1. Io, the Danaides
2. Proetus, the Proetides
3. Bellerophon
4. Perseus, Sons of Perseus, Amphitryon, Birth of Heracles
5. Twelve Labours of Heracles
6. Wars of Heracles
7. The Heracleides




[2.1.1] Having now gone through the family of Deucalion, we have next to speak of that of Inachus.1 Ocean and Tethys had a son Inachus, after whom a river in Argos is called Inachus. He and Melia, daughter of Ocean, had sons, Phoroneus, and Aegialeus. Aegialeus having died childless, the whole country was called Aegialia; and Phoroneus, reigning over the whole land afterwards named Peloponnese, begat Apis and Niobe by a nymph Teledice. Apis converted his power into a tyranny and named the Peloponnese after himself Apia; but being a stern tyrant he was conspired against and slain by Thelxion and Telchis. He left no child, and being deemed a god was called Sarapis.2 But Niobe had by Zeus (and she was the first mortal woman with whom Zeus cohabited) a son Argus, and also, so says Acusilaus, a son Pelasgus, after whom the inhabitants of the Peloponnese were called Pelasgians. However, Hesiod says that Pelasgus was a son of the soil.

[2.1.2] About him I shall speak again.3 But Argus received the kingdom and called the Peloponnese after himself Argos; and having married Evadne, daughter of Strymon and Neaera, he begat Ecbasus, Piras, Epidaurus, and Criasus,4 who also succeeded to the kingdom.

Ecbasus had a son Agenor, and Agenor had a son Argus, the one who is called the All-seeing. He had eyes in the whole of his body,5 and being exceedingly strong he killed the bull that ravaged Arcadia and clad himself in its hide6; and when a satyr wronged the Arcadians and robbed them of their cattle, Argus withstood and killed him. It is said, too, that Echidna,7 daughter of Tartarus and Earth, who used to carry off passers-by, was caught asleep and slain by Argus. He also avenged the murder of Apis by putting the guilty to death.

[2.1.3] Argus and Ismene, daughter of Asopus, had a son Iasus, who is said to have been the father of Io.8 But the annalist Castor and many of the tragedians allege that Io was a daughter of Inachus9; and Hesiod and Acusilaus say that she was a daughter of Piren. Zeus seduced her while she held the priesthood of Hera, but being detected by Hera he by a touch turned Io into a white cow10 and swore that he had not known her; wherefore Hesiod remarks that lover's oaths do not draw down the anger of the gods. But Hera requested the cow from Zeus for herself and set Argus the All-seeing to guard it. Pherecydes says that this Argus was a son of Arestor11; but Asclepiades says that he was a son of Inachus, and Cercops says that he was a son of Argus and Ismene, daughter of Asopus; but Acusilaus says that he was earth-born.12 He tethered her to the olive tree which was in the grove of the Mycenaeans. But Zeus ordered Hermes to steal the cow, and as Hermes could not do it secretly because Hierax had blabbed, he killed Argus by the cast of a stone13; whence he was called Argiphontes.14 Hera next sent a gadfly to infest the cow,15 and the animal came first to what is called after her the Ionian gulf. Then she journeyed through Illyria and having traversed Mount Haemus she crossed what was then called the Thracian Straits but is now called after her the Bosphorus.16 And having gone away to Scythia and the Cimmerian land she wandered over great tracts of land and swam wide stretches of sea both in Europe and Asia until at last she came to Egypt, where she recovered her original form and gave birth to a son Epaphus beside the river Nile.17 Him Hera besought the Curetes to make away with, and make away with him they did. When Zeus learned of it, he slew the Curetes; but Io set out in search of the child. She roamed all over Syria, because there it was revealed to her that the wife of the king of Byblus was nursing her son18; and having found Epaphus she came to Egypt and was married to Telegonus, who then reigned over the Egyptians. And she set up an image of Demeter, whom the Egyptians called Isis,19 and Io likewise they called by the name of Isis.20

[2.1.4] Reigning over the Egyptians Epaphus married Memphis, daughter of Nile, founded and named the city of Memphis after her, and begat a daughter Libya, after whom the region of Libya was called.21 Libya had by Poseidon twin sons, Agenor and Belus.22 Agenor departed to Phoenicia and reigned there, and there he became the ancestor of the great stock; hence we shall defer our account of him.23 But Belus remained in Egypt, reigned over the country, and married Anchinoe, daughter of Nile, by whom he had twin sons, Egyptus and Danaus,24 but according to Euripides, he had also Cepheus and Phineus. Danaus was settled by Belus in Libya, and Egyptus in Arabia; but Egyptus subjugated the country of the Melampods and named it Egypt <after himself>. Both had children by many wives; Egyptus had fifty sons, and Danaus fifty daughters. As they afterwards quarrelled concerning the kingdom, Danaus feared the sons of Egyptus, and by the advice of Athena he built a ship, being the first to do so, and having put his daughters on board he fled. And touching at Rhodes he set up the image of Lindian Athena.25 Thence he came to Argos and the reigning king Gelanor surrendered the kingdom to him26; ,and having made himself master of the country he named the inhabitants Danai after himself>. But the country being waterless, because Poseidon had dried up even the springs out of anger at Inachus for testifying that the land belonged to Hera,27 Danaus sent his daughters to draw water. One of them, Amymone, in her search for water threw a dart at a deer and hit a sleeping satyr, and he, starting up, desired to force her; but Poseidon appearing on the scene, the satyr fled, and Amymone lay with Poseidon, and he revealed to her the springs at Lerna.28

[2.1.5] But the sons of Egyptus came to Argos, and exhorted Danaus to lay aside his enmity, and begged to marry his daughters. Now Danaus distrusted their professions and bore them a grudge on account of his exile; nevertheless he consented to the marriage and allotted the damsels among them.29 First, they picked out Hypermnestra as the eldest to be the wife of Lynceus, and Gorgophone to be the wife of Proteus; for Lynceus and Proteus had been borne to Egyptus by a woman of royal blood, Argyphia; but of the rest Busiris, Enceladus, Lycus, and Daiphron obtained by lot the daughters that had been borne to Danaus by Europe, to wit, Automate, Amymone, Agave, and Scaea. These daughters were borne to Danaus by a queen; but Gorgophone and Hypermnestra were borne to him by Elephantis. And Istrus got Hippodamia; Chalcodon got Rhodia; Agenor got Cleopatra; Chaetus got Asteria; Diocorystes got Hippodamia; Alces got Glauce; Alcmenor got Hippomedusa; Hippothous got Gorge; Euchenor got Iphimedusa; Hippolytus got Rhode. These ten sons were begotten on an Arabian woman; but the maidens were begotten on Hamadryad nymphs, some being daughters of Atlantia, and others of Phoebe. Agaptolemus got Pirene; Cercetes got Dorium; Eurydamas got Phartis; Aegius got Mnestra; Argius got Evippe; Archelaus got Anaxibia; Menemachus got Nelo. These seven sons were begotten on a Phoenician woman, and the maidens on an Ethiopian woman. The sons of Egyptus by Tyria got as their wives, without drawing lots, the daughters of Danaus by Memphis in virtue of the similarity of their names; thus Clitus got Clite; Sthenelus got Sthenele; Chrysippus got Chrysippe. The twelve sons of Egyptus by the Naiad nymph Caliadne cast lots for the daughters of Danaus by the Naiad nymph Polyxo: the sons were Eurylochus, Phantes, Peristhenes, Hermus, Dryas, Potamon, Cisseus, Lixus, Imbrus, Bromius, Polyctor, Chthonius; and the damsels were Autonoe, Theano, Electra, Cleopatra, Eurydice, Glaucippe, Anthelia, Cleodore, Evippe, Erato, Stygne, Bryce. The sons of Egyptus by Gorgo, cast lots for the daughters of Danaus by Pieria, and Periphas got Actaea, Oeneus got Podarce, Egyptus got Dioxippe, Menalces got Adite, Lampus got Ocypete, Idmon got Pylarge. The youngest sons of Egyptus were these: Idas got Hippodice; Daiphron got Adiante (the mother who bore these damsels was Herse); Pandion got Callidice; Arbelus got Oeme; Hyperbius got Celaeno; Hippocorystes got Hyperippe; the mother of these men was Hephaestine, and the mother of these damsels was Crino.

When they had got their brides by lot, Danaus made a feast and gave his daughters daggers; and they slew their bridegrooms as they slept, all but Hypermnestra; for she saved Lynceus because he had respected her virginity30: wherefore Danaus shut her up and kept her under ward. But the rest of the daugters of Danaus buried the heads of their bridegrooms in Lerna31 and paid funeral honors to their bodies in front of the city; and Athena and Hermes purified them at the command of Zeus. Danaus afterwards united Hypermnestra to Lynceus; and bestowed his other daughters on the victors in an athletic contest.32

Amymone had a son Nauplius by Poseidon.33 This Nauplius lived to a great age, and sailing the sea he used by beacon lights to lure to death such as he fell in with.34 It came to pass, therefore, that he himself died by that very death. But before his death he married a wife; according to the tragic poets, she was Clymene, daughter of Catreus; but according to the author of The Returns,35 she was Philyra; and according to Cercops she was Hesione. By her he had Palamedes, Oeax, and Nausimedon.

[2.2.1] Lynceus reigned over Argos after Danaus and begat a son Abas by Hypermnestra; and Abas had twin sons Acrisius and Proetus36 by Aglaia, daughter of Mantineus. These two quarrelled with each other while they were still in the womb, and when they were grown up they waged war for the kingdom,37 and in the course of the war they were the first to invent shields. And Acrisius gained the mastery and drove Proetus from Argos; and Proetus went to Lycia to the court of Iobates or, as some say, of Amphianax, and married his daughter, whom Homer calls Antia,38 but the tragic poets call her Stheneboea.39 His in-law restored him to his own land with an army of Lycians, and he occupied Tiryns, which the Cyclopes had fortified for him.40 They divided the whole of the Argive territory between them and settled in it, Acrisius reigning over Argos and Proetus over Tiryns.

[2.2.2] And Acrisius had a daughter Danae by Eurydice, daughter of Lacedaemon, and Proetus had daughters, Lysippe, Iphinoe, and Iphianassa, by Stheneboea. When these damsels were grown up, they went mad,41 according to Hesiod, because they would not accept the rites of Dionysus, but according to Acusilaus, because they disparaged the wooden image of Hera. In their madness they roamed over the whole Argive land, and afterwards, passing through Arcadia and the Peloponnese, they ran through the desert in the most disorderly fashion. But Melampus, son of Amythaon by Idomene, daughter of Abas, being a seer and the first to devise the cure by means of drugs and purifications, promised to cure the maidens if he should receive the third part of the sovereignty. When Proetus refused to pay so high a fee for the cure, the maidens raved more than ever, and besides that, the other women raved with them; for they also abandoned their houses, destroyed their own children, and flocked to the desert. Not until the evil had reached a very high pitch did Proetus consent to pay the stipulated fee, and Melampus promised to effect a cure whenever his brother Bias should receive just so much land as himself. Fearing that, if the cure were delayed, yet more would be demanded of him, Proetus agreed to let the physician proceed on these terms. So Melampus, taking with him the most stalwart of the young men, chased the women in a bevy from the mountains to Sicyon with shouts and a sort of frenzied dance. In the pursuit Iphinoe, the eldest of the daughters, expired; but the others were lucky enough to be purified and so to recover their wits.42 Proetus gave them in marriage to Melampus and Bias, and afterwards begat a son, Megapenthes.

[2.3.1] Bellerophon, son of Glaucus, son of Sisyphus, having accidentally killed his brother Deliades or, as some say, Piren, or, as others will have it, Alcimenes, came to Proetus and was purified.43 And Stheneboea fell in love with him,44 and sent him proposals for a meeting; and when he rejected them, she told Proetus that Bellerophon had sent her a vicious proposal. Proetus believed her, and gave him a letter to take to Iobates, in which it was written that he was to kill Bellerophon. Having read the letter, Iobates ordered him to kill the Chimera, believing that he would be destroyed by the beast, for it was more than a match for many, let alone one; it had the fore part of a lion, the tail of a dragon, and its third head, the middle one, was that of a goat, through which it belched fire. And it devastated the country and harried the cattle; for it was a single creature with the power of three beasts. It is said, too, that this Chimera was bred by Amisodarus, as Homer also affirms,45 and that it was begotten by Typhon on Echidna, as Hesiod relates.46

[2.3.2] So Bellerophon mounted his winged steed Pegasus, offspring of Medusa and Poseidon, and soaring on high shot down the Chimera from the height.47 After that contest Iobates ordered him to fight the Solymi, and when he had finished that task also, he commanded him to combat the Amazons. And when he had killed them also, he picked out the reputed bravest of the Lycians and bade them lay an ambush and slay him. But when Bellerophon had killed them also to a man, Iobates, in admiration of his prowess, showed him the letter and begged him to stay with him; moreover he gave him his daughter Philonoe,48 and dying bequeathed to him the kingdom.

[2.4.1] When Acrisius inquired of the oracle how he should get male children, the god said that his daughter would give birth to a son who would kill him.49 Fearing that, Acrisius built a brazen chamber under ground and there guarded Danae.50 However, she was seduced, as some say, by Proetus, whence arose the quarrel between them51; but some say that Zeus had intercourse with her in the shape of a stream of gold which poured through the roof into Danae's lap. When Acrisius afterwards learned that she had got a child Perseus, he would not believe that she had been seduced by Zeus, and putting his daughter with the child in a chest, he cast it into the sea. The chest was washed ashore on Seriphus, and Dictys took up the boy and reared him.

[2.4.2] Polydectes, brother of Dictys, was then king of Seriphus and fell in love with Danae, but could not get access to her, because Perseus was grown to man's estate. So he called together his friends, including Perseus, under the pretext of collecting contributions towards a wedding gift for Hippodamia, daughter of Oenomaus.52 Now Perseus having declared that he would not stick even at the Gorgon's head, Polydectes required the others to furnish horses, and not getting horses from Perseus ordered him to bring the Gorgon's head. So under the guidance of Hermes and Athena he made his way to the daughters of Phorcus, to wit, Enyo, Pephredo, and Dino; for Phorcus had them by Ceto, and they were sisters of the Gorgons, and old women from their birth.53 The three had but one eye and one tooth, and these they passed to each other in turn. Perseus got possession of the eye and the tooth, and when they asked them back, he said he would give them up if they would show him the way to the nymphs. Now these nymphs had winged sandals and the kibisis, which they say was a wallet. [But Pindar and Hesiod in The Shield say of Perseus: -- 54 “But all his back had on the head of a dread monster, <The Gorgon,> and round him ran the kibisis.”

The kibisis is so called because dress and food are deposited in it.]55 They had also the cap <of Hades>. When the Phorcides had shown him the way, he gave them back the tooth and the eye, and coming to the nymphs got what he wanted. So he slung the wallet (kibisis) about him, fitted the sandals to his ankles, and put the cap on his head. Wearing it, he saw whom he pleased, but was not seen by others. And having received also from Hermes an adamantine sickle he flew to the ocean and caught the Gorgons asleep. They were Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa. Now Medusa alone was mortal; for that reason Perseus was sent to fetch her head. But the Gorgons had heads twined about with the scales of dragons, and great tusks like swine's, and brazen hands, and golden wings, by which they flew; and they turned to stone such as beheld them. So Perseus stood over them as they slept, and while Athena guided his hand and he looked with averted gaze on a brazen shield, in which he beheld the image of the Gorgon,56 he beheaded her. When her head was cut off, there sprang from the Gorgon the winged horse Pegasus and Chrysaor, the father of Geryon; these she had by Poseidon.57

[2.4.3] So Perseus put the head of Medusa in the wallet (kibisis) and went back again; but the Gorgons started up from their slumber and pursued Perseus: but they could not see him on account of the cap, for he was hidden by it.

Being come to Ethiopia, of which Cepheus was king, he found the king's daughter Andromeda set out to be the prey of a sea monster.58 For Cassiepea, the wife of Cepheus, vied with the Nereids in beauty and boasted to be better than them all; hence the Nereids were angry, and Poseidon, sharing their wrath, sent a flood and a monster to invade the land. But Ammon having predicted deliverance from the calamity if Cassiepea's daughter Andromeda were exposed as a prey to the monster, Cepheus was compelled by the Ethiopians to do it, and he bound his daughter to a rock. When Perseus beheld her, he loved her and promised Cepheus that he would kill the monster, if he would give him the rescued damsel to wife. These terms having been sworn to, Perseus withstood and slew the monster and released Andromeda. However, Phineus, who was a brother of Cepheus, and to whom Andromeda had been first betrothed, plotted against him; but Perseus discovered the plot, and by showing the Gorgon turned him and his fellow conspirators at once into stone. And having come to Seriphus he found that his mother and Dictys had taken refuge at the altars on account of the violence of Polydectes; so he entered the palace, where Polydectes had gathered his friends, and with averted face he showed the Gorgon's head; and all who beheld it were turned to stone, each in the attitude which he happened to have struck. Having appointed Dictys king of Seriphus, he gave back the sandals and the wallet (kibisis) and the cap to Hermes, but the Gorgon's head he gave to Athena. Hermes restored the aforesaid things to the nymphs and Athena inserted the Gorgon's head in the middle of her shield. But it is alleged by some that Medusa was beheaded for Athena's sake; and they say that the Gorgon was fain to match herself with the goddess even in beauty.

[2.4.4] Perseus hastened with Danae and Andromeda to Argos in order that he might behold Acrisius. But he, learning of this and dreading the oracle,59 forsook Argos and departed to the Pelasgian land. Now Teutamides, king of Larissa, was holding athletic games in honor of his dead father, and Perseus came to compete. He engaged in the pentathlum, but in throwing the quoit he struck Acrisius on the foot and killed him instantly.60 Perceiving that the oracle was fulfilled, he buried Acrisius outside the city,61 and being ashamed to return to Argos to claim the inheritance of him who had died by his hand, he went to Megapenthes, son of Proetus, at Tiryns and effected an exchange with him, surrendering Argos into his hands.62 So Megapenthes reigned over the Argives, and Perseus reigned over Tiryns, after fortifying also Midea and Mycenae.63

[2.4.5] And he had sons by Andromeda: before he came to Greece he had Perses, whom he left behind with Cepheus (and from him it is said that the kings of Persia are descended); and in Mycenae he had Alcaeus and Sthenelus and Heleus and Mestor and Electryon,64 and a daughter Gorgophone, whom Perieres married.65

Alcaeus had a son Amphitryon and a daughter Anaxo by Astydamia, daughter of Pelops; but some say he had them by Laonome, daughter of Guneus, others that he had them by Hipponome, daughter of Menoeceus; and Mestor had Hippothoe by Lysidice, daughter of Pelops. This Hippothoe was carried off by Poseidon, who brought her to the Echinadian Islands, and there had intercourse with her, and begat Taphius, who colonized Taphos and called the people Teleboans, because he had gone far66 from his native land. And Taphius had a son Pterelaus, whom Poseidon made immortal by implanting a golden hair in his head.67 And to Pterelaus were born sons, to wit, Chromius, Tyrannus, Antiochus, Chersidamas, Mestor, and Eueres.

Electryon married Anaxo, daughter of Alcaeus,68 and begat a daughter Alcmena,69 and sons, to wit, Stratobates, Gorgophonus, Phylonomus, Celaeneus, Amphimachus, Lysinomus, Chirimachus, Anactor, and Archelaus; and after these he had also a bastard son, Licymnius, by a Phrygian woman Midea.70

Sthenelus had daughters, Alcyone and Medusa, by Nicippe,71 daughter of Pelops; and he had afterwards a son Eurystheus, who reigned also over Mycenae. For when Hercules was about to be born, Zeus declared among the gods that the descendant of Perseus then about to be born would reign over Mycenae, and Hera out of jealousy persuaded the Ilithyias to retard Alcmena's delivery,72 and contrived that Eurystheus, son of Sthenelus, should be born a seven-month child.73

[2.4.6] When Electryon reigned over Mycenae, the sons of Pterelaus came with some Taphians and claimed the kingdom of Mestor, their maternal grandfather,74 and as Electryon paid no heed to the claim, they drove away his kine; and when the sons of Electryon stood on their defence, they challenged and slew each other.75 But of the sons of Electryon there survived Licymnius, who was still young; and of the sons of Pterelaus there survived Everes, who guarded the ships. Those of the Taphians who escaped sailed away, taking with them the cattle they had lifted, and entrusted them to Polyxenus, king of the Eleans; but Amphitryon ransomed them from Polyxenus and brought them to Mycenae. Wishing to avenge his sons' death, Electryon purposed to make war on the Teleboans, but first he committed the kingdom to Amphitryon along with his daughter Alcmena, binding him by oath to keep her a virgin until his return.76 However, as he was receiving the cows back, one of them charged, and Amphitryon threw at her the club which he had in his hands. But the club rebounded from the cow's horns and striking Electryon's head killed him.77 Hence Sthenelus laid hold of this pretext to banish Amphitryon from the whole of Argos, while he himself seized the throne of Mycenae and Tiryns; and he entrusted Midea to Atreus and Thyestes, the sons of Pelops, whom he had sent for.

Amphitryon went with Alcmena and Licymnius to Thebes and was purified by Creon78 and gave his sister Perimede to Licymnius. And as Alcmena said she would marry him when he had avenged her brothers' death, Amphitryon engaged to do so, and undertook an expedition against the Teleboans, and invited Creon to assist him. Creon said he would join in the expedition if Amphitryon would first rid the Cadmea of the vixen; for a brute of a vixen was ravaging the Cadmea.79 But though Amphitryon undertook the task, it was fated that nobody should catch her.

[2.4.7] As the country suffered thereby, the Thebans every month exposed a son of one of the citizens to the brute, which would have carried off many if that were not done. So Amphitryon betook him to Cephalus, son of Deioneus, at Athens, and persuaded him, in return for a share of the Teleboan spoils, to bring to the chase the dog which Procris had brought from Crete as a gift from Minos80; for that dog was destined to catch whatever it pursued. So then, when the vixen was chased by the dog, Zeus turned both of them into stone. Supported by his allies, to wit, Cephalus from Thoricus in Attica, Panopeus from Phocis, Heleus, son of Perseus, from Helos in Argolis, and Creon from Thebes, Amphitryon ravaged the islands of the Taphians. Now, so long as Pterelaus lived, he could not take Taphos; but when Comaetho, daughter of Pterelaus, falling in love with Amphitryon, pulled out the golden hair from her father's head, Pterelaus died,81 and Amphitryon subjugated all the islands. He slew Comaetho, and sailed with the booty to Thebes,82 and gave the islands to Heleus and Cephalus; and they founded cities named after themselves and dwelt in them.

[2.4.8] But before Amphitryon reached Thebes, Zeus came by night and prolonging the one night threefold he assumed the likeness of Amphitryon and bedded with Alcmena83 and related what had happened concerning the Teleboans. But when Amphitryon arrived and saw that he was not welcomed by his wife, he inquired the cause; and when she told him that he had come the night before and slept with her, he learned from Tiresias how Zeus had enjoyed her. And Alcmena bore two sons, to wit, Hercules, whom she had by Zeus and who was the elder by one night, and Iphicles, whom she had by Amphitryon. When the child was eight months old, Hera desired the destruction of the babe and sent two huge serpents to the bed. Alcmena called Amphitryon to her help, but Hercules arose and killed the serpents by strangling them with both his hands.84 However, Pherecydes says that it was Amphitryon who put the serpents in the bed, because he would know which of the two children was his, and that when Iphicles fled, and Hercules stood his ground, he knew that Iphicles was begotten of his body.

[2.4.9] Hercules was taught to drive a chariot by Amphitryon, to wrestle by Autolycus, to shoot with the bow by Eurytus, to fence by Castor, and to play the lyre by Linus.85 This Linus was a brother of Orpheus; he came to Thebes and became a Theban, but was killed by Hercules with a blow of the lyre; for being struck by him, Hercules flew into a rage and slew him.86 When he was tried for murder, Hercules quoted a law of Rhadamanthys, who laid it down that whoever defends himself against a wrongful aggressor shall go free, and so he was acquitted. But fearing he might do the like again, Amphitryon sent him to the cattle farm; and there he was nurtured and outdid all in stature and strength. Even by the look of him it was plain that he was a son of Zeus; for his body measured four cubits,87 and he flashed a gleam of fire from his eyes; and he did not miss, neither with the bow nor with the javelin.

While he was with the herds and had reached his eighteenth year he slew the lion of Cithaeron, for that animal, sallying from Cithaeron, harried the kine of Amphitryon and of Thespius.88

[2.4.10] Now this Thespius was king of Thespiae, and Hercules went to him when he wished to catch the lion. The king entertained him for fifty days, and each night, as Hercules went forth to the hunt, Thespius bedded one of his daughters with him (fifty daughters having been borne to him by Megamede, daughter of Arneus); for he was anxious that all of them should have children by Hercules. Thus Hercules, though he thought that his bed-fellow was always the same, had intercourse with them all.89 And having vanquished the lion, he dressed himself in the skin and wore the scalp90 as a helmet.

[2.4.11] As he was returning from the hunt, there met him heralds sent by Erginus to receive the tribute from the Thebans.91 Now the Thebans paid tribute to Erginus for the following reason. Clymenus, king of the Minyans, was wounded with a cast of a stone by a charioteer of Menoeceus, named Perieres, in a precinct of Poseidon at Onchestus; and being carried dying to Orchomenus, he with his last breath charged his son Erginus to avenge his death. So Erginus marched against Thebes, and after slaughtering not a few of the Thebans he concluded a treaty with them, confirmed by oaths, that they should send him tribute for twenty years, a hundred kine every year. Falling in with the heralds on their way to Thebes to demand this tribute, Hercules outraged them; for he cut off their ears and noses and hands, and having fastened them by ropes from their necks, he told them to carry that tribute to Erginus and the Minyans. Indignant at this outrage, Erginus marched against Thebes. But Hercules, having received weapons from Athena and taken the command, killed Erginus, put the Minyans to flight, and compelled them to pay double the tribute to the Thebans. And it chanced that in the fight Amphitryon fell fighting bravely. And Hercules received from Creon his eldest daughter Megara as a prize of valor,92 and by her he had three sons, Therimachus, Creontiades, and Deicoon. But Creon gave his younger daughter to Iphicles, who already had a son Iolaus by Automedusa, daughter of Alcathus. And Rhadamanthys, son of Zeus, married Alcmena after the death of Amphitryon, and dwelt as an exile at Ocaleae in Boeotia.93

Having first learned from Eurytus the art of archery,94 Hercules received a sword from Hermes, a bow and arrows from Apollo,95 a golden breastplate from Hephaestus, and a robe from Athena; for he had himself cut a club at Nemea.

[2.4.12] Now it came to pass that after the battle with the Minyans Hercules was driven mad through the jealousy of Hera and flung his own children, whom he had by Megara, and two children of Iphicles into the fire96; wherefore he condemned himself to exile, and was purified by Thespius, and repairing to Delphi he inquired of the god where he should dwell.97 The Pythian priestess then first called him Hercules, for hitherto he was called Alcides.98 And she told him to dwell in Tiryns, serving Eurystheus for twelve years and to perform the ten labours imposed on him, and so, she said, when the tasks were accomplished, he would be immortal.99

[2.5.1] When Hercules heard that, he went to Tiryns and did as he was bid by Eurystheus. First, Eurystheus ordered him to bring the skin of the Nemean lion100; now that was an invulnerable beast begotten by Typhon. On his way to attack the lion he came to Cleonae and lodged at the house of a day-laborer, Molorchus101; and when his host would have offered a victim in sacrifice, Hercules told him to wait for thirty days, and then, if he had returned safe from the hunt, to sacrifice to Saviour Zeus, but if he were dead, to sacrifice to him as to a hero.102 And having come to Nemea and tracked the lion, he first shot an arrow at him, but when he perceived that the beast was invulnerable, he heaved up his club and made after him. And when the lion took refuge in a cave with two mouths, Hercules built up the one entrance and came in upon the beast through the other, and putting his arm round its neck held it tight till he had choked it; so laying it on his shoulders he carried it to Cleonae. And finding Molorchus on the last of the thirty days about to sacrifice the victim to him as to a dead man, he sacrificed to Saviour Zeus and brought the lion to Mycenae. Amazed at his manhood, Eurystheus forbade him thenceforth to enter the city, but ordered him to exhibit the fruits of his labours before the gates. They say, too, that in his fear he had a bronze jar made for himself to hide in under the earth,103 and that he sent his commands for the labours through a herald, Copreus,104 son of Pelops the Elean. This Copreus had killed Iphitus and fled to Mycenae, where he was purified by Eurystheus and took up his abode.

[2.5.2] As a second labour he ordered him to kill the Lernaean hydra.105 That creature, bred in the swamp of Lerna, used to go forth into the plain and ravage both the cattle and the country. Now the hydra had a huge body, with nine heads, eight mortal, but the middle one immortal. So mounting a chariot driven by Iolaus, he came to Lerna, and having halted his horses, he discovered the hydra on a hill beside the springs of the Amymone, where was its den. By pelting it with fiery shafts he forced it to come out, and in the act of doing so he seized and held it fast. But the hydra wound itself about one of his feet and clung to him. Nor could he effect anything by smashing its heads with his club, for as fast as one head was smashed there grew up two. A huge crab also came to the help of the hydra by biting his foot.106 So he killed it, and in his turn called for help on Iolaus who, by setting fire to a piece of the neighboring wood and burning the roots of the heads with the brands, prevented them from sprouting. Having thus got the better of the sprouting heads, he chopped off the immortal head, and buried it, and put a heavy rock on it, beside the road that leads through Lerna to Elaeus. But the body of the hydra he slit up and dipped his arrows in the gall. However, Eurystheus said that this labour should not be reckoned among the ten because he had not got the better of the hydra by himself, but with the help of Iolaus.

[2.5.3] As a third labour he ordered him to bring the Cerynitian hind alive to Mycenae.107 Now the hind was at Oenoe; it had golden horns and was sacred to Artemis; so wishing neither to kill nor wound it, Hercules hunted it a whole year. But when, weary with the chase, the beast took refuge on the mountain called Artemisius, and thence passed to the river Ladon, Hercules shot it just as it was about to cross the stream, and catching it put it on his shoulders and hastened through Arcadia. But Artemis with Apollo met him, and would have wrested the hind from him, and rebuked him for attempting to kill her sacred animal.108 Howbeit, by pleading necessity and laying the blame on Eurystheus, he appeased the anger of the goddess and carried the beast alive to Mycenae.

[2.5.4] As a fourth labour he ordered him to bring the Erymanthian boar alive109; now that animal ravaged Psophis, sallying from a mountain which they call Erymanthus. So passing through Pholoe he was entertained by the centaur Pholus, a son of Silenus by a Melian nymph.110 He set roast meat before Hercules, while he himself ate his meat raw. When Hercules called for wine, he said he feared to open the jar which belonged to the centaurs in common.111 But Hercules, bidding him be of good courage, opened it, and not long afterwards, scenting the smell, the centaurs arrived at the cave of Pholus, armed with rocks and firs. The first who dared to enter, Anchius and Agrius, were repelled by Hercules with a shower of brands, and the rest of them he shot and pursued as far as Malea. Thence they took refuge with Chiron, who, driven by the Lapiths from Mount Pelion, took up his abode at Malea. As the centaurs cowered about Chiron, Hercules shot an arrow at them, which, passing through the arm of Elatus, stuck in the knee of Chiron. Distressed at this, Hercules ran up to him, drew out the shaft, and applied a medicine which Chiron gave him. But the hurt proving incurable, Chiron retired to the cave and there he wished to die, but he could not, for he was immortal. However, Prometheus offered himself to Zeus to be immortal in his stead, and so Chiron died. The rest of the centaurs fled in different directions, and some came to Mount Malea, and Eurytion to Pholoe, and Nessus to the river Evenus. The rest of them Poseidon received at Eleusis and hid them in a mountain. But Pholus, drawing the arrow from a corpse, wondered that so little a thing could kill such big fellows; howbeit, it slipped from his hand and lighting on his foot killed him on the spot.112 So when Hercules returned to Pholoe, he beheld Pholus dead; and he buried him and proceeded to the boar hunt. And when he had chased the boar with shouts from a certain thicket, he drove the exhausted animal into deep snow, trapped it, and brought it to Mycenae.

[2.5.5] The fifth labour he laid on him was to carry out the dung of the cattle of Augeas in a single day.113 Now Augeas was king of Elis; some say that he was a son of the Sun, others that he was a son of Poseidon, and others that he was a son of Phorbas; and he had many herds of cattle. Hercules accosted him, and without revealing the command of Eurystheus, said that he would carry out the dung in one day, if Augeas would give him the tithe of the cattle. Augeas was incredulous, but promised. Having taken Augeas's son Phyleus to witness, Hercules made a breach in the foundations of the cattle-yard, and then, diverting the courses of the Alpheus and Peneus, which flowed near each other, he turned them into the yard, having first made an outlet for the water through another opening. When Augeas learned that this had been accomplished at the command of Eurystheus, he would not pay the reward; nay more, he denied that he had promised to pay it, and on that point he professed himself ready to submit to arbitration. The arbitrators having taken their seats, Phyleus was called by Hercules and bore witness against his father, affirming that he had agreed to give him a reward. In a rage Augeas, before the voting took place, ordered both Phyleus and Hercules to pack out of Elis. So Phyleus went to Dulichium and dwelt there,114 and Hercules repaired to Dexamenus at Olenus.115 He found Dexamenus on the point of betrothing perforce his daughter Mnesimache to the centaur Eurytion, and being called upon by him for help, he slew Eurytion when that centaur came to fetch his bride. But Eurystheus would not admit this labour either among the ten, alleging that it had been performed for hire.

[2.5.6] The sixth labour he enjoined on him was to chase away the Stymphalian birds.116 Now at the city of Stymphalus in Arcadia was the lake called Stymphalian, embosomed in a deep wood. To it countless birds had flocked for refuge, fearing to be preyed upon by the wolves.117 So when Hercules was at a loss how to drive the birds from the wood, Athena gave him brazen castanets, which she had received from Hephaestus. By clashing these on a certain mountain that overhung the lake, he scared the birds. They could not abide the sound, but fluttered up in a fright, and in that way Hercules shot them.

[2.5.7] The seventh labour he enjoined on him was to bring the Cretan bull.118 Acusilaus says that this was the bull that ferried across Europa for Zeus; but some say it was the bull that Poseidon sent up from the sea when Minos promised to sacrifice to Poseidon what should appear out of the sea. And they say that when he saw the beauty of the bull he sent it away to the herds and sacrificed another to Poseidon; at which the god was angry and made the bull savage. To attack this bull Hercules came to Crete, and when, in reply to his request for aid, Minos told him to fight and catch the bull for himself, he caught it and brought it to Eurystheus, and having shown it to him he let it afterwards go free. But the bull roamed to Sparta and all Arcadia, and traversing the Isthmus arrived at Marathon in Attica and harried the inhabitants.

[2.5.8] The eighth labour he enjoined on him was to bring the mares of Diomedes the Thracian to Mycenae.119 Now this Diomedes was a son of Ares and Cyrene, and he was king of the Bistones, a very warlike Thracian people, and he owned man-eating mares. So Hercules sailed with a band of volunteers, and having overpowered the grooms who were in charge of the mangers, he drove the mares to the sea. When the Bistones in arms came to the rescue, he committed the mares to the guardianship of Abderus, who was a son of Hermes, a native of Opus in Locris, and a minion of Hercules; but the mares killed him by dragging him after them. But Hercules fought against the Bistones, slew Diomedes and compelled the rest to flee. And he founded a city Abdera beside the grave of Abderus who had been done to death,120 and bringing the mares he gave them to Eurystheus. But Eurystheus let them go, and they came to Mount Olympus, as it is called, and there they were destroyed by the wild beasts.

[2.5.9] The ninth labour he enjoined on Hercules was to bring the belt of Hippolyte.121 She was queen of the Amazons, who dwelt about the river Thermodon, a people great in war; for they cultivated the manly virtues, and if ever they gave birth to children through intercourse with the other sex, they reared the females; and they pinched off the right breasts that they might not be trammelled by them in throwing the javelin, but they kept the left breasts, that they might suckle. Now Hippolyte had the belt of Ares in token of her superiority to all the rest. Hercules was sent to fetch this belt because Admete, daughter of Eurystheus, desired to get it. So taking with him a band of volunteer comrades in a single ship he set sail and put in to the island of Paros, which was inhabited by the sons of Minos,122 to wit, Eurymedon, Chryses, Nephalion, and Philolaus. But it chanced that two of those in the ship landed and were killed by the sons of Minos. Indignant at this, Hercules killed the sons of Minos on the spot and besieged the rest closely, till they sent envoys to request that in the room of the murdered men he would take two, whom he pleased. So he raised the siege, and taking on board the sons of Androgeus, son of Minos, to wit, Alcaeus and Sthenelus, he came to Mysia, to the court of Lycus, son of Dascylus, and was entertained by him; and in a battle between him and the king of the Bebryces Hercules sided with Lycus and slew many, amongst others King Mygdon, brother of Amycus. And he took much land from the Bebryces and gave it to Lycus, who called it all Heraclea.

Having put in at the harbor of Themiscyra, he received a visit from Hippolyte, who inquired why he was come, and promised to give him the belt. But Hera in the likeness of an Amazon went up and down the multitude saying that the strangers who had arrived were carrying off the queen. So the Amazons in arms charged on horseback down on the ship. But when Hercules saw them in arms, he suspected treachery, and killing Hippolyte stripped her of her belt. And after fighting the rest he sailed away and touched at Troy.

But it chanced that the city was then in distress consequently on the wrath of Apollo and Poseidon. For desiring to put the wantonness of Laomedon to the proof, Apollo and Poseidon assumed the likeness of men and undertook to fortify Pergamum for wages.123 But when they had fortified it, he would not pay them their wages. Therefore Apollo sent a pestilence, and Poseidon a sea monster, which, carried up by a flood, snatched away the people of the plain. But as oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster, he exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea.124 Seeing her exposed, Hercules promised to save her on condition of receiving from Laomedon the mares which Zeus had given in compensation for the rape of Ganymede.125 On Laomedon's saying that he would give them, Hercules killed the monster and saved Hesione. But when Laomedon would not give the stipulated reward,126 Hercules put to sea after threatening to make war on Troy.127

And he touched at Aenus, where he was entertained by Poltys. And as he was sailing away he shot and killed on the Aenian beach a lewd fellow, Sarpedon, son of Poseidon and brother of Poltys. And having come to Thasos and subjugated the Thracians who dwelt in the island, he gave it to the sons of Androgeus to dwell in. From Thasos he proceeded to Torone, and there, being challenged to wrestle by Polygonus and Telegonus, sons of Proteus, son of Poseidon, he killed them in the wrestling match.128 And having brought the belt to Mycenae he gave it to Eurystheus.

[2.5.10] As a tenth labour he was ordered to fetch the kine of Geryon from Erythia.129 Now Erythia was an island near the ocean; it is now called Gadira.130 This island was inhabited by Geryon, son of Chrysaor by Callirrhoe, daughter of Ocean. He had the body of three men grown together and joined in one at the waist, but parted in three from the flanks and thighs.131 He owned red kine, of which Eurytion was the herdsman and Orthus,132 the two-headed hound, begotten by Typhon on Echidna, was the watchdog. So journeying through Europe to fetch the kine of Geryon he destroyed many wild beasts and set foot in Libya,133 and proceeding to Tartessus he erected as tokens of his journey two pillars over against each other at the boundaries of Europe and Libya.134 But being heated by the Sun on his journey, he bent his bow at the god, who in admiration of his hardihood, gave him a golden goblet in which he crossed the ocean.135 And having reached Erythia he lodged on Mount Abas. However the dog, perceiving him, rushed at him; but he smote it with his club, and when the herdsman Eurytion came to the help of the dog, Hercules killed him also. But Menoetes, who was there pasturing the kine of Hades, reported to Geryon what had occurred, and he, coming up with Hercules beside the river Anthemus,136 as he was driving away the kine, joined battle with him and was shot dead. And Hercules, embarking the kine in the goblet and sailing across to Tartessus, gave back the goblet to the Sun.

And passing through Abderia137 he came to Liguria,138 where Ialebion and Dercynus, sons of Poseidon, attempted to rob him of the kine, but he killed them139 and went on his way through Tyrrhenia. But at Rhegium a bull broke away140 and hastily plunging into the sea swam across to Sicily, and having passed through the neighboring country since called Italy after it, for the Tyrrhenians called the bull italus,141 came to the plain of Eryx, who reigned over the Elymi.142 Now Eryx was a son of Poseidon, and he mingled the bull with his own herds. So Hercules entrusted the kine to Hephaestus and hurried away in search of the bull. He found it in the herds of Eryx, and when the king refused to surrender it unless Hercules should beat him in a wrestling bout, Hercules beat him thrice, killed him in the wrestling, and taking the bull drove it with the rest of the herd to the Ionian Sea. But when he came to the creeks of the sea, Hera afflicted the cows with a gadfly, and they dispersed among the skirts of the mountains of Thrace. Hercules went in pursuit, and having caught some, drove them to the Hellespont; but the remainder were thenceforth wild.143 Having with difficulty collected the cows, Hercules blamed the river Strymon, and whereas it had been navigable before, he made it unnavigable by filling it with rocks; and he conveyed the kine and gave them to Eurystheus, who sacrificed them to Hera.

[2.5.11] When the labours had been performed in eight years and a month,144 Eurystheus ordered Hercules, as an eleventh labour, to fetch golden apples from the Hesperides,145 for he did not acknowledge the labour of the cattle of Augeas nor that of the hydra. These apples were not, as some have said, in Libya, but on Atlas among the Hyperboreans.146 They were presented <by Earth> to Zeus after his marriage with Hera, and guarded by an immortal dragon with a hundred heads, offspring of Typhon and Echidna, which spoke with many and divers sorts of voices. With it the Hesperides also were on guard, to wit, Aegle, Erythia, Hesperia, and Arethusa. So journeying he came to the river Echedorus. And Cycnus, son of Ares and Pyrene, challenged him to single combat. Ares championed the cause of Cycnus and marshalled the combat, but a thunderbolt was hurled between the two and parted the combatants.147 And going on foot through Illyria and hastening to the river Eridanus he came to the nymphs, the daughters of Zeus and Themis. They revealed Nereus to him, and Hercules seized him while he slept, and though the god turned himself into all kinds of shapes, the hero bound him and did not release him till he had learned from him where were the apples and the Hesperides.148 Being informed, he traversed Libya. That country was then ruled by Antaeus, son of Poseidon,149 who used to kill strangers by forcing them to wrestle. Being forced to wrestle with him, Hercules hugged him, lifted him aloft,150 broke and killed him; for when he touched earth so it was that he waxed stronger, wherefore some said that he was a son of Earth.

After Libya he traversed Egypt. That country was then ruled by Busiris,151 a son of Poseidon by Lysianassa, daughter of Epaphus. This Busiris used to sacrifice strangers on an altar of Zeus in accordance with a certain oracle. For Egypt was visited with dearth for nine years, and Phrasius, a learned seer who had come from Cyprus, said that the dearth would cease if they slaughtered a stranger man in honor of Zeus every year. Busiris began by slaughtering the seer himself and continued to slaughter the strangers who landed. So Hercules also was seized and haled to the altars, but he burst his bonds and slew both Busiris and his son Amphidamas.152

And traversing Asia he put in to Thermydrae, the harbor of the Lindians.153 And having loosed one of the bullocks from the cart of a cowherd, he sacrificed it and feasted. But the cowherd, unable to protect himself, stood on a certain mountain and cursed. Wherefore to this day, when they sacrifice to Hercules, they do it with curses.154

And passing by Arabia he slew Emathion, son of Tithonus,155 and journeying through Libya to the outer sea he received the goblet from the Sun. And having crossed to the opposite mainland he shot on the Caucasus the eagle, offspring of Echidna and Typhon, that was devouring the liver of Prometheus, and he released Prometheus,156 after choosing for himself the bond of olive,157 and to Zeus he presented Chiron, who, though immortal, consented to die in his stead.

Now Prometheus had told Hercules not to go himself after the apples but to send Atlas, first relieving him of the burden of the sphere; so when he was come to Atlas in the land of the Hyperboreans, he took the advice and relieved Atlas. But when Atlas had received three apples from the Hesperides, he came to Hercules, and not wishing to support the sphere <he said that he would himself carry the apples to Eurystheus, and bade Hercules hold up the sky in his stead. Hercules promised to do so, but succeeded by craft in putting it on Atlas instead. For at the advice of Prometheus he begged Atlas to hold up the sky till he should>158 put a pad on his head. When Atlas heard that, he laid the apples down on the ground and took the sphere from Hercules. And so Hercules picked up the apples and departed. But some say that he did not get them from Atlas, but that he plucked the apples himself after killing the guardian snake. And having brought the apples he gave them to Eurystheus. But he, on receiving them, bestowed them on Hercules, from whom Athena got them and conveyed them back again; for it was not lawful that they should be laid down anywhere.

[2.5.12] A twelfth labour imposed on Hercules was to bring Cerberus from Hades.159 Now this Cerberus had three heads of dogs, the tail of a dragon, and on his back the heads of all sorts of snakes. When Hercules was about to depart to fetch him, he went to Eumolpus at Eleusis, wishing to be initiated. However it was not then lawful for foreigners to be initiated: since he proposed to be initiated as the adoptive son of Pylius. But not being able to see the mysteries because he had not been cleansed of the slaughter of the centaurs, he was cleansed by Eumolpus and then initiated.160 And having come to Taenarum in Laconia, where is the mouth of the descent to Hades, he descended through it.161 But when the souls saw him, they fled, save Meleager and the Gorgon Medusa. And Hercules drew his sword against the Gorgon, as if she were alive, but he learned from Hermes that she was an empty phantom.162 And being come near to the gates of Hades he found Theseus and Pirithous,163 him who wooed Persephone in wedlock and was therefore bound fast. And when they beheld Hercules, they stretched out their hands as if they should be raised from the dead by his might. And Theseus, indeed, he took by the hand and raised up, but when he would have brought up Pirithous, the earth quaked and he let go. And he rolled away also the stone of Ascalaphus.164 And wishing to provide the souls with blood, he slaughtered one of the kine of Hades. But Menoetes, son of Ceuthonymus, who tended the king, challenged Hercules to wrestle, and, being seized round the middle, had his ribs broken165; howbeit, he was let off at the request of Persephone. When Hercules asked Pluto for Cerberus, Pluto ordered him to take the animal provided he mastered him without the use of the weapons which he carried. Hercules found him at the gates of Acheron, and, cased in his cuirass and covered by the lion's skin, he flung his arms round the head of the brute, and though the dragon in its tail bit him, he never relaxed his grip and pressure till it yielded.166 So he carried it off and ascended through Troezen.167 But Demeter turned Ascalaphus into a short-eared owl,168 and Hercules, after showing Cerberus to Eurystheus, carried him back to Hades.

[2.6.1] After his labours Hercules went to Thebes and gave Megara to Iolaus,169 and, wishing himself to wed, he ascertained that Eurytus, prince of Oechalia, had proposed the hand of his daughter Iole as a prize to him who should vanquish himself and his sons in archery.170 So he came to Oechalia, and though he proved himself better than them at archery, yet he did not get the bride; for while Iphitus, the elder of Eurytus's sons, said that Iole should be given to Hercules, Eurytus and the others refused, and said they feared that, if he got children, he would again kill his offspring.171

[2.6.2] Not long after, some cattle were stolen from Euboea by Autolycus, and Eurytus supposed that it was done by Hercules; but Iphitus did not believe it and went to Hercules. And meeting him, as he came from Pherae after saving the dead Alcestis for Admetus, he invited him to seek the kine with him. Hercules promised to do so and entertained him; but going mad again he threw him from the walls of Tiryns.172 Wishing to be purified of the murder he repaired to Neleus, who was prince of the Pylians. And when Neleus rejected his request on the score of his friendship with Eurytus, he went to Amyclae and was purified by Deiphobus, son of Hippolytus.173 But being afflicted with a dire disease on account of the murder of Iphitus he went to Delphi and inquired how he might be rid of the disease. As the Pythian priestess answered him not by oracles, he was fain to plunder the temple, and, carrying off the tripod, to institute an oracle of his own. But Apollo fought him,174 and Zeus threw a thunderbolt between them. When they had thus been parted, Hercules received an oracle, which declared that the remedy for his disease was for him to be sold, and to serve for three years, and to pay compensation for the murder to Eurytus.

[2.6.3] After the delivery of the oracle, Hermes sold Hercules, and he was bought by Omphale,175 daughter of Iardanes, queen of Lydia, to whom at his death her husband Tmolus had bequeathed the government. Eurytus did not accept the compensation when it was presented to him, but Hercules served Omphale as a slave, and in the course of his servitude he seized and bound the Cercopes at Ephesus176; and as for Syleus in Aulis, who compelled passing strangers to dig, Hercules killed him with his daughter Xenodoce, after burning the vines with the roots.177 And having put in to the island of Doliche, he saw the body of Icarus washed ashore and buried it, and he called the island Icaria instead of Doliche. In return Daedalus made a portrait statue of Hercules at Pisa, which Hercules mistook at night for living and threw a stone and hit it. And during the time of his servitude with Omphale it is said that the voyage to Colchis178 and the hunt of the Calydonian boar took place, and that Theseus on his way from Troezen cleared the Isthmus of malefactors.

[2.6.4] After his servitude, being rid of his disease he mustered an army of noble volunteers and sailed for Ilium with eighteen ships of fifty oars each.179 And having come to port at Ilium, he left the guard of the ships to Oicles180 and himself with the rest of the champions set out to attack the city. Howbeit Laomedon marched against the ships with the multitude and slew Oicles in battle, but being repulsed by the troops of Hercules, he was besieged. The siege once laid, Telamon was the first to breach the wall and enter the city, and after him Hercules. But when he saw that Telamon had entered it first, he drew his sword and rushed at him, loath that anybody should be reputed a better man than himself. Perceiving that, Telamon collected stones that lay to hand, and when Hercules asked him what he did, he said he was building an altar to Hercules the Glorious Victor.181 Hercules thanked him, and when he had taken the city and shot down Laomedon and his sons, except Podarces, he assigned Laomedon's daughter Hesione as a prize to Telamon182 and allowed her to take with her whomsoever of the captives she would. When she chose her brother Podarces, Hercules said that he must first be a slave and then be ransomed by her. So when he was being sold she took the veil from her head and gave it as a ransom; hence Podarces was called Priam.183

[2.7.1] When Hercules was sailing from Troy, Hera sent grievous storms,184 which so vexed Zeus that he hung her from Olympus.185 Hercules sailed to Cos,186 and the Coans, thinking he was leading a piratical squadron, endeavored to prevent his approach by a shower of stones. But he forced his way in and took the city by night, and slew the king, Eurypylus, son of Poseidon by Astypalaea. And Hercules was wounded in the battle by Chalcedon; but Zeus snatched him away, so that he took no harm. And having laid waste Cos, he came through Athena's agency to Phlegra, and sided with the gods in their victorious war on the giants.187

[2.7.2] Not long afterwards he collected an Arcadian army, and being joined by volunteers from the first men in Greece he marched against Augeas.188 But Augeas, hearing of the war that Hercules was levying, appointed Eurytus and Cteatus189 generals of the Eleans. They were two men joined in one, who surpassed all of that generation in strength and were sons of Actor by Molione, though their father was said to be Poseidon; now Actor was a brother of Augeas. But it came to pass that on the expedition Hercules fell sick; hence he concluded a truce with the Molionides. But afterwards, being apprized of his illness, they attacked the army and slew many. On that occasion, therefore, Hercules beat a retreat; but afterwards at the celebration of the third Isthmian festival, when the Eleans sent the Molionides to take part in the sacrifices, Hercules waylaid and killed them at Cleonae,190 and marching on Elis took the city. And having killed Augeas and his sons, he restored Phyleus and bestowed on him the kingdom.191 He also celebrated the Olympian games192 and founded an altar of Pelops,193 and built six altars of the twelve gods.194

[2.7.3] After the capture of Elis he marched against Pylus,195 and having taken the city he slew Periclymenus, the most valiant of the sons of Neleus, who used to change his shape in battle.196 And he slew Neleus and his sons, except Nestor; for he was a youth and was being brought up among the Gerenians. In the fight he also wounded Hades, who was siding with the Pylians.197

Having taken Pylus he marched against Lacedaemon, wishing to punish the sons of Hippocoon,198 for he was angry with them, both because they fought for Neleus, and still angrier because they had killed the son of Licymnius. For when he was looking at the palace of Hippocoon, a hound of the Molossian breed ran out and rushed at him, and he threw a stone and hit the dog, whereupon the Hippocoontids darted out and despatched him with blows of their cudgels. It was to avenge his death that Hercules mustered an army against the Lacedaemonians. And having come to Arcadia he begged Cepheus to join him with his sons, of whom he had twenty. But fearing lest, if he quitted Tegea, the Argives would march against it, Cepheus refused to join the expedition. But Hercules had received from Athena a lock of the Gorgon's hair in a bronze jar and gave it to Sterope, daughter of Cepheus, saying that if an army advanced against the city, she was to hold up the lock of hair thrice from the walls, and that, provided she did not look before her, the enemy would be turned to flight.199 That being so, Cepheus and his sons took the field, and in the battle he and his sons perished, and besides them Iphicles, the brother of Hercules. Having killed Hippocoon and his sons and subjugated the city, Hercules restored Tyndareus and entrusted the kingdom to him.

[2.7.4] Passing by Tegea, Hercules debauched Auge, not knowing her to be a daughter of Aleus.200 And she brought forth her babe secretly and deposited it in the precinct of Athena. But the country being wasted by a pestilence, Aleus entered the precinct and on investigation discovered his daughter's motherhood. So he exposed the babe on Mount Parthenius, and by the providence of the gods it was preserved: for a doe that had just cast her fawn gave it suck, and shepherds took up the babe and called it Telephus.201 And her father gave Auge to Nauplius, son of Poseidon, to sell far away in a foreign land; and Nauplius gave her to Teuthras, the prince of Teuthrania, who made her his wife.

[2.7.5] And having come to Calydon, Hercules wooed Deianira, daughter of Oeneus.202 He wrestled for her hand with Achelous, who assumed the likeness of a bull; but Hercules broke off one of his horns.203 So Hercules married Deianira, but Achelous recovered the horn by giving the horn of Amalthea in its stead. Now Amalthea was a daughter of Haemonius, and she had a bull's horn, which, according to Pherecydes, had the power of supplying meat or drink in abundance, whatever one might wish.204

[2.7.6] And Hercules marched with the Calydonians against the Thesprotians, and having taken the city of Ephyra, of which Phylas was king, he had intercourse with the king's daughter Astyoche, and became the father of Tlepolemus.205 While he stayed among them, he sent word to Thespius to keep seven of his sons, to send three to Thebes and to despatch the remaining forty to the island of Sardinia to plant a colony.206 After these events, as he was feasting with Oeneus, he killed with a blow of his knuckles endeavored, son of Architeles, when the lad was pouring water on his hands; now the lad was a kinsman of Oeneus.207 Seeing that it was an accident, the lad's father pardoned Hercules; but Hercules wished, in accordance with the law, to suffer the penalty of exile, and resolved to depart to Ceyx at Trachis. And taking Deianira with him, he came to the river Evenus, at which the centaur Nessus sat and ferried passengers across for hire,208 alleging that he had received the ferry from the gods for his righteousness. So Hercules crossed the river by himself, but on being asked to pay the fare he entrusted Deianira to Nessus to carry over. But he, in ferrying her across, attempted to violate her. She cried out, Hercules heard her, and shot Nessus to the heart when he emerged from the river. Being at the point of death, Nessus called Deianira to him and said that if she would have a love charm to operate on Hercules she should mix the seed he had dropped on the ground with the blood that flowed from the wound inflicted by the barb. She did so and kept it by her.

[2.7.7] Going through the country of the Dryopes and being in lack of food, Hercules met Thiodamas driving a pair of bullocks; so he unloosed and slaughtered one of the bullocks and feasted.209 And when he came to Ceyx at Trachis he was received by him and conquered the Dryopes.210

And afterwards setting out from there, he fought as an ally of Aegimius, king of the Dorians.211 For the Lapiths, commanded by Coronus, made war on him in a dispute about the boundaries of the country; and being besieged he called in the help of Hercules, offering him a share of the country. So Hercules came to his help and slew Coronus and others, and handed the whole country over to Aegimius free. He slew also Laogoras,212 king of the Dryopes, with his children, as he was banqueting in a precinct of Apollo; for the king was a wanton fellow and an ally of the Lapiths. And as he passed by Itonus he was challenged to single combat by Cycnus a son of Ares and Pelopia; and closing with him Hercules slew him also.213 But when he was come to Ormenium, king Amyntor took arms and forbade him to march through; but when he would have hindered his passage, Hercules slew him also.214

On his arrival at Trachis he mustered an army to attack Oechalia, wishing to punish Eurytus.215 Being joined by Arcadians, Melians from Trachis, and Epicnemidian Locrians, he slew Eurytus and his sons and took the city. After burying those of his own side who had fallen, to wit, Hippasus, son of Ceyx, and Argius and Melas, the sons of Licymnius, he pillaged the city and led Iole captive. And having put in at Cenaeum, a headland of Euboea, he built an altar of Cenaean Zeus.216 Intending to offer sacrifice, he sent the herald Lichas to Trachis to fetch fine raiment.217 From him Deianira learned about Iole, and fearing that Hercules might love that damsel more than herself, she supposed that the spilt blood of Nessus was in truth a love-charm, and with it she smeared the tunic.218 So Hercules put it on and proceeded to offer sacrifice. But no sooner was the tunic warmed than the poison of the hydra began to corrode his skin; and on that he lifted Lichas by the feet, hurled him down from the headland,219 and tore off the tunic, which clung to his body, so that his flesh was torn away with it. In such a sad plight he was carried on shipboard to Trachis: and Deianira, on learning what had happened, hanged herself.220 But Hercules, after charging Hyllus his elder son by Deianira, to marry Iole when he came of age,221 proceeded to Mount Oeta, in the Trachinian territory, and there constructed a pyre,222 mounted it, and gave orders to kindle it. When no one would do so, Poeas, passing by to look for his flocks, set a light to it. On him Hercules bestowed his bow. While the pyre was burning, it is said that a cloud passed under Hercules and with a peal of thunder wafted him up to heaven.223 Thereafter he obtained immortality, and being reconciled to Hera he married her daughter Hebe,224 by whom he had sons, Alexiares and Anicetus.

[2.7.8] And he had sons by the daughters of Thespius,225 to wit: by Procris he had Antileon and Hippeus( for the eldest daughter bore twins); by Panope he had Threpsippas; by Lyse he had Eumedes; ... he had Creon; by Epilais he had Astyanax; by Certhe he had Iobes; by Eurybia he had Polylaus; by Patro he had Archemachus; by Meline he had Laomedon; by Clytippe he had Eurycapys; by Eubote he had Eurypylus; by Aglaia he had Antiades; by Chryseis he had Onesippus; by Oriahe had Laomenes; by Lysidice he had Teles; by Menippis he had Entelides; by Anthippe he had Hippodromus; by Eury ... he had Teleutagoras; by Hippo he had Capylus; by Euboea he had Olympus; by Nice he had Nicodromus; by Argele he had Cleolaus; by Exole he had Erythras; by Xanthis he had Homolippus; by Stratonice he had Atromus; by Iphis he had Celeustanor; by Laothoe he had Antiphus; by Antiope he had Alopius; by Calametis he had Astybies; by Phyleis he had Tigasis, by Aeschreis he had Leucones; by Anthea ... ; by Eurypyle he had Archedicus; by Erato he had Dynastes; by Asopis he had Mentor; by Eone he had Amestrius; by Tiphyse he had Lyncaeus; by Olympusa he had Halocrates; by Heliconis he had Phalias; by Hesychia he had Oestrobles; by Terpsicrate he had Euryopes; by Elachia he had Buleus; by Nicippe he had Antimachus; by Pyrippehe had Patroclus; by Praxithea he had Nephus; by Lysippe he had Erasippus; by Toxicrate he had Lycurgus; by Marse he had Bucolus; by Eurytele he had Leucippus; by Hippocrate he had Hippozygus. These he had by the daughters of Thespius. And he had sons by other women: by Deianira, daughter of Oeneus, he had Hyllus, Ctesippus, Glenus and Onites226; by Megara, daughter of Creon, he had Therimachus, Deicoon, and Creontiades227; by Omphale he had Agelaus,228 from whom the family of Croesus was descended,229 by Chalciope, daughter of Eurypylus, he had Thettalus; by Epicaste, daughter of Augeas, he had Thestalus; by Parthenope, daughter of Stymphalus, he had Everes; by Auge, daughter of Aleus, he had Telephus230; by Astyoche, daughter of Phylas, he had Tlepolemus231; by Astydamia, daughter of Amyntor, he had Ctesippus; by Autonoe, daughter of Pireus, he had Palaemon.

[2.8.1] When Hercules had been translated to the gods, his sons fled from Eurystheus and came to Ceyx.232 But when Eurystheus demanded their surrender and threatened war, they were afraid, and, quitting Trachis, fled through Greece. Being pursued, they came to Athens, and sitting down on the altar of Mercy, claimed protection.233 Refusing to surrender them, the Athenians bore the brunt of war with Eurystheus, and slew his sons, Alexander, Iphimedon, Eurybius, Mentor and Perimedes. Eurystheus himself fled in a chariot, but was pursued and slain by Hyllus just as he was driving past the Scironian cliffs; and Hyllus cut off his head and gave it to Alcmena; and she gouged out his eyes with weaving-pins.234

[2.8.2] After Eurystheus had perished, the Heraclids came to attack Peloponnese and they captured all the cities.235 When a year had elapsed from their return, a plague visited the whole of Peloponnese; and an oracle declared that this happened on account of the Heraclids, because they had returned before the proper time. Hence they quitted Peloponnese and retired to Marathon and dwelt there.236 Now before they came out of Peloponnese, Tlepolemus had killed Licymnius inadvertently; for while he was beating a servant with his stick Licymnius ran in between; so he fled with not a few, and came to Rhodes, and dwelt there.237 But Hyllus married Iole according to his father's commands, and sought to effect the return of the Heraclids. So he went to Delphi and inquired how they should return; and the god said that they should await the third crop before returning. But Hyllus supposed that the third crop signified three years; and having waited that time he returned with his army238 . . . of Hercules to Peloponnese, when Tisamenus, son of Orestes, was reigning over the Peloponnesians.239 And in another battle the Peloponnesians were victorious, and Aristomachus240 was slain. But when the sons of Cleodaeus241 were grown to man's estate, they inquired of the oracle concerning their return. And the god having given the same answer as before, Temenus blamed him, saying that when they had obeyed the oracle they had been unfortunate. But the god retorted that they were themselves to blame for their misfortunes, for they did not understand the oracles, seeing that by “the third crop” he meant, not a crop of the earth, but a crop of a generation, and that by the narrows he meant the broad-bellied sea on the right of the Isthmus.242 On hearing that, Temenus made ready the army and built ships in Locris where the place is now named Naupactus from that.243 While the army was there, Aristodemus was killed by a thunderbolt,244 leaving twin sons, Eurysthenes and Procles, by Argia, daughter of Autesion.245

[2.8.3] And it chanced that a calamity also befell the army at Naupactus. For there appeared to them a soothsayer reciting oracles in a fine frenzy, whom they took for a magician sent by the Peloponnesians to be the ruin of the army. So Hippotes, son of Phylas, son of Antiochus, son of Hercules, threw a javelin at him, and hit and killed him.246 In consequence of that, the naval force perished with the destruction of the fleet, and the land force suffered from famine, and the army disbanded. When Temenus inquired of the oracle concerning this calamity, the god said that these things were done by the soothsayer247 and he ordered him to banish the slayer for ten years and to take for his guide the Three-Eyed One. So they banished Hippotes, and sought for the Three-Eyed One.248 And they chanced to light on Oxylus, son of Andraemon, a man sitting on a one-eyed horse (its other eye having been knocked out with an arrow); for he had fled to Elis on account of a murder, and was now returning from there to Aetolia after the lapse of a year.249 So guessing the purport of the oracle, they made him their guide. And having engaged the enemy they got the better of him both by land and sea, and slew Tisamenus, son of Orestes.250 Their allies, Pamphylus and Dymas, the sons of Aegimius, also fell in the fight.

[2.8.4] When they had made themselves masters of Peloponnese, they set up three altars of Paternal Zeus, and sacrificed upon them, and cast lots for the cities. So the first drawing was for Argos, the second for Lacedaemon, and the third for Messene. And they brought a pitcher of water, and resolved that each should cast in a lot. Now Temenus and the two sons of Aristodemus, Procles and Eurysthenes, threw stones; but Cresphontes, wishing to have Messene allotted to him, threw in a clod of earth. As the clod was dissolved in the water, it could not be but that the other two lots should turn up. The lot of Temenus having been drawn first, and that of the sons of Aristodemus second, Cresphontes got Messene.251

[2.8.5] And on the altars on which they sacrificed they found signs lying: for they who got Argos by the lot found a toad; those who got Lacedaemon found a serpent; and those who got Messene found a fox.252 As to these signs the seers said that those who found the toad had better stay in the city (seeing that the animal has no strength when it walks); that those who found the serpent would be terrible in attack, and that those who found the fox would be wily.

Now Temenus, passing over his sons Agelaus, Eurypylus, and Callias, favoured his daughter Hyrnetho and her husband Deiphontes; hence his sons hired some fellows to murder their father.253 On the perpetration of the murder the army decided that the kingdom belonged to Hyrnetho254 and Deiphontes. Cresphontes had not long reigned over Messene when he was murdered with two of his sons255; and Polyphontes, one of the true Heraclids, came to the throne and took to wife, against her will, Merope, the wife of the murdered man.256 But he too was slain. For Merope had a third son, called Aepytus, whom she gave to her own father to bring up. When he was come to manhood he secretly returned, killed Polyphontes, and recovered the kingdom of his fathers.257

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