Reality Check

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References and mentions of things that seem like they don't belong in Ancient Greece, even the fantasy version of Ancient Greece that our heroes inhabit! (Also see: Pop Culture References and Greekisms.)

1.01 - Treasure of Zeus

  • Ares tells Strife to, "...dare what no god has dared before: destroy a mortal son of Zeus." But have there really been no other mortal sons of Zeus killed by gods before Hercules? According to Wikipedia, Amphion and Tityos were killed by Apollo and Artemis. Akheilos was killed by Athena, while Iasion was killed by Zeus himself. As for if any of these murders were before Hercules's time is anyone's guess.
  • When Strife introduces himself under an alias, he calls himself Nysus Gaius. Why does he have a first name and a last name when none of the other characters seem to possess a surname? According to Wikipedia, family surnames weren't widely in use until around the 9th century, so it's probable that Strife should have only picked one name for his alias, not two.

1.02 - Between Friends

  • Cheiron treats Hercules with acupuncture, a form of treatment that can be traced as far back as the 1st millennium BCE in China. The first Chinese medical text that describes acupuncture is the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, which was compiled around 305-204 BCE.

1.04 - Herc and Seek

  • Cratus says, "You left us for this? Schoolbooks and playing warrior.". The first bound book was described by 1st-century AD Roman poet Martial (source), which is a long time after Hercules would have lived. Cratus should have said "Schoolscrolls"!

1.06 - Teacher's Pests

  • At the beginning of the episode, Jason is seen putting away boxing gloves. Did boxing exist back then? According to Wikipedia, the earliest evidence for fist fighting with any kind of gloves can be found on Minoan Crete (c. 1500–900 BC), and on Sardinia, if we consider the boxing statues of Prama mountains (c. 2000–1000 BC) (source). So yes, it's quite possible that the cadets trained with boxing gloves!
  • Fiducius claims he wants the scrolls put away in strict alphabetical order. But alphabetization was probably not used until at least the 1st century BC! (source)
  • Jason says that he dropped most of the 'F's. But the letter F wasn't in the Greek Alphabet (source). The closest character to the English "ph" sound would probably be the character 'Phi' (Φ φ).

1.07 - Inn Trouble

  • Kora tells Hercules, "Make sure they wash their hands, okay?" Hand washing is a vital rule in the food service industry to prevent the spread of illness and other contamination. Most businesses have signs in the bathroom, "Employees must wash hands before returning to work." - (Wikipedia)
  • The terms 'cottage pie' and 'shepherd's pie' did not appear in cookbooks until 1791 and 1877 respectively. (source) The closest thing to a shepherd's pie in Greek cooking is moussaka- a dish made by layering ground meat with slices of eggplant (and/or other vegetables) and topping it with a bechamel sauce.
  • Jason says, "I told Iolaus, 'Don't add the tip to the bill.'" Adding the tip to the bill is known as Automatic Gratuity or Mandatory Tipping. This practice is usually unpopular with customers. - (Wikipedia)

1.08 - Keeping Up With the Jasons

  • When Jason is trying to hurry them up, Lilith says "Relax, it's okay, we've still got a few minutes." The minute as a unit of time was invented by ancient Babalonians around 5,000 years ago (source). Even if that information was being used in Greece, what device was Lilith using to tell the time?

1.11 - Battle Lines I

  • Iolaus says, "It's Friday. End of the school week." The earliest attestation of a seven day week associated with heavenly luminaries are from Vettius Valens, an astrologer writing ca 170 AD in his Anthologiarum. The order was Sun, Moon, Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Cronos. From Greece the planetary week names passed to the Romans, and from Latin to other languages of southern and western Europe, and to other languages later influenced by them. The word 'Friday' comes from the Old English Frīgedæg (pronounced [æg] or [æj]), meaning the day of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Fríge (source). So it's more likely that Iolaus would have called it Aphroditeday!

1.14 - No Way Out

  • Hercules says, "You know, it wouldn't've taken a brain surgeon to figure out 'my brother' was behind all this." You would think brain surgery wouldn't have existed back then, but apparently there is ample evidence of brain surgery dating back all the way to the Neolithic (late Stone Age) period. (source)

1.16 - Down and Out in Academy Hills

  • In this ep, Kora makes a new drink with special beans from Ethiopia. But the story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee, did not appear in writing until 1671 AD and is probably apocryphal. From Ethiopia, coffee was said to have spread to Egypt and Yemen. The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen (source), so it's doubtful that she could have found anyone selling the beans back in Ancient Greece.

1.19 - The Lure of the Lyre

  • Bacchus was the Roman god of wine. His Greek equivalent was Dionysus. And Dionysus had a human form - he did not have the head of an animal.

1.23 - The Mysteries of Life

  • Iolaus says that he thinks Ruff is a vegetarian. But would he have even know what a vegetarian was back then? According to Wikipedia, the earliest records of vegetarianism as a concept and practice amongst a significant number of people concern ancient India and the ancient Greek civilizations in southern Italy and Greece. In Greece during classical antiquity the vegetarian diet was called abstinence from beings with a soul (Greek ἀποχὴ ἐμψύχων). As a principle or deliberate way of life it was always limited to a rather small number of practitioners belonging to specific philosophical schools or certain religious groups.

1.24 - Dad Always Liked Me Best

  • Lucius claims that mistakes can be erased. But did they even have erasers back then, or know what erasing was? According to the The Online Etymology Dictionary, the term "erase" only dates back c.1600, from Latin erasus, pp. of eradere "scrape out, scrape off, shave," from ex- "out" + radere "to scrape".

1.26 - Cold Feet

  • Part of the crops Jason is helping to harvest are bananas, but these fruit are native to southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, including Australia and New Zealand, not Greece.

1.28 - In Your Dreams

  • Ceres was the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. Her Greek equivalent was Demeter.

1.35 - My Fair Lilith

  • After Antos threatens Hercules in flowery, poetic speech, Hercules points to himself and says, "Uh, no, English!" Hercules should tell Antos to speak to him in Greek, not English. At this point in history, "English" didn't even exist yet as a language.

1.38 - Me, Myself, and Eye

  • Cheiron indicates that one of the statues is "Neptune, God of the Sea." But Neptune was a Roman god; his Greek equivalent was Poseidon.

1.39 - The Skeptic

  • Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher living in Italy. He taught mathematics and music as part of his system, as well as teaching that men experience metempsychosis, or in other words, they go through multiple rebirths in new forms each time they die, sometimes as men, other times as animals or plants. His mystic teachings are thought to be connected to Orphic tradition.

1.49 - Ill Wind

  • Cheiron is quite confident that he can create the antidote after obtaining the vial of poison. But how? If the poison is from an animal like a snake, spider, or insect, he could have tried injecting a small diluted amount of the venom into a host animal, using the host animal to produce an antivenom which he could then extract and give to Cyane. But this process of creating antivenom wasn't documented until 1895 (source). He could have also tried using Activated Carbon to bind to poison and prevent its absorption by the gastrointestinal tract, but that practice doesn't seem to have been discovered until after 1813 (source). In the end, there doesn't seem to be any proof so far that Cheiron could have created an antidote simply by using the poison.