Also called Garanus, a fabulous Italian shepherd of gigantic bodily strength and courage. It is related of him that Cacus, a wicked robber, once stole eight oxen of the herd of Recaranus, which had strayed in the valley of the Circus Maximus, and which the robber carried into his den in Mount Aventine. He dragged the animals along by their tails, and Recaranus would not have discovered them, had not their hiding-place been betrayed by their lowing. Recaranus accordingly entered the cave and slew the robber, notwithstanding his great strength. Hereupon he dedicated to Jupiter the ara maxima, at the foot of the Aventine, and sacrificed to the god the tenth part of the booty.

The name Recaranus seems to be connected with gerere or creare, and to signify "the recoverer." The fact of his being a gigantic shepherd who recovered the oxen stolen from him, led the Romans at an early time to consider him as identical with the Greek Heracles, who was said to have made an expedition to the west of Europe; but the whole story of Recaranus is a genuine Italian legend, without any connection with that about Heracles, although the belief in the identity of the two heroes was so general among the later Romans, that Recaranus was entirely thrown into the back ground.



  • Aurelius Victor. The origins of Roman Race, 6; comp. Hartung. Die Religion der Römer. Vol. 2, p. p. 21 ff.
  • Macrobius, iii, 12.
  • Servius on Virgil's Aeneid viii, 203, 275.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.