(A Brief) History of Heroes

NICK CORNISH for TIME

HEROES: Simona Pari and Simona Torretta

Most of us have our own rough defnition of heroism — we think we know a hero when we see one. But pinning down those attributes is a challenge; your hero may not look much like mine. So it's worth asking: Are there certain immutable characteristics that have defined heroism across the ages? The men and women on the following pages are individuals of extraordinary distinction, but how do they stack up against the legends of the past? Although there are some timeless, universal qualities known as heroic, throughout history the idea of the hero has fluctuated and evolved to suit...