Hercules Knot symbol

Hercules Knot – History And Meaning

The Knot of Hercules is also called the love knot, marriage knot, reef knot, and square knot. It is a strong knot created by entwining two ropes. It originated as a charm used for healing in ancient Egypt but became most known in ancient Rome as a protective amulet. 

If you want to learn more about the Hercules knot symbol, read on to find out the meaning, history, and significance of this Greek symbol.

Hercules Knot – History And Meaning

Hercules Knot symbol
Hercules Knot necklace displayed in Berlin Art Museum

According to ancient Roman stories, this knot represented the legendary fertility of the demi-god Heracles, more popularly known as Hercules. He was the epitome of virility and bravery. 

Today, he is without a doubt one of the most iconic figures in all of Greek mythology.

Hercules Knot History

Hercules was said to be the greatest of all heroes in Greek mythology. He was the son of Zeus, ruler of all Olympians and mortals alike, and his mistress, Alcmene. Hercules’ family tree was rather complicated: his maternal grandfather was Perseus (see Gorgon Symbol), who also happened to be another of Zeus’ many sons. 

As Hercules was considered the guardian of marriage/wedded life, this knot became part of Roman wedding rituals. The Hercules knot was tied around the wedding dress of a bride and only her groom could untie it. This practice was probably related to Hercules’ obtaining of the legendary girdle worn by the queen of the Amazons as an emblem of her dignity. 

This knot was first used in ancient Egypt as a healing charm, but it became popular among both ancient Greeks and Romans, not just as an amulet for protection but as a love token as well. These love tokens with the Hercules knot symbol was very popular during the medieval and the Renaissance eras. 

In Greece, the Hercules knot is still used extensively in medicine. The practice of using this simple binding knot came from the ancient belief that wounds heal faster when bound with the Hercules knot.

The Hercules Knot Symbol

This simple knot with two entwined ropes is associated with the fertility of Hercules. The act of tying the Hercules knot is symbolic of binding. This has come to represent the commitment to love in various cultures. 

The Hercules knot has a very extensive history of being a symbol of love and marriage. In modern times, it is a popular wedding symbol that stands for everlasting love and commitment between two lovers. In this sense, the Hercules knot represents the virginity of the bride.

In the folklore of various cultures, knots themselves signify vows that cannot be broken so they are used in wedding rituals. An example of this is the Celtic knot which is used when proposing marriage. A woman agrees to the marriage proposal if she accepts the knot. 

Hercules Knot Meaning

Hercules is the Roman counterpart of the Greek divine hero Heracles. In classical mythology, Hercules is renowned for his superhuman strength and his numerous quests and adventures.

The Latin name ‘Hercules’ derives from the Etruscan of ancient Italy, where it was identified as Heracle or Hercle, and other forms. 

The knot named after him is used to secure a rope or tie around an object. It is done first by tying a left-handed overhand knot and then a right-handed one, or vice versa. It has been used since ancient times to fasten belts and sashes. 

The Hercules knot is believed to be the origin of “tying the knot,” a phrase that means getting married since it symbolizes binding. 

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