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his horses; for having upset his chariot, they tore their master to pieces. As to his son, Bellerophon, the following is related :
In Lycia a monster, breathing fire, made great havoc. The fore part of its body was a compound of the lion and the goat; the hind part was a dragon's. The king, lobates, sought a hero to destroy this Chimæra, as it was called. At that time Bellerophon arrived at his court. The gallant youth brought letters from Prætus, the son-in-law of lobates, recommending Bellerophon in the warmest terms as an unconquerable hero, but adding a request to his father-in-law to put him to death. For Præetus, suspecting that his wife Antea looked with too great favor on the young warrior, schemed thus to destroy him.
Iobates accordingly determined to send Bellerophon against the Chimæra. Bellerophon accepted the proposal, but before proceeding to the combat, consulted the soothsayer Polyidus, who counselled him to procure, if possible, the horse Pegasus for the conflict. Now this horse had been caught and tamed by Minerva, and by her presented to the Muses. Polyidus, therefore, directed Bellerophon to pass the night in the temple of Minerva. While he slept, Minerva brought him a golden bridle. When he awoke, she showed him Pegasus drinking at the well of Pirene. At sight of the bridle, the winged steed came willingly and suffered himself to be taken. Bellerophon mounted him, sped through the air, found the Chimæra, and gained an easy victory.
After the conquest of this monster, Bellerophon was subjected to further trials and labors by his unfriendly host, but by the aid of Pegasus he triumphed over all. At length Iobates, seeing that the hero was beloved of the gods, gave him his daughter in marriage and made him his successor on the throne. It is said that Bellerophon, by his pride and presumption, drew upon himself the anger of the Olympians; that he even attempted to fly to heaven on his winged steed; but the king of gods and men sent a gadily, which, stinging Pegasus, caused him to throw his rider, who wandered ever after lame, blind, and lonely through the Aleian field, and perished miserably.
$ 139. Hercules (Heracles).' -- Alcmene, daughter of Electryon and granddaughter of Perseus and Andromeda, was beloved of Jupiter. Their son, the mighty Hercules, born in Thebes, became the national hero of Greece. Juno, always hostile to the offspring of her husband by mortal mothers, declared war against Hercules from his birth. She sent two serpents to destroy him as he lay in his cradle, but the precocious infant strangled them with his hands. In his youth he passed for the son of his step-father Amphitryon, king of Thebes, - a grandson of Perseus and Andromeda. The lad had the best of teachers. Rhadamanthus trained him in wisdom and virtue, Linus in music. Unfortunately the latter attempted, one day, to chastise Hercules ; whereupon the pupil killed the master with a lute. After this melancholy breach of discipline, the youth was rusticated, — sent off to the mountains, where among the herdsmen and the cattle he grew to mighty stature, slew the Thespian lion, and performed various deeds of valor. To him, while still a youth, appeared, according to one story, two women at a meeting of the ways, — Pleasure and Duty. The gifts offered by Duty were the “Choice of Hercules.” Soon afterward he contended with none other than Apollo for the tripod of Delphi ; but reconciliation was effected between the combatants by the gods of Olympus ; and from that day forth Apollo and Hercules remained true friends, each respecting the prowess of the other. Returning to Thebes, the hero aided his half-brother Iphicles and his reputed father Amphitryon in throwing off the yoke of the city of Orchomenus. Then, while in the very pride of his manhood, he was driven insane by the implacable Juno. In his madness he slew his children, and would have slain Amphitryon, also, had not Minerva knocked him over with a stone, and plunged him into a deep sleep, from which he awoke in his right mind. Next, for expiation of the bloodshed, he was rendered subject to his cousin Eurystheus and compelled to perform his commands. This humiliation, Juno, of course, had decreed.
1 Authorities are Homer, — Iliad and Odyssey; Theocritus 24:1, etc.; Apollodorus, 2. 4. $ , etc.; Sophocles, Women of Trachis; Euripides, Hercules Furens; Ovid, Metam. 9: 102-272; Seneca, Hercules Furens and Etæus ; Hyginus, etc.
Eurystheus enjoined upon the hero a succession of desperate undertakings, which are called the twelve " Labors of Hercules.” The first was the combat with the lion that infested the valley of Nemea, — the skin of which Hercules was ordered to bring to Mycenæ. After using in vain his club and arrows against the lion, Hercules strangled the animal with his hands, and returned, carrying its carcass on his shoulders; but Eurystheus, frightened at the sight, and at this proof of the prodigious strength of the hero, ordered him to deliver the account of his exploits, in future, outside the town.
His second labor was the slaughter of the Hydra, — a waterserpent that ravaged the country of Argos, and dwelt in a swamp near the well of Amymone. It had nine heads, of which the middle one was immortal. Hercules struck off the heads with his club; but in the place of each despatched, two new ones appeared. At last, with the assistance of his faithful nephew Iolaus, he burned away the heads of the Hydra, and buried the ninth, which was immortal, under a rock.
His third labor was the capture of a boar that haunted Mount Erymanthus, in Arcadia. The adventure was, in itself, successful. But on the same journey Hercules made the friendship of the centaur Pholus, who receiving him hospitably, poured out for him without stint the choicest wine that the centaurs possessed. As a consequence, Hercules became involved in a broil with the other centaurs of the mountain. Unfortunately, his friend Pholus, drawing one of the arrows of Hercules from a brother centaur, wounded himself therewith, and died of the poison.
The fourth labor of Hercules was the capture of a wonderful stag of golden antlers and brazen hoofs, that ranged the hills of Cerynea, between Arcadia and Achaia.
His fifth labor was the destruction of the Stymphalian birds, which with cruel beaks and sharp talons harassed the inhabitants of the valley of Stymphalus, devouring many of them.
His sixth labor was the cleaning of the Augean stables. Augeas, king of Elis, had a herd of three thousand oxen, whose
stalls had not been cleansed for thirty years. Hercules bringing the rivers Alpheus and Peneüs through them, purified them thoroughly in one day.
His seventh labor was the overthrow of the Cretan bull, — an awful but beautiful brute, at once a gift and a curse bestowed by Neptune upon Minos of Crete. This monster Hercules brought to Mycenæ.
His eighth labor was the removal of the horses of Diomedes, king of Thrace. These horses subsisted on human flesh, were swift and fearful. Diomedes, attempting to retain them, was killed by Hercules and given to the horses to devour. They were, then, delivered to Eurystheus; but, escaping, they roamed the hills of Arcadia, till the wild beasts of Apollo tore them to pieces.
His ninth labor was of a more delicate character. Admeta, the daughter of Eurystheus, desired the girdle of the queen of the Amazons, and Eurystheus ordered Hercules to get it. The Amazons were a nation dominated by warlike women; and in their hands were many cities. It was their custom to bring up only the female children, whom they hardened by martial discipline ; the boys were either despatched to the neighboring nations or put to death. Hippolyta, the queen, received Hercules kindly, and consented to yield him the girdle ; but Juno, taking the form of an Amazon, persuaded the people that the strangers were carry
ing off their queen. They instantly armed, and beset the ship. Whereupon Hercules, thinking that Hippolyta had acted treacherously, slew her, and taking her girdle, made sail homeward.
The tenth task enjoined upon him was to capture for Eurystheus the oxen of Geryon, a monster with three bodies, who dwelt in the island Erythea (the red), — so called because it lay in the west, under the rays of the setting sun. This description is thought to apply to Spain, of which Geryon was king. After traversing various countries, Hercules reached at length the frontiers of Libya and Europe, where he raised the two mountains of Abyla and Calpe as monuments of his progress, — the Pillars of Hercules ; — or, according to another account, rent one mountain into two, and left half on each side, forming the Straits of Gibraltar. The oxen were guarded by the giant Eurytion and his two-headed dog ; but Hercules killed the warders, and conveyed the oxen in safety to Eurystheus.
One of the most difficult labors was the eleventh, — the robbery of the golden apples of the Hesperides. Hercules did not know where to find them ; but after various adventures, arrived at Mount Atlas, in Africa. Since Atlas was the father of the Hesperides, Hercules thought he might through him obtain the apples. The hero, accordingly, taking the burden of the heavens on his own shoulders,' sent Atlas to seek the apples. The giant returned with them, and proposed to take them himself to Eurystheus. “Even so," said Hercules; “but, pray, hold this load for me a moment, while I procure a pad to ease my shoulders." Unsuspectingly the giant resumed the burden of the heavens. Hercules took the apples.
1 Atlas and the heavens, § 136.