1. CONTENTSINTRODUCTION: The Value of Myths ARGUS CERBERUS CHIMERA CYCLOPS LERNAEAN HYDRA LION NEMEAN MEDUSA MINOTAUR
2. INTRODUCTION:Most of us formed our first impressions of Greek myths as children from the summaries andillustrated handbooks, movies, and cartoons that simplified and sanitized the doings of the godsand heroes. The stories were fun, and they impressed us as something uncomplicated, orfrivolous. How, after all, could anyone take seriously such fantasy as Zeuss turning himself into abull or Kronos swallowing his children? In time, youthful skepticism was reinforced by thecommon opinion that myths are false and misleading. Commercial advertisements and politicalspeeches abound with claims of exploding the "myth" of this or that by telling the truth. In the wayof language, the word has become confused with the thing, and the meaningful place of Greekmyths in the society that created them has become distorted, if not lost, through our own culturesestimation of myths. The Greek word mythos denoted "anything said by the mouth" and therebysimply opposed the spoken word to the physical deed. In Homer, mythos also means a story ortale— without any implication of truth or falsity. And Plato (c. 429-347), the first to employ theterm mythologia, meant by it only the telling of stories. As narratives, myths consist of words thatrelate events and actions. The narrative begins with one situation, passes through a middle inwhich the situation is elaborated upon or altered, then ends in quite another situation. The myth ofDaphne, for example, tells how Daphne, daughter of the river god Peneus, was pursued byApollo; she fled his embrace, praying for aid, and was changed into a laurel tree. Those storieswhich we know today as Greek myths were a vital, working, and formative medium in Greeksociety. For that reason, the study of Greek mythmaking, no less than the study of Greek historyor philosophy, provides insights into a civilization which has value for itself and for our own..
3. ARGUS PANOPTES or ARGOS (Ἄργος Πανόπτης)PARENTS: ARGOS & ISMENEENCYCLOPEDIA:Argus (Argos), surnamed Panoptes. His parentage is stated differently, and his father is calledAgenor, Arestor, Inachus, or Argus. He derived his surname, Panoptes, the all-seeing, from hispossessing a hundred eyes, some of which were always awake. He was of superhuman strength,and after he had slain a fierce bull which ravaged Arcadia, a Satyr who robbed and violatedpersons, the serpent Echidna, which rendered the roads unsafe, and the murderers of Apis. In aclassical case of mythological inconsistency, some say he had four eyes - two in the standardplacement and two in the back of his head - while others claim he had up to a hundred eyes allover his body. This excess ocular equipment made Argus an excellent watchman, a talent whichthe goddess Hera used to good effect in the case of Io. Io was a young priestess with whomHeras husband Zeus had fallen in love. Needless to say, Hera was jealous and angry, so shechanged Io into a cow. Or maybe Zeus himself brought about the transformation to hide theobject of his passion from Hera. In any case, once Io had become a heifer, Hera asked Argus tokeep an eye on her and let Hera know if Zeus came near. Argus was able to perform this watcharound the clock since he could always keep a lid or two peeled while the rest caught a little shuteye. But Zeus told Hermes, god of thieves, to snatch Io away, and Hermes resorted to a cleverruse. Disguising himself as a shepherd, he bored Argus with long-winded stories, beguiled himwith song and eventually lulled him to sleep by playing tunes on a shepherds pipe, recentlyinvented by Pan. Or so, at least, goes one version of the tale. In another, Hermes killed Arguswith the cast of a stone.MYTH:There was once a maiden named Io, a priestess of Hera, who had disturbing dreams. Throughthem she learned Zeus wished to deprive her of her virginity. She was the daughter of Inachus,one of the River Gods and king of Argos. In time, Io told her father, Inachus, who consulted theoracle. Told by the oracle that the king of the gods would show his wrath if not satisfied, Inachusforced his daughter Io to leave his protection. One day, great god Zeus saw her and fell madly inlove with this maiden. Io was constantly avoiding his amorous attempts, until Zeus took the formof clouds, surrounded her and made love to her. Zeus in his seduction of Io had fore-sensed his spouse’s [Heras] visit and transformedpoor Io into a sleek white cow, lovely still although a cow. Hera against her will, admired thecreature and asked whose she was, and whence she came and to what herd belonged,pretending not to know the truth. He lied--`The earth had brought her forth’--so to deflect
4. questions about her birth. Then Hera begged the cow as a gift. What should he do? Too cruel togive his darling! Not to give--suspicious; shame persuades but love dissuades. Love would havewon; but then--if he refused his wife so slight a gift, a cow, it well might seem no cow at all! Thegoddess won her rival, but distrust lingered and still she feared her husband’s tricks, till, for safe-keeping, she had given the cow to Argos of the hundred eyes, all watching and on duty round hishead, save two which took in turn their sleep and rest. Whichever way he stood he looked at Io, Io before his eyes behind his back! By day helet her graze, but when the sun sank down beneath the earth he stabled her and tied--for shame!--a halter round her neck. She browsed on leaves of trees and bitter weeds, and for her bed, poorthing, lay on the ground, not always grassy, and drank the muddy streams; and when, to pleadwith Argus, she would try to stretch her arms, she had no arms to stretch. When she complained,a moo came from her throat, a startling sound. She nevertheless managed to reveal herself to herfather and sisters but as they thus grieved, Argus, star-eyed, drove off daughter from father,hurrying her away to distant pastures. Then himself, afar, high on a mountain he sat up high tokeep his scrutiny on every side. But now heaven’s master Zeus could no more endure Io’sdistress, and summoned his son Hermes, whom the bright shining Maia bore, and charged him toaccomplish Argus’ death. Promptly he fastened on his ankle-wings, grasped in his fist the wandthat charms to sleep, put on his magic cap, and thus arrayed Zeus’ son Hermes sprang from hisfather’s citadel down to earth. There he removed his cap, laid by his wings; only his wand hekept. A herdsman now, he drove a flock of goats through the green byways, gathered as he went,and played his pipes of reed. The strange sweet skill charmed Hera’s guardian. `My friend’, hecalled, `whoever you are, well might you sit with me here on this rock, and see how cool theshade extends congenial for a shepherd’s seat.’ So Hermes joined him, and with many a tale hestayed the passing hours and on his reeds played soft refrains to lull the watching eyes. ButArgus fought to keep at bay the charms of slumber and, though many of his eyes were closed insleep, still many kept their guard. He asked too by what means this new design (for new it was),the pipe of reeds, was found. Then the god told this story of Pan and his pursuit of the NympheSyrinx . . . The tale remained untold; for Hermes saw all Argus’ eyelids closed and every eyevanquished in sleep. He stopped and with his wand, his magic wand, soothed the tired restingeyes and sealed their slumber; quick then with his sword he struck off the nodding head and fromthe rock threw it all bloody, spattering the cliff with gore. Argus lay dead; so many eyes, so brightquenched, and all hundred shrouded in one night. Hera retrieved those eyes to set in placeamong the feathers of her bird, the peacock and filled his tail with starry jewels.
5. CERBERUS or KERBERUS (Κέρβερος)PARENTS: TYPHOEUS & EKHIDNAENCYCLOPEDIA:Cerberus was the gigantic hound which guarded the gates of Haides. He was posted to preventghosts of the dead from leaving the underworld. Cerberus was described as a three-headed dogwith a serpents tail, a mane of snakes, and a lions claws. Some say he had fifty heads, thoughthis number might have included the heads of his serpentine mane. Hercules was sent to fetchCerberus forth from the underworld as one of his twelve labours, a task which he accomplishedthrough the grace of Persephone. Cerberus also appears in the story of Orpheus, who managedto make him sleep by playing his music. This way, Orpeus was able to get into the underworld, inorder to look for Eurydice. CE′RBERUS (Kerberos), the many-headed dog that guarded the entrance of Hades, ismentioned as early as the Homeric poems, but simply as "the dog," and without the name ofCerberus. (Il. viii. 368, Od. xi. 623.) Hesiod, who is the first that gives his name and origin, callshim (Theog. 311) fifty-headed and a son of Typhaon and Echidna. Later writers describe him as amonster with only three heads, with the tail of a serpent and a mane consisting of the heads ofvarious snakes. (Apollod. ii. 5. § 12; Eurip. Here. fur. 24, 611; Virg. Aen. vi. 417; Ov. Met. iv. 449.)Some poets again call him many-headed or hundred-headed. (Horat. Carm. ii. 13. 34; Tzetz. adLycoph. 678; Senec. Here. fur. 784.) The place where Cerberus kept watch was according tosome at the mouth of the Acheron, and according to others at the gates of Hades, into which headmitted the shades, but never let them out again.MYTH:The most dangerous labor of all was the twelfth and final one. Eurystheus ordered Hercules to goto the Underworld and kidnap the beast called Cerberus (or Kerberos). Eurystheus must havebeen sure Hercules would never succeed at this impossible task! The ancient Greeks believedthat after a person died, his or her spirit went to the world below and dwelled for eternity in thedepths of the earth. The Underworld was the kingdom of Hades, also called Pluto, and his wife,Persephone. Depending on how a person lived his or her life, they might or might not experiencenever-ending punishment in Hades. All souls, whether good or bad, were destined for thekingdom of Hades. Cerberus parents were the monster Echinda (half-woman, half-serpent) andTyphon (a fire-breathing giant covered with dragons and serpents). Even the gods of Olympuswere afraid of Typhon. Among the children attributed to this awful couple were Orthus (or Othros), the Hydra ofLerna, and the Chimaera. Orthus was a two-headed hound which guarded the cattle of Geryon.
6. With the Chimaera, Orthus fathered the Nemean Lion and the Sphinx. The Chimaera was athree-headed fire-breathing monster, part lion, part snake, and part goat. Hercules seemed tohave a lot of experience dealing with this family: he killed Orthus, when he stole the cattle ofGeryon, and strangled the Nemean Lion. Compared to these unfortunate family members,Cerberus was actually rather lucky. Before making the trip to the Underworld, Hercules decided that he should take someextra precautions. This was, after all, a journey from which no mortal had ever returned. Herculesknew that once in the kingdom of Hades, he might not be allowed to leave and rejoin the living.The hero went to Eleusis and saw Eumolpus, a priest who began what were known as theEleusinian Mysteries. The mysteries were sacred religious rites which celebrated the myth ofDemeter and her daughter Persephone. The ancients believed that those who learned thesecrets of the mysteries would have happiness in the Underworld. After the hero met a fewconditions of membership, Eumolpus initiated Hercules into the mysteries. Hercules went to a place called Taenarum in Laconia. Through a deep, rocky cave,Hercules made his way down to the Underworld. He encountered monsters, heroes, and ghostsas he made his way through Hades. He even engaged in a wrestling contest! Then, finally, hefound Hades and asked the god for Cerberus. The lord of the Underworld replied that Herculescould indeed take Cerberus with him, but only if he overpowered the beast with nothing morethan his own brute strength. A weaponless Hercules set off to find Cerberus. Near the gates of Acheron, one of thefive rivers of the Underworld, Hercules encountered Cerberus. Undaunted, the hero threw hisstrong arms around the beast, perhaps grasping all three heads at once, and wrestled Cerberusinto submission. The dragon in the tail of the fierce flesh-eating guard dog bit Hercules, but thatdid not stop him. Cerberus had to submit to the force of the hero, and Hercules brought Cerberusto Eurystheus. Unlike other monsters that crossed the path of the legendary hero, Cerberus wasreturned safely to Hades, where he resumed guarding the gateway to the Underworld.Presumably, Hercules inflicted no lasting damage on Cerberus, except, of course, the wound tohis pride! Hercules returning to earth with Kerberos tells of his journey to the Underworld :`Whoever of the gods from on high looks down on things of earth, and would not be defiled by astrange, new sight, let him turn away his gaze, lift his eyes to heaven, and shun the warning. Letonly two look on this monster [Cerberus]--him who brought and her who ordered it. To appoint mepenalties and tasks earth is not broad enough for Heras hate. I have seen places unapproachedby any, unknown to Phoebus [the sun], those gloomy spaces which the baser pole hath yielded toinfernal Haides; and if the regions of the third estate pleased me, I might have reigned. The chaosof everlasting night, and something worse than night, and the grim gods and the fates--all these Isaw and, having flouted death, I have come back. What else remains? I have seen and revealed
7. the lower world. If aught is left to do, give it to me, O Hera; too long already dost thou let myhands lie idle. What dost thou bid me conquer? Here the savage Stygian dog frightens theshades; tossing back and forth his triple heads, with huge bayings he guards the realm. Aroundhis head, foul with corruption, serpents lap, his shaggy man bristles with vipers, and in his twistedtail a long snake hisses. His rage matches his shape. Soon as he feels the stir of feet he raiseshis head, rough with darting snakes, and with ears erect catches at the onsped sound, he is tohear even the shades. When Hercules stood closer, within his cave the dog crouches hesitantand feels a touch of fear. Then suddenly, with deep bayings, he terrifies the silent places; thesnakes hiss threateningly along all his shoulders. The clamour of his dreadful voice, issuing fromtriple throats, fills even the blessed shades with dread. Then from his left arm the hero looses the fierce-grinning jaws, thrusts out before him theCleonaean head and, beneath that huge shield crouching, plies his mighty club with victoriousright hand. Now here, now there, with unremitting blows he whirls it, redoubling the strokes. Atlast the dog, vanquished ceases his threatenings and, spent with struggle, lowers all his headsand yields all wardship of his cavern. Both rulers [Haides and Persephone] shiver on their throne,and bid lead the dog away. Me also Theseus trapped in Haides they give as boon to Alcides’prayer. Then, stroking the monster’s sullen necks, he binds him with chains of adamant. Forgetfulof himself, the watchful guardian of the dusky realm droops his ears, trembling and willing to beled, owns his master, and with muzzle lowered follows after, beating both his sides with snakytail. But when he came to the Taenarian borders, and the strange gleam of unknown light smoteon his eyes, though conquered he regained his courage and in frenzy shook his ponderouschains. Almost he bore his conqueror away, back dragging him, forward bent, and forced him togive ground. Then even to my aid Alcides looked, and with our twofold strength we drew the dogalong, mad with rage and attempting fruitless war, and brought him out to earth. But when he sawthe bright light of day and viewed the clear spaces of the shining sky, black night rose over himand he turned his gaze to ground, closed tight his eyes and shut out the hated light; backward heturned his face and with all his necks sought the earth; then in the shadow of Hercules he hid hishead."OTHER VERSION ( may incorporate a bit of both)The descent of Heracles to the underworld is his twelfth and ultimate labor. Like most otherheroes of the descent, he must struggle with the forces of death, and, also like the others, herescues a fellow human being, Theseus, from these forces. 5 10 15 20 25 30 Now had come thetime for the twelfth and last of the labours that Hercules did for his master Eurystheus. This labourwould seem to anyone by far the hardest; for the hero was commanded to descend into the lowerworld, and bring back with him from the kingdom of Proserpine the terrible three-headed watch-dog Cerberus. Hercules took the dark path which before him had been trodden only by Orpheus
8. and Theseus and Pirithous. Orpheus had returned. Theseus and Pirithous, for their wickedattempt, were still imprisoned. Hercules passed the Furies, undaunted by the frightful eyesbeneath the writhing serpents of their hair. He passed the great criminals, Sisyphus, Tantalus andthe rest. He passed by his friend, the unhappy Theseus, who was sitting immovably fixed to arock, and he came at last into the terrible presence of black Pluto himself, who sat on his darkthrone with his young wife Proserpine beside him. To the King and Queen of the Dead Herculesexplained the reason of his coming. "Go," said Pluto, "and, so long as you use no weapon, butonly your bare hands, you may take my watch-dog Cerberus to the upper air." Hercules thankedthe dreadful king for giving him the-permission which he had asked. Then he made one morerequest which was that Theseus, who had sinned only by keeping his promise to his friend, mightbe allowed to return again to life. This, too, was granted him. Theseus rose to his feet again andaccompanied the hero to the entrance of hell, where the huge dog Cerberus, with his three headsand his three deep baying voices, glared savagely at the intruders. Even this tremendous animalproved no match for Hercules, who with his vice-like grip stifled the breath in two of the shaggythroats, then lifted the beast upon his shoulders and began to ascend again, Theseus followingclose behind, the path that leads to the world of men. They say that when he carried Cerberus toMycenae, Eurystheus fled in terror to another city and was now actually glad that Hercules hadcompleted what might seem to have been twelve impossible labours. Cerberus was restored tohis place in Hell and never again visited the upper world. Nor did Hercules ever go down to theplace of the dead, since, after further trials, he was destined to live among the gods above. (RexWarner, The Stories of the Greeks, pp. 101-102.)
9. CHIMERA or KHIMAIRA (Χίµαιρα)PARENTS: TYPHOEUS & EKHIDNAENCYCLOPEDIA:THE KHIMAIRA (or Chimera) was a monstrous beast which ravaged the countryside of Lykia inAnatolia. It was a composite creature, with the body and maned head of a lion, a goats headrising from its back, a set of goat-udders, and a serpentine tail.The hero Bellerophon was commanded to slay it by King Iobates. He rode into battle against thebeast on the back of the winged horse Pegasos and, driving a lead-tipped lance down theKhimairas flaming throat, suffocated it. The Khimaira may have once been identified with thewinter-rising Constellation Capricorn (the serpent-tailed goat). The constellation Pegasos appearsto drive her from the heavens in spring. Late classical writers represent the beast as a metaphorfor a Lycian volcano. CHIMAERA (Chimaira), a fire-breathing monster, which, according to the Homericpoems, was of divine origin. She was brought up by Amisodarus, king of Caria, and afterwardsmade great havoc in all the country around and among men. The fore part of her body was that ofa lion, and the hind part that of a dragon, while the middle was that of a goat. (Hom. Il. vi. 180,xvi. 328 ; comp. Ov. Met. ix. 646.) According to Hesiod (Theog. 319, &c.), she was a daughter ofTyphaon and Echidna, and had three heads, one of each of the three animals before mentioned,whence she is called trikephalos or trisômatos. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 634; Eurip. Ion, 203, &c.;Apollod. i. 9. § 3, ii. 3. § 1.) She was killed by Bellerophon, and Virgil (Aen. vi. 288) places hertogether with other monsters at the entrance of Orcus. The origin of the notion of this fire-breathing monster must probably be sought for in the volcano of the name of Chimaera nearPhaselis, in Lycia (Plin. H. N. ii. 106, v. 27; Mela. i. 15), or in the volcanic valley near the Cragus(Strab. xiv. p. 665, &c.), which is described as the scene of the events connected with theChimaera. In the works of art recently discovered in Lycia, we find several representations of theChimaera in the simple form of a species of lion still occurring in that country.MYTH:Glaucus was an excellent horseman and taught his son all he knew about horses (we shouldn’tforget that Bellerophon had in his genes, too, a passion for horses, from his real father, godPoseidon).His life was more or less normal, until he killed by accident another man (whose name differs,according to different authors. Sometimes the man who was killed is called Bellerus, which alsoexplains the origin of the name Bellerophon - to me it looks more like a nickname - that is,"Bellerus killer". Another explanation for his name is “bearing darts”.)
10. At that time, when someone comitted murder, he had to leave his city and find someone whowould purify his sin. That’s why Bellerophon left his city, Corynth, and went to Tyrins, where kingProetus purified him (I found his name also spelled Proteus). Our hero was young and valiant,that’s why Proetus’ wife, Stheneboea, fell in love with him. She made a pass at him, but herefused, so she got very angry and told her husband that Bellerophon had tried to seduce her.The king should have killed him, in order to wash away the offence, but the laws of hospitalityforbade killing a person you ate with, or else it would be a horrible offence to the gods. (The lawsof hospitality were finally something nice in those cruel times). So Proetus asked Bellerophon to deliver a letter to his father-in-law, Iobates, king ofLycia, in which he asked a big favour: to put the bearer to death. Our hero was not as shrewd asHamlet (who, in a similar situation, read the letter and replaced it with a forged one), so he neverthought of reading it. When he arrived at king Iobates’ court, he was well received and invited todinner. This created a problem for the king, when he read the letter: now he was in the sameposition as his son-in law, he couldn’t kill his guest because they had eaten together. To saynothing about this absurd situation: having in front of you someone who brings a letter whichrequests his own death. But soon he had a brilliant idea: his country was devastated by a horrible fire-breathingmonster, the Chimera. He [ordered Bellerophon to slay the Chimera, assuming that he wouldinstead be destroyed himself by the beast, since not even a quantity of men could subdue it withease, let alone one. For it was a single being that had the force of three beasts, the front part of alion, the tail of a dragon, and the third (middle) head was that of a goat, through which it breathedout fire. It despoiled the countryside and ravaged the herds. This way, Iobates could do what hisson-in-law-asked, without getting his hands dirty. Bellerophon was pleased to show what a valiant hero he was... but he needed a specialhorse for such a special enterprise. He thought the most appropriate one was Pegasus, thewinged horse. A wise man and a seer, Polyeidus (or Polyidus), told him to bring gifts to Athena’stemple and sleep there for one night. In his dream, Bellerophon saw goddess Athena whobrought him a golden bridle. When he woke up in the morning, he found the golden bridle next tohim. He took it and went to the well Pirene, where Pegasus would come and drink.The hero managed to harness the horse and to get on his back, and ever since Bellerophon and Pegasus were inseparable. So off they went to kill the Chimera. But each time the herowould shoot his arrows, the fire breath would just melt them and transform them into match sticks.So how did Bellerophon slay the Chimera? He had a brilliant idea: he attached a lump of lead tohis spear and threw it into the monster’s mouth. Chimera’s fire made the lead melt, and it wentdown its throat, killing it. You can imagine Iobates disappointment when he saw Bellerophon andPegasus come back. He still wanted to do what he had been asked, so he sent the hero to fight
11. against the enemy tribe of the Solymi. Bellerophon managed to kill them all and to come back, soIobates sent him to fight against the Amazons. Needless to say, he came back successful again.When the king saw that nothing worked, he gathered an army of Lycians and told them toambush Bellerophon. Guess what? The hero killed them all (sort of Van Damme). At his point,Iobates had to acknowledge the fact that Bellerophon was protected by the gods, so maybe hewasn’t guilty of the accusations after all. That’s why the king gave up his attempts of killing thehero and gave him in marriage his daughter, Philonoe. Later, he also showed him theincriminating letter. The hero decided to go back to Tyrins and prove his innocence. When Stheneboea sawBellerophon and Pegasus arrive, she knew she was in trouble. Some say Bellerophon took herfor a ride on Pegasus and pushed her from the horse, into the sea (but this is not a nice thing todo for a hero). Some others say she stole the winged horse and tried to flee, but Pegasus threwher into the sea. Others yet say she committed suicide when she found out that her sister wasgoing to marry Bellerophon (this time, Pegasus and Bellerophon had nothing to do with herdeath). You can imagine Iobates disappointment when he saw Bellerophon and Pegasus comeback. He still wanted to do what he had been asked, so he sent the hero to fight against theenemy tribe of the Solymi. Bellerophon managed to kill them all and to come back, so Iobatessent him to fight against the Amazons. Needless to say, he came back successful again. When the king saw that nothing worked, he gathered an army of Lycians and told them toambush Bellerophon. Guess what? The hero killed them all (sort of Van Damme). At his point,Iobates had to acknowledge the fact that Bellerophon was protected by the gods, so maybe hewasn’t guilty of the accusations after all. That’s why the king gave up his attempts of killing thehero and gave him in marriage his daughter, Philonoe. Later, he also showed him theincriminating letter. The hero decided to go back to Tyrins and prove his innocence. WhenStheneboea saw Bellerophon and Pegasus arrive, she knew she was in trouble. Some sayBellerophon took her for a ride on Pegasus and pushed her from the horse, into the sea (but thisis not a nice thing to do for a hero). Some others say she stole the winged horse and tried to flee,but Pegasus threw her into the sea. Others yet say she committed suicide when she found outthat her sister was going to marry Bellerophon (this time, Pegasus and Bellerophon had nothingto do with her death).
12. CYCLOPS (Κύκλωψ)PARENTS: OURANOS & GAIAENCYCLOPEDIA:THE ELDER KYKLOPES (or Cyclopes) were the three, orb-eyed, immortal giants who forged thelightning-bolts of Zeus. As soon as they were born, their father Ouranos (the Sky) locked themaway inside the belly of Earth, along with their stormy brothers, the Hekatonkheires. When theTitanes overthrew him, they then drove the giants into the pit of Tartaros. Zeus and his brotherseventually released them and in return they provided the god with his thunderbolt, Poseidon withhis storm-raising trident, and Haides with a helm of invisibility. Some say there were a total ofseven forging Kyklopes. The additional four, sons of the first, were slain by Apollon to avenge thedeath of his son Asklepios, who was struck down by lightning. The tribe of younger Kyklopeswhich Odysseus encountered on his travels were a different breed altogether, probably born fromthe blood of the castrated sky-god Ouranos. CYCLO′PES (Kuklôpes), that is, creatures with round or circular eyes. The tradition aboutthese beings has undergone several changes and modifications in its development in Greekmythology, though some traces of their identity remain visible throughout. According to theancient cosmogonies, the Cyclopes were the sons of Uranus and Ge; they belonged to theTitans, and were three in number, whose names were Arges, Steropes, and Brontes, and each ofthem had only one eye on his forehead. Together with the other Titans, they were cast by theirfather into Tartarus, but, instigated by their mother, they assisted Cronus in usurping thegovernment. But Cronus again threw them into Tartarus, and as Zeus released them in his waragainst Cronus and the Titans, the Cyclopes provided Zeus with thunderbolts and lightning, Plutowith a helmet, and Poseidon with a trident. (Apollod. i. 1; Hes. Theog. 503.) Henceforth theyremained the ministers of Zeus, but were afterwards killed by Apollo for having furnished Zeuswith the thunderbolts to kill Asclepius. (Apollod. iii. 10. § 4.) According to others, however, it wasnot the Cyclopes themselves that were killed, but their sons. (Schol. ad Eurip. Alcest. 1.) In the Homeric poems the Cyclopes are a gigantic, insolent, and lawless race ofshepherds, who lived in the south-western part of Sicily, and devoured human beings. Theyneglected agriculture, and the fruits of the field were reaped by them without labour. They had nolaws or political institutions, and each lived with his wives and children in a cave of a mountain,and ruled over them with arbitrary power. (Hom. Od. vi. 5, ix. 106, &c., 190, &c., 240, &c., x. 200.)Homer does not distinctly state that all of the Cyclopes were one-eyed, but Polyphemus, theprincipal among them, is described as having only one eye on his forehead. (Od. i. 69, ix. 383,
13. &c.; comp. Polyphemus.) The Homeric Cyclopes are no longer the servants of Zeus, but theydisregard him. (Od. ix. 275; comp. Virg. Aen. vi. 636 ; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 53.)A still later tradition regarded the Cyclopes as the assistants of Hephaestus. Volcanoes were theworkshops of that god, and mount Aetna in Sicily and the neighbouring isles were accordinglyconsidered as their abodes. As the assistants of Hephaestus they are no longer shepherds, butmake the metal armour and ornaments for gods and heroes; they work with such might that Sicilyand all the neighbouring islands resound with their hammering. Their number is, like that in theHomeric poems, no longer confined to three, but their residence is removed from the south-western to the eastern part of Sicily (Virg. Georg. iv. 170, Aen. viii. 433; Callim. Hymn. in Dian.56, &c.; Eurip. Cycl. 599; Val. Flacc. ii. 420.) Two of their names are the same as in thecosmogonic tradition, but new names also were invented, for we find one Cyclops bearing thename of Pyracmon, and another that of Acamas. (Calim. Hymn. in Dian. 68; Virg. Aen. viii. 425;Val. Place. i. 583.) The Cyclopes, who were regarded as skilful architects in later accounts, were a race ofmen who appear to be different from the Cyclopes whom we have considered hitherto, for theyare described as a Thracian tribe, which derived its name from a king Cyclops. They wereexpelled from their homes in Thrace, and went to the Curetes (Crete) and to Lycia. Thence theyfollowed Proetus to protect him, by the gigantic walls which they constructed, against Acrisius.The grand fortifications of Argos, Tiryns, and Mycenae, were in later times regarded as theirworks. (Apollod. ii. 1. § 2; Strab. viii. p. 373; Paus. ii. 16. § 4; Schol.ad Eurip. Orest. 953.) Suchwalls, commonly known by the name of Cyclopean walls, still exist in various parts of ancientGreece and Italy, and consist of unhewn polygones, which are sometimes 20 or 30 feet inbreadth. The story of the Cyclopes having built them seems to be a mere invention, and admitsneither of an historical nor geographical explanation. Homer, for instance, knows nothing ofCyclopean walls, and he calls Tiryns merely a polis teichioessa. (Il. ii. 559.) The Cyclopean wallswere probably constructed by an ancient race of men--perhaps the Pelasgians--who occupied thecountries in which they occur before the nations of which we have historical records; and latergenerations, being struck by their grandeur as much as ourselves, ascribed their building to afabulous race of Cyclopes.In works of art the Cyclopes are represented as sturdy men with one eye on their forehead, andthe place which in other human beings is occupied by the eyes, is marked in figures of theCyclopes by a line. According to the explanation of Plato (ap. Strab. xiii. p. 592), the Cyclopeswere beings typical of the original condition of uncivilized men ; but this explanation is notsatisfactory, and the cosmogonic Cyclopes at least must be regarded as personifications ofcertain powers manifested in nature, which is sufficiently indicated by their names.MYTH:
14. Ouranos (Sky) was the first to rule over the entire world. He married Ge (Earth) and sired first theHekatonkheires, who were names Briareos, Gyes and Kottos . . . After these he sired theKyklopes, by name Arges (Flash), Steropes (Lightning), and Brontes (Thunder), each of whomhad one eye in his forehead. For of all the children that were born of Gaia and Ouranos, thesewere the most terrible and they were hated by their own father from the first. And he used to hidethem all away in a secret place of Gaia (Earth) so soon as each was born, and would not sufferthem to come up into the light: and Ouranos rejoiced in his evil doing. Ouranos (Sky) bound theseand threw them into Tartaros, a place in Haides’ realm as dark as Erebos, and as far away fromthe earth as the earth is from the sky. Now Ge (Earth), distressed by the loss of her children intoTartaros, persuaded the Titanes to attack their father, and she gave Kronos a sickle made ofadamant. But vast Gaia (Earth) groaned within, being straitened, and she made the element ofgrey flint and shaped a great sickle, and told her plan to her dear sons the Titans. And she spoke,cheering them, while she was vexed in her dear heart : `My children, gotten of a sinful father, ifyou will obey me, we should punish the vile outrage of your father; for he first thought of doingshameful things. So she said; but fear seized them all, and none of them uttered a word. Butgreat Kronos the wily took courage and answered his dear mother : `Mother, I will undertake to dothis deed, for I reverence not our father of evil name, for he first thought of doing shameful things. So he said : and vast Gaia rejoiced greatly in spirit, and set and hid him in an ambush,and put in his hands a jagged sickle, and revealed to him the whole plot " So all of them exceptOkeanos set upon Ouranos (Sky), and Kronos cut off his genitals, tossing them into the sea . . .Thus having overthrown Ouranos’ rule the Titanes retrieved their brothers from Tartaros and gavethe power to Kronos. But Kronos once again bound the Kyklopes and confined them in Tartaros."Cronus then placed them back in Tartarus, where they remained, guarded by the female dragonCampe, until freed by Zeus. They fashioned thunderbolts for Zeus to use as weapons, andhelped him overthrow Cronus and the other Titans. The thunderbolts, which became Zeus mainweapons, were forged by all three Cyclopes, in that Arges added brightness, Brontes addedthunder, and Steropes added lightning. These Cyclopes also created Poseidons trident, Artemisbow and arrows of moonlight, Apollos bow and arrows of sun rays, and the helmet of darknessthat Hades gave to Perseus on his quest to kill Medusa. According to a hymn of Callimachus,they were Hephaestus helpers at the forge. The Cyclopes were said to have built the "cyclopean"fortifications at Tiryns and Mycenae in the Peloponnese. The noises proceeding from the heart ofvolcanoes were attributed to their operations. Apollo slew the Cyclopes in revenge when Zeus killed his son, Asclepius, with aCyclopes-forged thunderbolt.
15. LERNAEAN HYDRA (Λερναία Ὕδρα)PARENTS: TYPHOEUS & EKHIDNAENCYCLOPEDIA:HYDRA LERNAIA was a gigantic, nine-headed water-serpent, which haunted the swamps ofLerna. Herakles was sent to destroy her as one of his twelve labours, but for each of her headsthat he decapitated, two more sprang forth. So with the help of Iolaos, he applied burning brandsto the severed stumps, cauterizing the wounds and preventing regeneration. In the battle he alsocrushed a giant crab beneath his heel which had come to assist Hydra. The Hydra and the Crabwere afterwards placed amongst the stars by Hera as the Constellations Hydra and Cancer. Thismonster, like the lion, was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, and was brought up by Hera. Itravaged the country of Lernae near Argos, and dwelt in a swamp near the well of Amymone: itwas formidable by its nine heads, the middle of which was immortal. Heracles, with burningarrows, hunted up the monster, and with his club or a sickle he cut off its heads; but in the placeof the head he cut off, two new ones grew forth each time, and a gigantic crab came to theassistance of the hydra, and wounded Heracles. However, with the assistance of his faithfulservant Iolaus, he burned away the heads of the hydra, and buried the ninth or immortal oneunder a huge rock. Having thus conquered the monster, he poisoned his arrows with its bile,whence the wounds inflicted by them became incurable. Eurystheus declared the victoryunlawful, as Heracles had won it with the aid of Iolaus. (Hes. Theog. 313, &c.; Apollod. ii. 5. § 2;Diod. iv. 11; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 419, 1188, Ion, 192; Ov. Met. ix. 70; Virg. Aen. viii. 300; Paus. ii. 36.§ 6, 37. § 4, v. 5. § 5; Hygin. Fab. 30.)THE NEMEAN LION (Λέων της Νεµέας)PARENTS: ORTHROS & KHIMAIRAENCYCLOPEDIA:THE LEON NEMEIOS (or Nemean lion) was a large lion, whose hide was impervious toweapons, which plagued the district of Nemea in the Argolis. King Eurystheus commandedHerakles to destroy the beast as the first of his twelve Labours. The hero cornered the lion in itscave and seizing it by the neck wrestled it to death. He then skinned its hide to make a lion-skincape, one of his most distinctive attributes. Hera afterwards placed the lion amongst the stars asthe constellation Leo. NEMEAN LION. The mountain valley of Nemea, between Cleonae andPhlius, was inhabited by a lion, the offspring of Typhon (or Orthrus) and Echidna. (Hes. Theog.
16. 327; Apollod. ii. 5. § 1; comp. Aelian, H. A. xii. 7, Serv. ad Aen. viii. 295.) Eurystheus orderedHeracles to bring him the skin of this monster. When Heracles arrived at Cleonae, he washospitably received by a poor man called Molorchus. This man was on the point of offering up asacrifice, but Heracles persuaded him to delay it for thirty days until he should return from his fightwith the lion, in order that then they might together offer sacrifices to Zeus Soter; but Heraclesadded, that if he himself should not return, the man should offer a sacrifice to him as a hero. Thethirty days passed away, and as Heracles did not return, Molorchus made preparations for theheroic sacrifice; but at that moment Heracles arrived in triumph over the monster, which wasslain, and both sacrificed to Zeus Soter. Heracles, after having in vain used his club and arrowsagainst the lion, had blocked up one of the entrances to the den, and entering by the other, hestrangled the animal with his own hands. According to Theocritus (xxv. 251, &c.), the contest didnot take place in the den, but in the open air, and Heracles is said to have lost a finger in thetru=ggle. (Ptolem. Heph. 2.) He returned to Eurystheus carrying the dead lion on his shoulders;and Eurystheus, frightened at tile gigantic strength of the hero, took to flight, and ordered him infuture to deliver the account of his exploits outside the gates of the town. (Diod. iv. 11; Apollod.,Theocrit. ll. cc..)MYTH:The story of the twelve labors of Heracles is one of the worlds most famous symbolic records ofthe trials and glories of adult life. Here the hero travels to all corners of the earth in search of thetasks which will "make his name." Before he was eighteen he had done many famous deeds inthe country of Thebes, and Creon, the king, gave him his daughter in marriage. But he could notlong escape the anger of Juno, who afflicted him with a sudden madness, so that he did not knowwhat he was doing and in a fit of frenzy killed both his wife and his children. When he came to hissenses, in horror and shame at what he had done, he visited the great cliffs of Delphi, where theeagles circle all day and where Apollos oracle is. There he asked how he could be purified of hissin and he was told by the oracle that he must go to Mycenae and for twelve years obey all thecommands of the cowardly king Eurystheus, his kinsman. It seemed a hard and cruel sentence,but the oracle told him also, that at the end of many labours he would be received among thegods. Hercules therefore departed to the rocky citadel of Mycenae that looks down upon the bluewater of the bay of Argos. He was skilled in the use of every weapon, having been educated, likeJason was, by the wise centaur Chiron. He was tall and immensely powerful. When Eurystheussaw him he was both terrified of him and jealous of his great powers. He began to devise laboursthat would seem impossible, yet Hercules accomplished them all. First he was ordered to destroyand to bring back to Mycenae the lion of Nemea which for long had ravaged all the countryside tothe north. Hercules took his bow and arrows, and, in the forest of Nemea, cut himself a greatclub, so heavy that a man nowadays could hardly lift it. This club he carried ever afterwards as
17. his chief weapon. He found that his arrows had no effect on the tough skin of the lion, but, as thebeast sprang at him, he half-stunned it with his club, then closing in with it, he seized it by thethroat and killed it with his bare hands. They say that when he carried back on his shoulders toMycenae the body of the huge beast, Eurystheus fled in terror and ordered Hercules never againto enter the gates of the city, but to wait outside until he was told to come in. Eurystheus also builtfor himself a special strong room of brass into which he would retire if he was ever againfrightened by the power and valiance of Hercules. Hercules himself took the skin of the lion and made it into a cloak which he wore everafterwards, sometimes with the lions head covering his own head like a cap, sometimes with itslung backwards over his shoulders. The next task given to Hercules by Eurystheus was todestroy a huge water snake, called the Hydra, which lived in the marshes of Argos, was filled withpoison and had fifty venomous heads. Hercules, with his friend and companion, the young Iolaus,set out from Mycenae and came to the great cavern, sacred to Pan, which is a holy place in thehills near Argos. Below this cavern a river gushes out of the rock. Willows and plane-treessurround the source and the brilliant green of grass. It is the freshest and most delightful place.But, as the river flows downwards to the sea, it becomes wide and shallow, extending intopestilential marshes, the home of stinging flies and mosquitoes. In these marshes they found theHydra, and Hercules, with his great club, began to crush the beasts heads, afterwards cuttingthem off with his sword. Yet the more he laboured, the more difficult his task became. From thestump of each head that he cut off two other heads, with forked and hissing tongues, immediatelysprang. Faced with an endless and increasing effort, Hercules was at a loss what to do. Itseemed to him that heat might prove more powerful than cold steel, and he commanded Iolaus toburn the root of each head with a red-hot iron immediately it was severed from the neck. Thisplan was successful. The heads no longer sprouted up again, and soon the dangerous anddestructive animal lay dead, though still writhing in the black marsh water among the reeds.Hercules cut its body open and dipped his arrows in the blood. Henceforward these arrows wouldbring certain death, even if they only grazed the skin, so powerful was the Hydras poison.Eurystheus next ordered Hercules to capture and bring back alive a stag, sacred to Diana andfamous for its great fleetness of foot, which lived in the waste mountains and forests, and neveryet had been approached in the chase. For a whole year Hercules pursued this animal, resting forthe hours of darkness and pressing on next day in its tracks. For many months he was whollyoutdistanced; valleys and forests divided him from his prey. But at the end of the year the stag,weary of the long hunt, could run no longer. Hercules seized it in his strong hands, tied first itsforelegs and then its hind legs together, put the body of the beast, with its drooping antleredhead, over his neck, and proceeded to return to the palace of King Eurystheus. However, as hewas on his way through the woods, he was suddenly aware of a bright light in front of him, and inthe middle of the light he saw standing a tall woman or, as he immediately recognized, a
18. goddess, grasping in her hands a bow and staring at him angrily with her shining eyes. He knewat once that this was the archer goddess Diana, she who had once turned Actaeon into a stagand who now was enraged at the loss of this other stag which was sacred to her. Hercules put hisprey on the ground and knelt before the goddess. "It was through no desire of my own," he said,"that I have captured this noble animal. What I do is done at the command of my father Jupiterand of the oracle of your brother Apollo at Delphi." The goddess listened to his explanation,smiled kindly on him and allowed him to go on his way, when he had promised that, once the staghad been carried to Eurystheus, it would be set free again in the forests that it loved. So Hercules accomplished this third labour. He was not, however, to be allowed to rest.Eurystheus now commanded him to go out to the mountains of Erymanthus and bring back thegreat wild boar that for long had terrorized all the neighbourhood. So Hercules set out once moreand on his way he passed the country where the centaurs had settled after they had been drivendown from the north in the battle that had taken place with the Lapiths at the wedding of Pirithous.In this battle they had already had experience of the heros strength, but still their manners wererude and rough. When the centaur Pholus offered Hercules some of the best wine to drink, theother centaurs became jealous. Angry words led to blows, and soon Hercules was forced todefend himself with his club and with his arrows, the poison of which not only caused death, butalso the most extreme pain. Soon he scattered his enemies in all directions, driving them over theplains and rocks. Some he dashed to the ground with his club; others, wounded by the poisoned,arrows, lay writhing in agony, or kicking their hooves in the air. Some took refuge in the house ofthe famous centaur Chiron, who had been schoolmaster to Hercules and who, alone among thecentaurs, was immortal. As he pursued his enemies to this good centaurs house, shootingarrows at them as he went, Hercules, by an unhappy accident, wounded Chiron himself. Whetherit was because of grief that his old pupil had so injured him, or whether it was because of thegreat pain of the wound, Chiron prayed to Jupiter that his immortality should be taken away fromhim. Jupiter granted his prayer. The good centaur died, but he was set in Heaven in aconstellation of stars which is still called either Sagittarius or else The Centaur. Hercules mournedthe sad death of his old master. Then he went on to Erymanthus. It was winter and he chased thegreat boar up to the deep snow in the passes of the mountains. The animals short legs soongrew weary of ploughing through the stiff snow and Hercules caught it up when it was exhaustedand panting in a snowdrift. He bound it firmly and slung the great body over his back. They saythat when he brought it to Mycenae, Eurystheus was so frightened at the sight of the huge tusksand flashing eyes that he hid for two days in the brass hiding place that he had had built for him.The next task that Hercules was ordered to do would have seemed to anyone impossible. Therewas a king of Elis called Augeas, very rich in herds of goats and cattle. His stables, they say, heldthree thousand oxen and for ten years these stables had never been cleaned. The dung andmuck stood higher than a house, hardened and caked together. The smell was such that even
19. the herdsmen, who were used to it, could scarcely bear to go near. Hercules was now ordered toclean these stables, and, going to Elis, he first asked the king to promise him the tenth part of hisherds if he was successful in his task. The king readily agreed, and Hercules made the great riverAlpheus change his course and come foaming and roaring through the filthy stables. In less thana day all the dirt was cleared and rolled away to the sea. The river then went back to its formercourse and, for the first time in ten years, the stone floors and walls of the enormous stablesshone white and clean. Hercules then asked for his reward, but King Augeas, claiming that hehad performed the task not with his own hands, but by a trick, refused to give it to him. He evenbanished his own son who took the side of Hercules. and reproached his father for not keepinghis promise. Hercules then made war on the kingdom of Elis, drove King Augeas out and put hisson on the throne. Then, with his rich reward, he returned to Mycenae, ready to undertakewhatever new task was given him by Eurystheus. Again he was ordered to destroy creatures thatwere harmful to men. This time they were great birds, like cranes or storks, but much morepowerful, which devoured human flesh and lived around the black waters of the Stymphalian lake.In the reeds and rocky crags they lived in huge numbers and Hercules was at a loss how to drawthem from their hiding places. It was the goddess Minerva who helped him by giving him a greatrattle of brass. The noise of this rattle drove the great birds into the air in throngs. Herculespursued them with his arrows, which rang upon their horny beaks and legs but stuck firm in thebodies that tumbled one after the other into the lake. The whole brood of these monsters wasentirely destroyed and now only ducks and harmless water-fowl nest along the reedy shores.Hercules had now accomplished six of his labours. Six more remained. After the killing of theStymphalian birds he was commanded to go to Crete and bring back from there alive a huge bullwhich was laying the whole island waste. Bare-handed and alone he grappled with this bull, and,once again, when he brought the animal back into the streets of Mycenae, Eurystheus fled interror at the sight both of the hero and of the great beast which he had captured. From thesouthern sea Hercules was sent to the north to Thrace, over which ruled King Diomedes, a strongand warlike prince who savagely fed his famous mares on human flesh. Hercules conquered theking in battle and gave his body to the very mares which had so often fed upon the bodies of thekings enemies. He brought the mares back to King Eurystheus, who again was terrified at thesight of such fierce and spirited animals. He ordered them to be taken to the heights of MountOlympus and there be consecrated to Jupiter. But Jupiter had no love for these unnaturalcreatures, and, on the rocky hillsides, they were devoured by lions, wolves, and bears. NextHercules was commanded to go to the country of the Amazons, the fierce warrior women, andbring back the girdle of their queen Hippolyte. Seas and mountains had to be crossed, battles tobe fought; but Hercules in the end accomplished the long journey and the dangerous task. Later,as is well known, Hippolyte became the wife of Theseus of Athens and bore him an ill-fated son,Hippolytus. Hercules had now travelled in the south, the north and the east. His tenth labour was
20. to be in the far west, beyond the country of Spain, in an island called Erythia. Here lived the giantGeryon, a great monster with three bodies and three heads. With his herdsman, and his two-headed dog, called Orthrus, he looked after huge flocks of oxen, and, at the command ofEurystheus, Hercules came into his land to lift the cattle and to destroy the giant. On his way, atthe very entrance to the Atlantic he set up two great marks, ever afterwards to be known bysailors and called the Pillars of Hercules. Later, as he wandered through rocks and over desertland, he turned his anger against the Sun itself, shooting his arrows at the great god PhoebusApollo. But Phoebus pitied him in his thirst and weariness. He sent him a golden boat, and in thisboat Hercules crossed over to the island of Erythia. Here he easily destroyed both watchdog andherdsman, but fought for long with the great three-bodied giant before he slew him, body afterbody. Then he began to drive the cattle over rivers and mountains and deserts from Spain toGreece. As he was passing through Italy he came near the cave where Cacus, a son of Vulcan,who breathed fire out of his mouth, lived solitary and cruel, since he killed all strangers and nailedtheir heads, dripping with blood, to the posts at the entrance of his rocky dwelling. While Herculeswas resting, with the herds all round him, Cacus came out of his cave and stole eight of the bestanimals of the whole herd. He dragged them backwards by their tails, so that Hercules should notbe able to track them down. When Hercules awoke from his rest, he searched far and wide forthe missing animals, but, since they had been driven into the deep recesses of Cacuss cave, hewas unable to find them. In the end he began to go on his way with the rest of the herd, and, asthe stolen animals heard the lowing of the other cattle, they too began to low and bellow in theirrocky prison. Hercules stopped still, and soon out of the cave came the fire-breathing giant,prepared to defend the fruits of his robbery and anxious to hang the head of Hercules among hisother disgusting trophies. This, however, was not to be. The huge limbs and terrible breath ofCacus were of no avail against the heros strength and fortitude. Soon, with a tremendous blow ofhis club, he stretched out Cacus dead on the ground. Then he drove the great herd on overmountains and plains, through forests and rivers to Mycenae. Hercules next labour again tookhim to the far west. He was commanded by Eurystheus to fetch him some of the golden apples ofthe Hesperides. These apples grew in a garden west even of the land of Atlas. Here the sunshines continually, but always cool well-watered trees of every kind give shade. All flowers andfruits that grow on earth grow here, and fruit and flowers are always on the boughs together. Inthe centre of the garden is the orchard where golden apples gleam among the shining greenleaves and the flushed blossom. Three nymphs, the Hesperides, look after this orchard, whichwas given by Jupiter to Juno as a wedding present. It is guarded also by a great dragon thatnever sleeps, and coils its huge folds around the trees. No one except the gods knows exactlywhere this beautiful and remote garden is, and it was to this unknown place that Hercules wassent. He was helped by Minerva and by the nymphs of the broad river Po in Italy. These nymphs
21. told Hercules where to find Nereus, the ancient god of the sea, who knew the past, the presentand the future. "Wait for him," they said, "until you find him asleep on the rocky shore, surroundedby his fifty daughters. Seize hold of him tightly and do not let go until he answers your question.He will, in trying to escape you, put on all kinds of shapes. He will turn to fire, to water, to a wildbeast or to a serpent. You must not lose your courage, but hold him all the tighter, and, in theend, he will come back to his own shape and will tell you what you want to know." Herculesfollowed their advice. As he watched along the sea gods shore god Phoebus Apollo. ButPhoebus pitied him in his thirst and weariness. He sent him a golden boat, and in this boatHercules crossed over to the island of Erythia. Here he easily destroyed both watchdog andherdsman, but fought for long with the great three-bodied giant before he slew him, body afterbody. Then he began to drive the cattle over rivers and mountains and deserts from Spain toGreece. As he was passing through Italy he came near the cave where Cacus, a son of Vulcan,who breathed fire out of his mouth, lived solitary and cruel, since he killed all strangers and nailedtheir heads, dripping with blood, to the posts at the entrance of his rocky dwelling. While Herculeswas resting, with the herds all round him, Cacus came out of his cave and stole eight of the bestanimals of the whole herd. He dragged them backwards by their tails, so that Hercules should notbe able to track them down. When Hercules awoke from his rest, he searched far and wide forthe missing animals, but, since they had been driven into the deep recesses of Cacuss cave, hewas unable to find them. In the end he began to go on his way with the rest of the herd, and, asthe stolen animals heard the lowing of the other cattle, they too began to low and bellow in theirrocky prison. Hercules stopped still, and soon out of the cave came the fire-breathing giant,prepared to defend the fruits of his robbery and anxious to hang the head of Hercules among hisother disgusting trophies. This, however, was not to be. The huge limbs and terrible breath ofCacus were of no avail against the heros strength and fortitude. Soon, with a tremendous blow ofhis club, he stretched out Cacus dead on the ground. Then he drove the great herd on overmountains and plains, through forests and rivers to Mycenae. Hercules next labour again tookhim to the far west. He was commanded by Eurystheus to fetch him some of the golden apples ofthe Hesperides. These apples grew in a garden west even of the land of Atlas. Here the sunshines continually, but always cool well-watered trees of every kind give shade. All flowers andfruits that grow on earth grow here, and fruit and flowers are always on the boughs together. Inthe centre of the garden is the orchard where golden apples gleam among the shining greenleaves and the flushed blossom. Three nymphs, the Hesperides, look after this orchard, whichwas given by Jupiter to Juno as a wedding present. It is guarded also by a great dragon thatnever sleeps, and coils its huge folds around the trees. No one except the gods knows exactlywhere this beautiful and remote garden is, and it was to this unknown place that Hercules wassent. He was helped by Minerva and by the nymphs of the broad river Po in Italy. These nymphstold Hercules where to find Nereus, the ancient god of the sea, who knew the past, the present
22. and the future. "Wait for him," they said, "until you find him asleep on the rocky shore, surroundedby his fifty daughters. Seize hold of him tightly and do not let go until he answers your question.He will, in trying to escape you, put on all kinds of shapes. He will turn to fire, to water, to a wildbeast or to a serpent. You must not lose your courage, but hold him all the tighter, and, in theend, he will come back to his own shape and will tell you what you want to know." Herculesfollowed their advice. As he watched along the sea gods shore.MEDUSA (Μέδουσα)PARENTS: PHORKYS & KETOENCYCLOPEDIA:GORGO and GO′RGONES (Gorgô and Gorgones). Homer knows only one Gorgo, who,according to the Odyssey (xi. 633), was one of the frightful phantoms in Hades: in the Iliad (v.741, viii. 349, xi. 36; comp. Virg. Aen. vi. 289), the Aegis of Athena contains the head of Gorgo,the terror of her enemies. Euripides (Ion, 989) still speaks of only one Gorgo, although Hesiod(Theog. 278) had mentioned three Gorgones, the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, whence theyare sometimes called Phorcydes or Phorcides. (Aeschyl. Prom. 793, 797; Pind. Pyth. xii. 24; Ov.Met. v. 230.) The names of the three Gorgones are Stheino (Stheno or Stenusa), Euryale, andMedusa (Hes. l. c.; Apollod. ii. 4. § 2), and they are conceived by Hesiod to live in the WesternOcean, in the neighbourhood of Night and the Hesperides. But later traditions place them inLibya. (Herod. ii. 91; Paus. ii. 21. § 6.) They are described (Scut. Here. 233) as girded withserpents, raising their heads, vibrating their tongues, and gnashing their teeth; Aeschylus (Prom.794. &c., Choëph. 1050) adds that they had wings and brazen claws, and enormous teeth. Onthe chest of Cypselus they were likewise represented with wings. (Paus. v. 18. § 1.) Medusa, whoalone of her sisters was mortal, was, according to some legends, at first a beautiful maiden, buther hair was changed into serpents by Athena, in consequence of her having become byPoseidon the mother of Chrysaor and Pegasus, in one of Athenas temples. (Hes. Theog. 287,&c.; Apollod. ii. 4. § 3; Ov. Met. iv. 792; comp. Perseus.) Her head was now of so fearful anappearance, that every one who looked at it was changed into stone. Hence the great difficultywhich Perseus had in killing her; and Athena afterwards placed the head in the centre of hershield or breastplate. There was a tradition at Athens that the head of Medusa was buried undera mound in the Agora. (Paus. ii. 21. § 6, v. 12. § 2.) Athena gave to Heracles a lock of Medusa(concealed in an urn), for it had a similar effect upon the beholder as the head itself. WhenHeracles went out against Lacedaemon he gave the lock of hair to Sterope, the daughter ofCepheus, as a protection of the town of Tegea, as the sight of it would put the enemy to fight.(Paus. viii. 47. § 4; Apollod. ii. 7. § 3.)
23. The mythus respecting the family of Phorcys, to which also the Graeae, Hesperides, Scylla, andother fabulous beings belonged, has been interpreted in various ways by the ancientsthemselves. Some believed that the Gorgones were formidable animals with long hair, whoseaspect was so frightful, that men were paralysed or killed by it, and some of the soldiers of Mariuswere believed to have thus met with their death (Athen. v. 64). Pliny (H. N. iv. 31) thought thatthey were a race of savage, swift, and hair-covered women; and Diodorus (iii. 55) regards themas a race of women inhabiting the western parts of Libya, who had been extirpated by Heracles intraversing Libya.MYTH:The three Gorgon sisters were daughters of ancient Sea Gods, Ceto and Phorcys. Two, Sthenoand Eluryah were immortal, but the third, Medusa was not. She had been a female of absolutebeauty, mostly her long, silky hair. She bragged at being more beautiful than the GoddessAthena, and one day, while in her temple, she was ravished by the Sea God Poseidon. Athenawas outraged by this and turned Medusa into the Gorgon she became famous for being. Sheturned her beautiful hair into snakes and let it be that she could no longer see the handsome menwho came to court her, as they would instantly be turned to stone if they looked into her eyes.PERSEUS AND MEDUSAArgos, the oldest city in Greece, was founded by Danaus, who came from Egypt. The inhabitants,his descendants, were called the Danaids. The next ruler was his nephew and son-in-law,Lynceus, followed by Lynceuss son Abas. Abas, in turn, had twin sons, Acrisius and Proetus.These two, like the biblical brothers Jacob and Esau, quarreled with each other while still in thewomb. When they grew up, they fought each other for the kingdom of Argos, and in the course ofthis war they invented shields. Acrisius ultimately won, driving Proetus from the city. Proetus laterbecame king of Tiryns, and the two brothers divided the Argolid plain between them. Acrisius hada daughter named Danae (the name probably means "woman of the Danaans"), but he wantedsons to continue his royal line. He asked an oracle how he could get sons, but he was given theunexpected message that his daughter would beget a son who would in time kill him. As alwaysin such myths, Acrisius strove against this grim fate. His first attempt was to see that Danae neverhad a son. He shut her up in an underground bronze chamber, so that she would not evenencounter any men. This plan did not, of course, succeed. According to some, Proetus somehowmanaged to seduce her. According to the more fanciful and popular form of the story, Zeus cameto her in the form of a shower of gold, slipping easily through the gaps in her bronze cell. Findinghis daughter with child, but not wishing to kill her directly, Acrisius shut her and her newborn childinto a chest and cast it into the sea. A surviving fragment from a poem by Simonides of Keos(556-467 B.C.E.), usually called "The Lament of Danae," has the chest-borne Danae speaking to
24. the infant Perseus and asking Zeus for help. Danae and Perseus drifted out of the Bay of Argosand into the open Mediterranean. They were driven toward the island of Seriphos, one of thewesternmost of the scattered islands called the Cyclades, about a hundred miles to the southeastof Argos. None of the Cyclades is large. Seriphos itself encompasses only about thirty squaremiles and today has a population of eleven hundred people, a third of whom live in the main city,also named Seriphos. The name means "denuded,". which is appropriate, since, like the rest ofthe Cyclades, it is a bare and barren rock. The inhabitants today live by the tourist industry. Inclassical times they lived by fishing, or by scratching out iron ore from the veins in the island. Thechest was pulled from the sea by Diktys, a fisherman whose name appropriately means "net."Danae and Diktys discovered that they were distantly related, and so Perseus and Danae stayedwith the fisherman, and Perseus grew up in his house. Now Diktys was brother to the king,Polydektes. This might seem like one of those fortuitous and unlikely coincidences that pop up inlegend, but on an island as small as Seriphos it is probable that the relatives of the king wereindeed fishermen. In this case the relationship was to prove a problem, because the king sawDanae and fell in love with her. One assumes that this affection was not returned (perhapsbecause the family ties between them made it inappropriate), but Polydektes was determined tohave Danae. What stood in his way was Perseus, who had now grown to manhood andapparently opposed Polydektes (although this is nowhere stated). Polydektes called togethermany friends, including Perseus. Everyone was to bring a gift. "What sort of gift?" asked Perseus."A horse," replied Polydektes. "The Gorgons head," retorted Perseus. It was a fateful reply,because Polydektes saw in it his chance to eliminate Perseus. When all the guests (includingPerseus) brought horses, Polydektes would not accept those of Perseus. Instead he held theyoung man to his word and insisted upon the head of the Gorgon. There never seems to havebeen any question that Perseus could substitute something else for the head, or not appear at thegathering at all. This, apparently, was a matter of honor, and Perseus would have to succeed inbringing back the head of the Gorgon or die in the attempt. 1 Perseus now lamented his fate,because the Gorgon was a deadly creature, and he would likely die in an expedition to separateone from its head. He went off by himself to the far side of the island. Here the god Hermesappeared to him and asked why he was so sad. After hearing the story, he told Perseus not toworry. Under the direction of Hermes and the goddess Athena, Perseus began his quest by firstmaking an expedition to visit the Graiae. The Graiae were three sisters named Enyo, Pemphredo,and Dino. They were the daughters of Ketos the sea monster and Phorkys, the Old Man of theSea (and were therefore called the Phorkides). They had the forms of old women (although thepoet Pindar calls them "swanlike") and had only one eye and one tooth among them. Theypassed these around from one to another, so that each could use them in turn. Perseus managedto sneak into their midst, where he waited until one removed the eye and the tooth, thenintercepted them as they were to pass from one hand to another. As soon as the Graiae realized
25. what had happened, they cried aloud and begged for him to return the precious objects. Perseussaid that he would on condition that the Graiae direct him to the Nymphs. The Graiae, over ametaphorical barrel, told Perseus what he wanted to know. In some later sources, he still doesntreturn the eye and tooth but throws them down into Lake Tritonis, an African lake near theMediterranean. The Nymphs had the magical devices he would need to defeat the Gorgon. Fromthem he received winged sandals that enabled him to fly. They also gave him the cap of Hades,the ruler of the underworld, which would make him invisible. Finally, there was the kibisis. Thislast gift was apparently a bag of some kind, into which Perseus was to place the Gorgons head.2 The word is not Greek and must have puzzled readers. In Apollodorus there is a note that lookssuspiciously like one of those marginal scholia, explaining the word as derived from KeioGai andeoOfji;, since food and clothes were kept in the bag. Its a bad case of guessing at etymology,and the origin of the word is still not known. In translations, kibisis is almost always rendered as"wallet," a translation I find unacceptable. Whatever meanings "wallet" may have had for SirJames George Frazier (who translated Apollodorus in 1921), to a late-twentieth-century Americanit conjures up an image of Perseus cramming Medusas head in among his tens and twenties. InApollodorus we find Hermes also contributing a gift of a harpe, a sickleshaped sword. This is thetraditional weapon of Perseus, and he is more often shown using a curved weapon than he is astraight sword to decapitate the monster. Thus formidably armed (or overarmed), Perseus soughtout the Gorgons. These monsters lived on the shore of Ocean, which was seen as the great,world-encircling salt stream. This means that their actual location is somewhat hazily defined.Other writers have placed them to the north, the east, or the west. One said they lived on anisland called Sarpedon. Pherekydes did not describe the Gorgons, but Apollodorus did, taking hisinformation from the very old fragment of "The Shield of Hercules." There were three Gorgons,named Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa. They were the daughters of Ketos and Phorkys, as werethe Graiae, making the two sets of monstrous triplets sisters. Of the Gorgons, only Medusa wasmortal. No reason is ever given for this odd fact. The Gorgons had scaly heads, boars tusks,brazen hands, and wings. They had protruding tongues, glaring eyes, and serpents wrappedaround their waists as belts. All of this agrees with depictions of the Gorgon in Greek art (see thenext chapter). Note that the description does not include snakes in the hair, or snakes in place ofhair. What we take as the defining feature of Medusas appearance didnt enter the story untilmuch later, making its literary debut in Ovids Metamorphoses. The appearance of the Gorgonswas so awful that anyone who looked on them was turned into stone, so Perseus was warned bythe gods to look at them only in a mirror (Apollodorus states quite definitely that the mirrorPerseus used was his highly polished shield). For some reason, viewing a Gorgon in the mirrorattenuated her petrifying power. Fighting three monsters while looking in a mirror would be adaunting task, indeed. Fortunately, all the Gorgons were asleep when Perseus flew down towardthem. Somehow he identified Medusa among the three and used his mirror to view her head as
26. he swiped it off with his harpe. Apollodorus says that, even so, Athena guided his hand. WhenPerseus cut off the head a peculiar thing happened: Medusas two children were born from herneck. These were Chrysaor, the warrior with the golden sword, and Pegasus, the flying horse.The incident appears in the ancient and venerable Theogeny of Hesiod, so Apollodorus dutifullyincluded it in his own account, but almost no one else recounts the scene. It is rarely depicted inart, probably because it is so clumsy an image. According to Hesiod, the father of Medusaschildren was "the dark-haired one" (Poseidon, god of the sea and earthquakes). Pegasus went onto roles as the bearer of Zeuss lightning and as the steed who bore Bellerophon in his adventurewith the Chimera. Chrysaor, however, played no large part in mythology. He married Callirhoe,Oceans daughter, and by her had the monstrous Geryones, who had three heads each. (Tripletsapparently ran in the family.) According to another, no doubt very confused, account, Geryoneshad one head and three bodies. Awakened by the noise and commotion of Medusas death,Stheno and Euryale, the surviving Gorgon sisters, attacked Perseus. But he put on the cap ofHades and, becoming invisible, was able to escape. The next part of the story is not in thesurviving portion of Pherekydes (or in the works of some who copy him) but is referred to in manyold sources, including the Histories of Herodotus. As usual, Apollodorus gathered the importantparts into his narrative. Perseus was flying back to Seriphos on his magical sandals and waspassing over Ethiopia (the part of Africa along the coast of the Red Sea south of Egypt, notnecessarily the modern country of that name; later accounts set the following events in Joppa, onthe coast of present-day Israel) when he saw Andromeda chained to a rock as a sacrifice to thesea monster, Ketos. Andromeda was the daughter of Kepheos, the king of Ethiopia, andCassiepeia (or Cassiopeia), the queen. Cassiepeia had insulted Poseidon by boasting that herbeauty was greater than that of the Nereids, the daughters of the sea god. In his wrath, Poseidonthreatened to send a flood to devastate the city and to follow this with a visit from the seamonster. Ammon, a priest, announced that the disaster could be avoided if the princessAndromeda were chained to a rock as a sacrifice to the monster. This her parents reluctantly did.Perseus fell in love with Andromeda as soon as he saw her. He promised Cepheos that he wouldkill the sea monster, if he could have Andromeda as his wife. Cepheos agreed, and Perseuspromptly killed Ketos. One would think that the obvious way to do this would be to expose theGorgons head to the sea monster, since Perseus had it with him in the kibisis. In later versions ofthe story, that is just what he does, and the petrified monster becomes a rock in the harbor. But inolder versions he kills the monster in more mundane fashion (if killing a monster can ever be saidto be mundane). In the oldest surviving depiction, for instance, he is shown throwing rocks atKetos. Now, however, a new crisis developed. Phineus, to whom Andromeda had originally beenbetrothed, opposed her engagement to Perseus and raised an army against his rival. In someaccounts, Cepheos and Cassiepeia support Phineus against Perseus. (In Hyginus, the competingsuitor is named Agenor.) This time, Perseus did defeat his attackers by using the Gorgons head,
27. petrifying the lot. Perseus returned to Seriphos with Andromeda. There he found Danae andDiktys at the temple, where they had taken sanctuary against the advances of Polydektes and hisforces. Once again, Perseus used the head of Medusa against his enemies, and Polydektes andhis men were turned to stone. Afterward, Perseus left Diktys as king of Seriphos and returned toArgos with Danae and Andromeda. Acrisius fled when he learned of Perseuss return. He cameto Larissa, an important city in Thessaly, lying near the bases of Mount Olympus and MountOssa. (Larissa was also the name of the acropolis at Corinth, which might be the site intended.)The old king there had died, and his son, the new king Teutamides, was holding the athleticfuneral games. Perseus, who came to attend and to take part in the games, came upon Acrisiusthere. As Perseus was participating in the pentathlon, his thrown discus struck Acrisius on thefoot, killing him. Perseus was shamed by the death and did not wish to rule over a city becausehe had killed the former ruler. He arranged to trade dominions with Megapenthes, his cousin andthe ruler of Tiryns. And thus Perseus became ruler of the fortified city of Tiryns. He andAndromeda had the sons Alcaeus, Sthenelus, Heleus, Mestor, and Electryon and a daughternamed Gorgonphone. An earlier son, Perses, remained with Kepheos and eventually became theeponymous founder of Persia (according to Herodotus). The name of Perseuss daughter isinteresting, because Gorgophone means "Gorgon-slayer." It is also the name of Perseuss aunt,the mother of Megapenthes (and a peculiar name it is since, by this canonical myth, no Gorgonhad yet been slain when that grand old lady was named). Perseus returned his magical gifts ofcap, sandals, and kibisis to the gods, who returned them to the Nymphs. He gave the head ofMedusa to Athena, who placed it on her shield. This is the basic myth of Perseus, Medusa, andAndromeda. There are minor variations among many of the versions, but this form agrees in mostparticulars with references to the story in other places and with depictions of the story in vasepaintings, wall paintings, and sculpture. Before we go further, Id like to make a few observationshere. Apollodoruss version is the work of a compulsive completist trying to set down all the factshe has at hand. It is likely that this version is actually too complete. Hesiod, for example, tells thestory of the birth of Chrysaor and Pegasus from Medusas severed neck, but nothing of the rest ofthe tale. Pherekydes tells the bulk of the story, but omits this monstrous birth. It is probable thatApollodorus joined the accounts together himself, creating a version that contained all the strandsfrom past accounts but that had not previously existed as a single story. Similarly, our existingfragments of Pherekydes make no mention of Andromeda. It could just be that we lack the portionof the story in which she appears, but Andromeda is also missing from Pherekydess later account of Perseuss return to Argos. The side trip to rescue the chained maiden interrupts the storyof Perseus and Polydektes, and it is likely that in the oldest versions such an adventure did notoccur at that point in the story, or perhaps it did not even happen to this Perseus. Apollodorussversion— which, by virtue of its appearing in what we now consider the standard reference onmyths, became the canonical version of the story— represents only one snapshot of time in the
28. history of this myth. Apollodoruss and Ovids versions became the standards upon which laterwriters based their own tellings and effectively froze the myth in that form, as Mallorys Le MortedArthur crystallized the story of King Arthur. Nevertheless, there existed both competing earlierversions and later, noncanonical variations. In the oldest, most revered source, there is nomention of the story as we have it above. Homer knows of Perseus as a son of Danae and Zeusbut says nothing further of him or his adventures. He describes the Gorgon only as a monster ofthe underworld. When Odysseus speaks to the spirits of the dead, he is threatened with theprospect of meeting with the head of the Gorgon, and the mere threat frightens him. The monsterdoes not have a body, nor does it turn anyone to stone. No history of the frightening head isgiven. In The Iliad, Homer says that the Gorgons likeness appears on the aegis of Athena andthe shield of Agamemnon. This variant history of the Gorgon was also repeated by Apollodorus.How did he reconcile this nonpetrifying monster of hell with the petrifying sister in the story ofPerseus? He dealt with the question in the myth of Hercules. When that hero, in the course of hisfamous twelve labors, went down to Hades to fetch back Cerberus, the guardian hound of theunderworld, most souls fled from him. One of the few exceptions was Medusa. Hermes (thehelper of Hercules, as he had been of Perseus) told Hercules that the Gorgon he saw in Hadeswas the soul of the dead Gorgon, implying that after death Medusa had lost her power ofpetrification. Virgil placed plural Gorgons in the underworld in his Aeneid. The tradition seems tohave drifted into obscurity after that— no medieval visions of hell feature Gorgons. But theclassically minded poets of the Enlightenment brought the image to life again. Milton, drawing onVirgil, places Gorgons in hell again. The tradition also seems to have invaded the British stage,because Pope, in his Dunciad, refers disparagingly to the Gorgons represented in theatrical hells.But after this brief revival, the tradition died out again. No modern writer or artist pictures Gorgonsin hell, although theyd be perfect inhabitants. Gorgons have a longer and more hellish pedigree,in fact, than horned demons or burning fires. But all thats left today is a dim echo of the traditionfirst preserved in Horner.ANOTHER VARIANT OF the myth presents Medusa not as one monstrous sister of three, but asa cursed beauty who, like Cassiepeia, unwisely compared herself to the Nereids in beauty. Inretaliation, she was first made ugly, then beheaded. Apollodorus briefly alludes to this variant, butOvid tells it at slightly greater length. In Ovids version, however, Athena is angered becauseMedusa is raped in Athenas temple by Poseidon (perhaps inspired by Hesiods claim thatMedusa had children by Poseidon), and changes her beauty to ugliness. The playwrightSophocles and the Roman writer Hyginus both conflate events from the longer story, havingPerseus kill Acrisius at funeral games for Polydektes on the island of Seriphos. Sophocles, atleast, probably altered the story for the sake of dramatic cohesion. Euripides, in his play Ion, saysthat Athena, rather than Perseus, killed the Gorgon. The monster in this instance seems to be an
29. unnamed creation of Gaia, but Hyginus notes the same tradition and cites Euhemerus as hisauthority. Yet another tradition hints that Zeus himself may have done the deed. Perhaps theoddest tradition is one cited by that archrationalist, Pausanias. Not for him the fancies of myth. Inhis guidebook, he points out that there is an earthen mound near the market square in Argos, andhere the head of Medusa was supposed to be buried. Pausanias is determined to give hisreaders what he considers to be the real story. "Leaving aside the myth," he says, "this is whathas been said about her." He goes on to relate that she was a queen of her people, who livednear Lake Tritonis in Africa; she ruled after the death of her father, King Phorkys. She lead theLibyans in battle and in hunting. She stood up to Perseus, who had invaded her country with aforce of men from Greece. She died, not honorably in battle, but treacherously murdered by night.Nevertheless, Perseus was struck by the beauty of the dead queen and had her head removedand preserved so that he could display it in Greece. Pausanias undoubtedly took his accountfrom the work of Dionysius Skytobrachion, a novelist living in the second century B.C.E. inAlexandria. Skytobrachion, whose name means "leather arm," constructed his works by linkingtogether originally unrelated bits of mythology. He is therefore about as trustworthy a source formyth as E. L. Doctorows novels are reliable accounts of modern history. Skytobrachions worksare no longer extant, but they have been cited at length by other writers. Diodorus Siculus, aSicilian historian of the first century B.C.E., cribbed extensively from Skytobrachion. Among thestories he derived was a fanciful one of Amazons living in Africa (previous accounts located themnear the Black Sea), where they battled a tribe called the Gorgons. Skytobrachions tales, asfunneled to posterity through Pausanias and Diodorus Siculus, would form the basis foroccasional attempts to prove that the myth of Medusa was a distorted account of Greek conflictswith a matriarchal society. Pausanias also cites the work of an otherwise unknown writer namedProkles, who lived in Carthage. Prokles had seen what he called "human savages" who had beencaptured and exhibited in Rome. He imagined it was possible that one such savage woman wasresponsible for wreaking havoc around Lake Tritonis, until Perseus killed her. It is interesting tonote that Pausanias still credits Athena with helping the hero in this undertaking; there were limitsto even his rationalizations.MINOTOUR (Μῑνώταυρος)PARENTS: THE KRETAN BULL & PASIPHAEENCYCLOPEDIA: THE MINOTAUROS (or Minotaur) was a bull-headed monster born to QueenPasiphae of Krete after she had coupled with a bull.
30. The creature resided in the twisting maze of the labyrinth, where he was offfered a regularsacrifice of youths and maids to satisfy his cannibalistic hunger. He was eventually destroyed bythe hero Theseus. The Minotauros proper name Asterion, "the starry one," suggests he wasassociated with the constellation Tauros. MINOTAURUS (Minôtauros), a monster with a humanbody and a bulls head, or, according to others, with the body of an ox and a human head; is saidto have been the offspring of the intercourse of Pasiphaë with the bull sent from the sea to Minos,who shut him up in the Cnossian labyrinth, and fed him with the bodies of the youths andmaidens whom the Athenians at fixed times were obliged to send to Minos as tribute. Themonster was slain by Theseus. It was often represented by ancient artists either alone in thelabyrinth, or engaged in the struggle with Theseus. (Paus. i. 24. § 2, 27, in fin. iii. 18. § 7; Apollod.iii. 1. § 4, 15. § 8.)MYTH: NEED TO FIND.