In the question, "What happened to Theseus after Heracles found him" that I answered, someone edited my answer and replaced Heracles with Herakles. I was confused because when I searched up Heracles on the internet, it showed that he was spelled 'Heracles'. After that, I also searched up Herakles and it showed him being spelled 'Heracles'.

So, can someone please explain to me why @Rodia edited my answer so that Herakles replaced Heracles?

Thank you.

  • 12
    You should probably take up the part about your answer being edited on Mythology & Folklore Meta. Most Stack Exchange sites recommend that people don't edit posts just to change, e.g., British to American spelling, and changing between different romanizations of Greek feels like the same thing, to me. Sep 22, 2017 at 21:55
  • @DavidRicherby I'll think about it. Thanks. Sep 24, 2017 at 23:09

4 Answers 4


Both are correct: if you're not going to call him Ἡρακλῆς, then you need some way of representing his name in the Roman alphabet. Systems for doing this have changes over time.

The letter "k" fell out of use in Latin so, classically the letter kappa (κ) has been transliterated as "c", and this carried through to English. However, in the modern standard, designed by the Hellenic Organization for Standardization and adopted internationally by ISO, the UN and other organizations, kappa becomes "k".

In English, many people use a hybrid of the two systems. Because names such as Heracles, Cronos, Electra, Hecate and Socrates and places such as Crete, Cos, Corfu, Corinth, Macedonia and Attica are so well known under those spellings, they're always written that way in English. Similarly, words such as cycle, ecclesiastical and draconian also come from Greek words where kappas have been romanized as "c".

However, modern names and places that weren't well-known in English before the modern transliteration scheme are usually spelled with "k"s. If you look at a map of Greece labelled in English, you'll see lots of these: Heraklion, Kythira, Mykonos, Lefkada, etc. Always Constantine the Great, but usually Konstantinos Karamanlis (though sometimes Constantine Caramanlis).

  • 2
    Wonderful answer. Welcome to Mythology!
    – DukeZhou
    Sep 22, 2017 at 21:43
  • 5
    +1. I would offer one possible improvement: c for κ is not just vaguely "classical" but is a relic of transliteration of Greek into Latin, the alphabet for which lacks the apter letter k. Using c instead did not alter or distort pronunciation in classical Latin; it was only later Latin pronunciation that softened the c when followed by e, i, or y. Sep 22, 2017 at 22:52
  • @BrianDonovan I added a little along those lines, though I didn't want to say too much as I know next to nothing about Latin. Sep 22, 2017 at 23:12

It's both. From my limited greek knowledge, κ is kappa, which translates to c or k. As a result, there's a Herakles and Heracles.

(Though to be fair, Herakles looks a lot "older" and traditional than Heracles.) As @DavidRicherby states, c is the traditional translation of kappa instead of k.

Ἡρ α|κ|λῆς

Stuff like this happens to Asklepios, I mean Asclepius


even Nike.


Note that it will always have the /k/ pronunciation.

  • 2
    Actually, "Herakles" is much more modern than "Heracles" in English, at least. Classical names are usually romanized with κ -> c (Crete, Corinth, Constantine, Electra, ...), whereas modern names usually use κ -> k. Sep 22, 2017 at 21:51
  • is it? Most websites that list him use the c because it looks more like Hercules I guess.
    – bleh
    Sep 22, 2017 at 21:56
  • 2
    No, most sites use the c because, traditionally, kappa has been romanized as c in English, not k. (Euclid, Hippocrates, Callicrates, Polycarp, Theocritus, Cleopatra, Pericles, Saint Cyril, ...) Sep 22, 2017 at 22:02
  • @bleh I just realized, would you call Hercules Herkules? Sep 22, 2017 at 22:17
  • @12944qwerty latin is a bit different, you use mostly the same characters (all the same characters if you don't count accents), and c is c and k is k.
    – bleh
    Sep 22, 2017 at 22:17

Great question! Bleh is correct on the rendering in English (or other languages using the Latin alphabet) being dual, either a "c" or "k"

This is the Latin form of the hero's name.

  • I just realized, would you call Hercules Herkules? Sep 22, 2017 at 22:17
  • @12944qwerty It's not very common in English. But it's the standard spelling in Czech and many other languages that have more connection with the Greek origins. "Heracles" is usually spelled as "Héraklés", though most people simply call him "Herkules" (with proper inflection).
    – Luaan
    Sep 23, 2017 at 8:40

Something you should know about english (i am born Crotian) languge its pronouncing bs many languges pronouncing c like letter should use Herakles like greek pronouncing try pronounce c - orn not c like k try c like c .....

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