Monday, 17 November 2008

Hercules’ Eighth (8th) Labor: The Mares of Diomedes.


Hercules’ eighth labor, set by his cousin Eurystheus, was to capture and bring back to him, the four mares of Diomedes.
Diomedes, the king of the Bistones, was a troublesome warrior that enjoyed a fight. He was the son of Ares and Cyrene.
He owned four man-eating mares, named Podargus, Lampon, Xanthus, and Dinis. These were savage animals and some sources say that they were fastened with iron chains to brass feeding troughs, and fed human flesh by Diomedes himself.
Hercules set off to Bistonia with a number of his friends. On arrival they managed to subdue the grooms looking after the animals. Before they could leave with the mares Diomedes became aware of their intentions and gathering a number of soldiers set of to confront Hercules. Abderos was left to look after the animals while Hercules and his friends did battle with Diomedes. During the fight Hercules killed Diomedes, and his soldiers fled.
On returning to the mares Hercules discovered that the animals had killed Abderos. Some sources say he had been eaten and others that he had been dragged to death.
Hercules fed the body of Diomedes to the animals. After eating their previous owner the animals became calm and subdued, never to eat flesh again.
Hercules then established the town Abdera in honor of Abderos.
Hercules then took the mares to Eurystheus who was terrified at the sight of them. So much so he his in his underground jar to escape them and Hercules.
The animals were then set free to roam around Argos, and legend has it that Alexander the Great later owned one of their offspring..
Another version is that wolves later killed the animals
Image from Wikipedia

Summary of the 12 labors and links to other posts on this blog can be found here

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Hercules was so strong, he seemed like getting force from a rare source, like he had taken generic viagra, that's pretty good.