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Italian cinema - sword and sandal film - hero - fictional character

Maciste all'inferno (1962) - Riccardo Freda
image sourced here.


Maciste, or Machiste (pronounced ma-CHEES-tay) is one of the oldest recurring characters in cinema. He cuts a heroic figure throughout the history of the cinema of Italy, even if the movies that feature him are unlikely to win many awards.

The origin of the name is a bit of a mystery. There was no Maciste in Greek mythology or history. The word machiste, however, means "macho man" or "male chauvinist" in French.

Maciste made his debut in the 1914 Italian silent movie classic Cabiria. To compare with another character who has been portrayed in many films, Maciste first appeared on the screen in the same year that Tarzan made his début in print. There have been at least 52 movies in which Maciste appears.

Maciste is also the name of a reflective meta-knowledge based software system by Jacques Pitrat. See e.g. his paper "Implementation of a reflective system" (Future Generation Computer Systems, volume 12, 1996). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maciste [Apr 2005]

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