - which suggest that many of these stories sprang from a common source.

The ancient Sanskrit texts indicate that Greeks, who were referred to as the Yavanas or Yonas, had taken part in the Mahabharata War, and many Greek colonies existed within India during this epoch. Could it be that some of these Greek colonies migrated back to the west after the war, carrying with them the stories of Balarama? The Indonesian version of the Mahabharata called Bharatayuddha  provides a different perspective. According to this text, Balarama had lived for many years after the death of Krishna, and during this time he roamed the world, performing many remarkable feats. This could explain why Balarama became so-well known outside India as Hercules, but Krishna was not mentioned in these legends.

In this article, I will explore many ancient sources that talk of the legendary exploits of Hercules, and show how all of them connect back to the identity of Hercules as Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna.

Hercules-Balarama and the Founding of Rome

Traditional Roman beliefs, as recounted in Virgil’s Aeneid, tell us that Hercules had visited Rome during his Tenth Labour, after he acquired the cattle of Geryon. While driving the cattle through Italy, on his way to King Eurystheus, a fire breathing, half-man half-beast monster called Cacus stole his cattle and hid them in a cave in Mount Aventine. Hercules found out Cacus’s location, killed him in a combat, and recovered the cattle.

Hercules’s killing of Cacus, who terrorized the lands and brought chaos and instability, created the conditions necessary for the founding of a city. Early poets and the Roman Emperors regarded Hercules as the original founder of Rome. An Imperial medallion issued by the Roman Emperor Commodus shows the emperor dressed as Hercules and ploughing out the “original furrow” of Rome, in order to establish a sacred area for the foundation of the city. In one hand he holds the mace, and in the other he is guiding the plough, looking very much like Balarama who was traditionally depicted with the club and the plough.

Roman Imperial medallion depicting the emperor Commodus (c.180 - 192 AD), dressed as Hercules, ploughing out the furrow of Rome
Fig 1: Roman Imperial medallion depicting the emperor Commodus (c.180 - 192 AD), dressed as Hercules, ploughing out the furrow of Rome; he is wearing the lion's skin, holding a club in left hand and a plough in his right hand. Source: The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2014
Bronze coin issued by the Indo-Greek ruler Agathocles (c.180-165 BC), depicting Balarama and Krishna
Fig 2: Bronze coin issued by the Indo-Greek ruler Agathocles (c.180-165 BC), depicting Balarama and Krishna. One side depicts a two handed Balarama, carrying a club in his right hand and a plough in his left. Vasudeva-Krishna is shown on the other side, carrying a chakra and a conch.
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Classical Numismatic Group,
The question is, if, Hercules was the original founder of the city of Rome, then how is it that Romulus and Remus were also credited with the founding of the city?

There is actually much more to the story than what is commonly known. In The History of Rome, the Roman historian Livy writes that Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia, who was daughter of Numitor, the king of Alba Longa. Numitor had been deposed by his brother Amulius, and his daughter Rhea Silvia was allowed to live on the condition that she would become a Vestal virgin (and thereby become incapable of producing heirs to the throne).  Rhea Silva, however, became impregnated by the god of war Mars (Ares), and gave birth to Romulus and Remus. In some variations of this account, Rhea Silvia was impregnated by the demi-god Hercules.

Plutarch provides another account in The Life of Romulus, in which Hercules had won a game of dice against the priest of his temple and, as a reward, slept with a courtesan called Acca Larentia. Later Acca Larentia gave birth to Romulus and Remus. When Romulus and Remus grew up, they deposed Amulius and restored their grandfather Numitor to the throne. Then Romulus fortified the Palatine Hill where he had been brought up, established the worship of Hercules along with the other deities, and built Rome as a stable city.

If we go by these accounts, then we are led to the conclusion that the original founder of Rome was Hercules, who had measured out the sacred area for the city, and possibly built a few of the original structures. Subsequently, his son Romulus took his work further, and fortified the city and made it secure.

This perspective also throws light on how the city of Rome got its name. Scholars have often speculated that Rome may have received its name from Romulus. But that, in turn, raises the question as to how Romulus got his name and what exactly it meant, to which there are no simple answers. These questions are easily answered, however, once we realize that Hercules was the same as Bala-Rama (whose name means the “strong Rama” since Bala means “strong”), who was simply referred to as Bala or as Rama. The city of Rome, therefore, appears to have derived its name from its founder and iconic hero – Rama or
Balarama - as did Romulus, who according to Plutarch, was the son of Hercules i.e. Balarama.

Hercules Belus in Egypt  

The ancient Egyptian sources do not give us any information about the arrival and exploits of Hercules in their land. The Greek historians, however, provide us with some accounts of the events that transpired on the arrival of Hercules in Egypt, many thousands of years back.

According to the Greek sources, Heracles had first set foot in Egypt, at the port city of Heracleion, located near the Canopic mouth of the Nile, close to Alexandria. A great temple to Heracles had been built here, which had been visited by Helena and Paris before the Trojan War, as they fled the fury of Helena’s husband Menelaus[iii]. Many centuries later Herodotus, too, had visited this temple of Heracles at Heracleion. 

Map of Nile Delta showing Heracleion located near the Canopic mouth of the Nile.
Fig 3: Map of Nile Delta showing Heracleion located near the Canopic mouth of the Nile. Source:
As per the ancient accounts, when Heracles had arrived in Egypt, the reigning king of Egypt was Busiris, who was advised by an oracle to make an annual sacrifice of a foreigner at the altar of Zeus, in order to end a famine that had struck Egypt. Heracles on his arrival in Egypt was seized and led to the altar, but he broke his chains and slew Busiris, together with his son Amphidamas, and offered them at the same altar.

Diodorus Siculus (c.50 BC) relates another story with respect to Hercules[iv]. At one time the flooding of the Nile was so great that the whole of Egypt was under water. Prometheus, who was the overseer of a certain district in Egypt tried to stop the flood, but was not successful and was contemplating suicide out of despair. Hercules then arrived in the nick of time, and stopped the flood waters, and turned the river back to its former course.

It is of interest to note here that Balarama, too, was credited with diverting the course of the river Yamuna using his plough, while Hercules had diverted the course of the river Alpheus in order to clean the Augean stables. Therefore, the act of stopping the floodwaters of the Nile, and returning the river to its former course, was in keeping with the superhuman abilities that were traditionally attributed Hercules and Balarama.

The most interesting accounts are related with respect to a personality called Belus. The Roman philosopher Cicero (c.106 BC) had stated that, “the Indian Hercules is denominated Belus[v], and he used the term Hercules Belus to refer to him. We can see here that Cicero had used the term "Hercules" as a title or epithet of Belus, which is in keeping with Colonel Tod's interpretation of the term as Hari-kula-es.

Apollodorus (c.180 BC) tells us that Belus ruled over Egypt and Libya, while his twin-brother Agenor ruled over Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia[vi]. Belus had two sons – Aegyptus (also known as Ramesses) and Danaus. Belus installed Aegyptus as the ruler of Egypt, and placed his other son Danaus over Libya. The 10th century writer Suidas, who compiled the voluminous encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world known as the Suda Lexicon, wrote that Egypt derived its name from Aegyptus, the son of Belus: 
“Ramesses, the son of Belus who was the son of Zeuth, came into the region called Mestraea (ancient Egypt), and gained the sovereignty, over the people of the country. He was the person, whom they afterwards called Aegyptus; and the region was denominated from him.”[vii]
However, there was also a prevailing belief that Aegyptus was another name of Belus, for according to Aeschylus (c.525 BC), the Greek poet and dramatist, “Belus having conquered the Mizraim (Egyptians) styled Melampodes, called the country, after one of his own titles, Aegyptus.”[viii] 

These accounts provide us with a more detailed understanding of the events that transpired upon the arrival of Hercules-Balarama on the shores of Egypt. He controlled a flood on the Nile, deposed of a tyrant king called Busiris, and placed his son Ramesses on the throne of Egypt. Such was the impact of his achievements that Egypt henceforth became named after Aegyptus, which was the title of either Balarama or his son Ramesses. 

Thus, in Rome the son of Hercules-Balarama was named Romulus, who fortified the city of Rome and made it secure, while in Egypt the son of Hercules-Balarama was Ramesses - a name that was subsequently used by 11 pharaohs of the New Kindom.

Another interesting perspective concerns the twin brother of Belus called Agenor who ruled over Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia. According to the German philologist, Philipp Karl Buttmann, the genuine Phoenician name of Agenor was Khna.[ix] The Phoenicians traced their origins to this ancestor called Khna [x], who gave his name to the land of Canaan, which included the coastal regions of modern Israel, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Hecataeus of Miletus, in the 6th century BC, affirmed that Phoenicia was formerly called as Khna.The Greeks used the term Khna for the land of Cannan, but the general Northwest Semitic name for this region was knʿn, Kana'an, and the term "Canaanites" (kena‘anim, kena‘anī) was used to refer to the Phoenicians.

We know that Balarama, too, had a younger brother called Krishna, and they were literally inseparable like twins. One of the very popular names of Krishna is Kanha (or Kanhaiya) which sounds very similar to the Phoenician Khna. In fact, the name Kanha is widely used in India even today, and in many families the elder brother is often called Bala (or its many variants) and the younger Kanha (or its many variants). Therefore, the twin brothers Belus-Khna can be recognized as the counterparts of Bala-Kanha or Balarama-Krishna.

In Southern India, the epithet Kannan was a favourite name of Krishna in Tamil literature of the Bhakti and later periods. According to T. Padmaja, this term was probably derived from the Prakrit term Kahna or Khanna:
"The term Kannan denoting Krsna was probably derived from the Prakrit word Khanna which according to the Buddhist Ghata Jataka is a gotra name. In the Mahaummagga Jataka, Vasudeva is mentioned as belonging to the Kanhayana-gotra. The name Khanna is even today widely prevalent in North India. In Telugu, it is Kannaiya. The Tamil adoption and rendering of the Prakrit Kanha or Khanna would be Kannan which became popular in Tamil country in the Bhakti period. In the hymns of the Alvars, and later works we see this name Kannan being extensively and exclusively used as an endearing term for Krsna."[xi]
Thus, just as Khna of the Phoenicians also came to be known as Kanaan or Canaan, in the same fashion, Krishna's name Kahna (which was probably derived from his gotra or lineage name) was transformed into Kannan in Southern India. This, along with the fact that both Khna-Belus and Kanha-Bala were siblings leaves very little doubt about the commonality of their identity.

The story of Belus, however, does not end here. He traveled to Babylon and carried out many herculean tasks there as well.

The Exploits of the Babylonian Belus

According to Diodorus Siculus[xii], the King Belus of Egypt went with a colony out of Egypt and settled near the river Euphrates, while Pausanias (c.110 AD), the Greek traveler and geographer, states that Belus of Babylon had its name from Belus, an Egyptian. At Babylon, Belus instituted an Order of Priests, after the manner of the Egyptians, whom he exempted from public taxes and offices, so that they might devote themselves to the study of Astrology and make celestial observations.

The Babylonian Belus was regarded as an ancient king who founded Babylon. The Roman historian Eusebius (citing Abydenus, who took his history from the ancient monuments of the Chaldeans) writes:
“It is said that all (Babylon) was originally water, and called a sea. But Belus put an end to this, and assigned a district to each, and surrounded Babylon with a wall; and at the appointed time he disappeared. And Afterwards Nebuchadnezzar built the wall which remained to the time of the Macedonian Empire, and was furnished with gates of brass. ”[xiii]
Babylon was uniformly regarded by the ancient historians as a stunning city of enormous proportions. Herodotus[xiv], who had visited Babylon, said that the city was laid out as an exact square of sides 12 miles each. The entire city was encircled by high walls, 350 feet high and 87 feet thick, built with large bricks cemented with bitumen. The city was encompassed by a vast ditch filled with water. The earth which was dug out from this ditch was employed in making the bricks for the gigantic walls of the city. The city had 100 gates of brass, 25 on each of the four sides. Between every two of these gates were three towers, raised ten feet above the walls. The Euphrates River divided the city into two parts, and a 60 feet wide bridge over the river linked the two halves. The center of each division of the town was occupied by a fortress. In the one stood the palace of the kings, and in the other was the sacred precinct of Jupiter Belus. 
Plan of the city of Babylon during the time of the king Nebuchadnezzar II,  600 BC.
Fig 4: Plan of the city of Babylon during the time of the king Nebuchadnezzar II,  600 BC. Source: Wikipedia
It is no coincidence that Balarama was also credited with the building of enormous cities and grand palaces. While Belus built the city of Babylon by reclaiming land from the sea, the brother deities Krishna-Balarama had reclaimed land from the Arabian Sea and built the island-kingdom of Dwaraka, (which was submerged under the ocean at the end of the Dwapara Yuga). Balarama also built the city of Palibothra (modern Patna), which was the capital of ancient India. Strabo says that Palibothra was the largest city in India, situated at the confluence of the Ganges and Erranaboas (Sone) rivers. He says, on the testimony of Megasthenes, that Palibothra was shaped like a parallelogram with sides of length 8 miles and breadth 1.5 miles. The ditch, which enclosed it, was 600 feet wide and 45 feet deep, and it received the sewage of the city. The city was surrounded by a high wall with 570 towers and 64 gates.  Diodorus Siculus adds that the walls, that is to say, the upper part or parapet, were of wood, with loop-holes for discharging arrows. Pliny states that there was no city in India which rivaled Palibothra in its magnitude and splendour.[xv] 

There is a distinct similarity between the architecture, layout and scale of these two ancient cities, Babylon and Palibothra, which supports the idea that they were built by the same person. Even chronologically, it appears that Belus and Balarama lived during the same time period.

There are a number of different opinions regarding the time when Belus lived, and how long he ruled at Babylon. One of the derivations is more relevant for this analysis. According to Philo (d. 50 AD), the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, and some other ancient writers, Belus built Babylon 2000 years before the time of Semiramis, the wife of Ninus, who had ascended the throne after her husband’s death and carried out many magnificent works of art and civilian architecture throughout her empire.[xvi] Now, Diodorus Siculus places Ninus about 1950 years before the Christian era, nearly about the time of Abraham. [xvii] This would mean that Belus lived (1950 + 2000) i.e. nearly 3950 years before the Christian era. This is very close to the end of the Dwapara Yuga in the Indian Yuga system in 3976 BC (using the Saptarshi Calendar as the basis of the Yuga Cycle).[xviii] It was at the end of the Dwapara Yuga that both Krishna and Balarama departed from this world, after a lifetime of extraordinary achievements. This concurrence of dates is very significant, and gives us a good reason to think that these stories, which have been relegated to the realm of myths, are actually based on real historical events of a long forgotten past.

Belus also established the Babylonian royal dynasty, which ruled for many centuries after him, and even Nebuchadnezzar II (d. 562 BC), who had rebuilt and adorned the city of Babylon, considered himself to have descended from Belus. In India, too, the posterity of Balarama reigned for many centuries in Palibothra (Patna), but, as Diodorus Siculus reports, they did nothing worthy of being recorded. Like Hercules and Balarama, Belus also came to be regarded as a god after his death, and was worshipped by the Hebrews as Bel or Baal.

Baal and the Phoenician Melqart

Since the very ancient times, the Hebrews worshipped Bel or Baal. He was the patron god of Nippur, and his name meant “lordly, dominant”. Baal was also the tutelary deity of Babylon. Although, the term Baal was used as an honorific or title for many gods of the Levant and Asia Minor, it was also used absolutely of a god Baal, in such forms as Ish-baal (“Man of Baal”) or Hannibal (“Favor of Baal”). 

The phonetic similarity between the names Baal and Balarama (or Balram) is obvious. The name Bala-Rama means the “Strong Rama” since Bala means “strong”. Balarama was, therefore, simply referred to as “Bala” or as “Rama” (not to be confused with the monarch Ramachandra of Ayodhya). Phonetically, “Bala”/ “Bal” and “Baal” are nearly identical, which supports the hypothesis that we are talking of the same person. Interestingly, the term “Bal” is still a widely used surname in India, just as it was used in ancient times as a suffix for names such as Hannibal or Ishbaal. 

Like Balarama, Baal was the giver of victory, (“Baal the Conqueror”) and the patron god of rains, growth, fertility, and the produce of the soil. As Baal-Hadad, he was the storm and rain god, and the lord of the sky (“Rider in the Clouds”). He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt, while wearing a bull-horned headdress. It was with his magic club that he defeated Yam, the God of the Sea, in battle. As discussed in the earlier articles, the club and the bull-horned headdress are also attributes of Balarama.
Stele of Baal with a club, wearing a conical headress, and holding the stem of a plant. Ugarit, c.1499-1299 BC.
Fig 5: Stele of Baal with a club, wearing a conical headress, and holding the stem of a plant. Ugarit, c.1499-1299 BC. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Bronze statue of Melqart, who was worshiped by the Phoenicians
Fig 6: Bronze statue of Melqart, bearing a strong resemblance to the Stele of Baal. Source:
The shrines to Baal always had a sacred tree-stem or pole planted beside it, and he is frequently shown holding a tree stem in his hand. Sacred pillars were also often built close to the shrine.[xix] This is something we find in both Hindu and Jain iconography. One of the symbols associated with Balarama is the palm tree. A pillar, crowned by a palm capital, was a symbol of Balarama who was called Talanka.[xx] The palm tree was also the symbol on the standard of Balarama’s chariot which was called Taladhvaja. 

Therefore, if we follow the traditional narrative and explore the symbolic connections, it becomes quite obvious that the King Belus of Egypt and Babylon, and the deities Bel or Baal of the Hebrews, are in fact the same heroic personality: Hercules-Balarama. 

We have already spoken of the Phoenicians who traced their origins to an ancestor called Khna, who was none other than Kanha or Lord Krishna. The Phoenicians also worshiped a god called Melqart, who was the tutelary deity of the Phoenician city of Tyre. The name is a variant of MLK QRT and means "King of the City".

Herodotus had visited Tyre, and found a temple of Heracles. He wrote that it was "richly adorned with a number of offerings, among which were two pillars,  one  of  pure  gold,  the  other  of  emerald,  shining  with  great brilliancy  at  night.” [Herodotus 2.44]. Twin pillars, like these, were often seen in temples dedicated to Melqart in the Phoenician colonies. Some scholars surmise that the "Pillars of Heracles" at the Straits of Gibraltar may have been dedicated to Melkart by the Phoenicians. Other temples dedicated to Melqart were found at Malta, Carthage, and other locations around the Mediterranean...One dedication at Malta reads “To the Lord Melkart, Baal of Tyre".[xxi] 
The Phoenician Trade Netwrok. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Yom CC /BY-SA 3.0
Melqart was also referred to as “Baal Melqart”, and as the “Baal of Tyre”. Melqart’s name signified, the king of the city; according to others, and with greater probability, “the powerful king”. The Phoenicians regarded him as the god of harvests and of the table, the god who brings joy in his train. A mercantile and commercial people, they also made him the protector of commerce and colonies.[xxii] A bronze statue of Melqart depicts the god in a manner very similar to Baal i.e. with a beard, wearing a conical headdress, and with upraised hands ready for combat.

Melqart was also referred to as Belus, a name by which the Indian Hercules i.e. Balarama was also known. In addition, the Greeks identified Melqart with Heracles, and referred to him as the Tyrian Heracles. A number of coins issued by the Phoenician city of Tyre shows Melqart with the lion’s skin tied around his neck on one side, and on the observe side, an eagle with the branch of a palm over the right wing, and a club to the left. The lion’s skin, club and palm branch are all symbols of Hercules-Balarama.
Coin of Tyre, depicting bust of Melqart, with lion skin tied around neck. On the other side is an eagle with palm branch on right wing and club to the left.
Fig 7: Coin of Tyre, depicting bust of Melqart, with lion skin tied around neck. On the other side is an eagle with palm branch on right wing and club to the left. Tyre, Phoenicia. 123/122 BC. Source:
So, once again, we have a convergence of many different epithets for the same person; for Melqart is represented as Baal, Belus as well as Heracles. This implies that we are, in essence, talking of a single person of extraordinary abilities, Hercules-Balarama, who had roamed the earth thousands of years ago, and carried out many incredible acts of heroism, courage and benevolence, because of which he was deified after his death, and came to symbolize strength, protection, fertility and kingship. Everywhere he went, he built massive fortified cities, started royal dynasties, and also instituted laws and customs related to priesthood, astrology and astronomy. 

This person, Hercules-Balarama, was a native of India, as attested by the Greek historians, and was the elder brother of Krishna. Orientalist Thomas Maurice wrote in the Indian Antiquities (1812) that:
“This Indian Hercules, therefore, this enterprising god-king Belus, is the true prototype of him who was worshipped at Tyre, and was the great promoter of commerce and navigation; of him who was adored as the vanquisher of Busiris in Egypt...; of him, in short, whose complicated history was in after-ages, with all its extravagances, adopted by the fabulous Greeks.”[xxiii]
In Egypt, Hercules-Balarama had played an extremely significant role, which has largely been unexplored. As per the ancient sources, he had deposed of a tyrant king called Busiris and established his own son Ramesses on the throne of Egypt, and thereby kickstarted in new phase in Egyptian history. His appearance on the earth towards the end of the Dwapara Yuga, sometime around 4000 BC, corresponds to the Predynastic Period of Egypt – more specifically with the Naqada I or Amratian Period (from 4000 BC-3500 BC). 

The Naqada I period was characterized by a number of new innovations such as new forms of pottery design, aesthetically pleasing and complex art forms, development of architecture including the rectangular clay brick homes, towns and urban planning etc. which were subsequently carried forward into the art and architecture of the Dynastic Period (from c.3100 BC). Therefore, there are clear signs of an infusion of new forms of art and technology during Naqada I period which may be attributed to the arrival of King Belus in Egypt. This timeline also explains why Egyptologists have been unable to map the Egyptian kings Belus and Busiris to any of the known pharaohs of the Dynastic Period; for these events had transpired nearly a thousand years prior to the beginning of Dynastic Egypt in c. 3100BC.

The most striking legacy that Hercules-Balarama left behind in ancient Egypt, however, is with respect to the institution of Kingship. An analysis of the array of mysterious symbols associated with the regalia of the Egyptian pharaoh reveals that, all throughout Dynastic Egypt, the pharaoh was trying to imitate Hercules-Balarama, who symbolized power, authority and kingship across much of the ancient world. This idea has been explored in detail in the next article titled: "Hercules-Balarama and the Institution of Kingship in Ancient Egypt".

End Notes

[i] Bibhu Dev Misra, Hercules and Balarama: The Symbolic and Historical Connections, Mar 6, 2014, 
[ii] Bibhu Dev Misra, Balarama and Khonsu: Comparisons between the Indian and Theban Hercules, April 27, 2014, 
[iii] Herodotus 2.113 
[iv] Diodorus I.19.1-2 
[v] Cicero De Natura Deorum, lib iii 
[vi] Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2.1.4 
[vii] Suidas, taken from Jacob Bryant’s Analysis of Ancient Mythology, p 235-236 
[viii] Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, p 52 
[ix] Taken from Wikipedia, topic “Agenor” 
[x] David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Amsterdam University Press, 2000, p 1054 
[xi] T. Padmaja, Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: History, Art, and Traditions in Tamilnāḍu (Abhinav Publications, 2002) p 28-29.
[xii] Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca 1, p 17 
[xiii] Eusebius 9.41 who cites Abydenus' Concerning the Assyrians, taken from Wikipedia 
[xiv] Herodotus I.178 
[xv] William Franklin Black,  Inquiry concerning the site of ancient Palibothra, 1815, p 49 
[xvi] John Jackson, Chronological Antiquities, 1752, p 234 
[xvii] Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, Book 2 
[xviii] Bibhu Dev Misra, The end of the Kali Yuga in 2025: Unraveling the mysteries of the Yuga Cycle, July 15, 2012, 
[xix] Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), 
[xx] Nilakanth Purushottam Joshi, Iconography of Balarama, Abhinav Publications, 1979, p 24 
[xxi] [Jensen, Robin. "Melquart and Heracles: A Study of Ancient Gods and Their Influence."Studia Antiqua2, no. 2 (2003).] 
[xxii] Charles Anthon, A Classical Dictionary, Harper & brothers, 1872, p 601 
[xxiii] Indian antiquities, Thomas Maurice, 1812, p 155-156
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Bibhu Dev Misra

Independent researcher and writer on ancient mysteries, cultural connections, cosmic wisdom, religion and science. Graduate of IIT and IIM with two decades of work experience in different fields

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9 comments so far,Add yours

  1. Sir I was just thinking that was'nt language a communication problem for Balram?

    1. You are saying that someone of Balaram's capability, who was regarded as an incarnation of Vishnu, could not have been multilingual? In any case the world was much more homogenous back then, and the language diversity may not have been as great as now.

  2. Thousand thanks, dear Bibhu, for this great research and excellent Exposition of facts and relations!!

    The lions hide, Club and killed Monster comes up as well with Gilgamesh, King.of Uruk, a great Traveller etc.He reminds me the "Two Brothers" scheme (Gilgamesh+Enkidu)

    Comment 2
    The Lions Skin viz. panther's hide was a symbol of magical strength of the shamans: in Egypt, in Africa, in Meso-America, where Baalam means a magician/initiate priest/Prophet -- as was Bileam / Balaam in the Old Testament.

    Comment 3
    These "mythic" figures must be seen as giants - the deeds of Herakles & Co are of that size; and on Picture 3 of your actual article, we see Balram with a normal human of normal size on the margin -- the size like up to the knees of the Hero-God, as is related by myths etc. (This size also corresponds to the higth of church and temple entrances!!)

    Comment 4:
    The giant (or heroic figure) in western Tradition also carries an uprooted tree, as shows the iconography of "Christophoros" and the "Wild Man", or "Man of the Woods" in Alchemy..

    Comment 5:
    Melkart, read as mailk-art, (with "ART" for "BEAR", might be connected to occidental King Arthur -- a Great King surely connected to the Emblem of a bear (strength, size, fertility of Nature a.s.f.) By the way, you ddn't mention the Pharao's "responsibility" for the fertility of the land and harvest ...

    Comment 6:
    The language in those times was surely no greater Problem than today:Firstly, there was still the common language that later became Pelasgian; and then, "Great Travellers" knew languages as well as do today's researchers .....

    Martin P. Steiner

    1. Dear Martin,
      Thank you for your interesting the insightful comments. Here are some of my thoughts on the points you raised:

      1. The connections between Gilgamesh and Hercules-Balarama are very interesting. A couple of more points: Gilgamesh was in search of a plant that granted immortality, and Hercules too, later on in his life had become very interested in medicinal plants. Gilgamesh is sometimes shown holding a lion and a snake, both of which are symbols of Hercules-Balarama.

      2. It is interesting that Balaam means a shaman/priest even as far as Mesomamerica, and the Balaam wears the lion skin/panther hide. This is yet another evidence of a migration to Mesomamerica in the distant past, after c. 4000 BC.

      3. In the Indian context, the stories of Balarama-Krishna are set in the Dwapara Yuga around c. 4000 BC, when humans were supposed to be much bigger, stronger, wiser, and spiritually aware. Needless to say, the phenomenal accomplishments of Hercules implies that he must have been a giant of a man. It is interesting to note that even in alchemical traditions the giant man carries an uprooted tree.

      4. There may be connection between Hercules-Balarama and King Arthur, which needs to be investigated in more detail. Regarding the Egyptian pharaoh, I have explored the symbolism of the pharaoh in much more detail in part 2 of this article. I will keep you posted when it is published.


  3. Bibhu .. Thanks for the articles .. I am going through yourblog.
    Just wanted to point out that the sidebar for recent posts is not showing the recent entries. It is blank.
    I am using IE Version 9.0


    1. Thanks Samit. The sidebar appear fine in Mozilla, Chrome and IE 11. I dont know why it does not appear in IE 9. Could be an issue with the blogger platform. Thanks for letting me know, although there's not much I can do about it.


    2. Maybe refresh the page or clear your browser cache.

  4. Namaste Mishraji, I am Vasudha from Hyderabad. Your articles are soo enlightening. I want to know more from you. My mail i am interested to do research. May i contact you. Please give your mail ID Thank you

    1. Hello Vasudha,
      You can write to me at I will be happy to provide any inputs that you may need.