The Twelve Labors: Evolution (page 381 lower, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Homer, Iliad 362-69

neither hath he any memory of this, that full often I saved his son when he was fordone by reason of Eurystheus’ tasks. For verily he would make lament toward heaven and from heaven would Zeus send me forth to succour him. Had I but known all this in wisdom of my heart when Eurystheus sent him forth to the house of Hades the Warder, to bring from out of Erebus the hound of loathed Hades, then had he not escaped the sheer-falling waters of Styx. Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 15.639-40

Periphetes of Mycenae, the dear son of Copreus, that had been wont to go on messages from king Eurystheus to the mighty Heracles. Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 11.620-26

I was the son of Zeus, son of Cronos, but I had woe beyond measure; for to a man far worse than I was I made subject, and he laid on me hard labours. Yea, he once sent me hither to fetch the hound of Hades, for he could devise for me no other task mightier than this. The hound I carried off and led forth from the house of Hades; and Hermes was my guide, and flashing-eyed Athena. Greek Text

Hesiod, Theogony 326-32

but Echidna was subject in love to Orthus and brought forth the deadly Sphinx which destroyed the Cadmeans, and the Nemean lion, which Hera, the good wife of Zeus, brought up and made to haunt the hills of Nemea, a plague to men. There he preyed upon the tribes of her own people and had power over Tretus of Nemea and Apesas: yet the strength of stout Heracles overcame him. Greek Text

Hesiod, Theogony 313-18

And again she bore a third, the evil-minded Hydra of Lerna, whom the goddess, white-armed Hera nourished, being angry beyond measure with the mighty Heracles. And her Heracles, the son of Zeus, of the house of Amphitryon, together with warlike Iolaus, destroyed with the unpitying sword through the plans of Athena the spoil driver. Greek Text

Hesiod, Theogony 289-94

three-headed Geryones. Him mighty Heracles slew in sea-girt Erythea by his shambling oxen on that day when he drove the wide-browed oxen to holy Tiryns, and had crossed the ford of Ocean. Greek Text

Peisandros fr 3 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 168, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Peisandros fr 4 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 168, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Homeric Hymn 15 to Herakles

Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in the glorious home of snowy Olympus, and has neat-ankled Hebe for his wife. Greek Text

Delphi, Athenian Treasury:

Flickr; view from Sacred Way with casts in positions of metopes

Delphi Museum: metope with Herakles and Lion

Left: M. B. Gensheimer, “Metaphors for Marathon in the Sculptural Program of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi”, Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 86, no. 1 (January-March 2017), fig. 15b; right: marble metope with Heracles wrestling with Nemean lion, from page entitled “Treasury of the Athenians”, Ancient-Greece.org

Delphi Museum: metope with Herakles and hind

Left: M. B. Gensheimer, “Metaphors for Marathon in the Sculptural Program of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi”, Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 86, no. 1 (January-March 2017), fig. 17b; right: marble metope with Herakles bringing down Hind, from Flickr

Head and shoulders of Herakles in lion’s skin, from Flickr

Digital LIMC (no. 12)

Five metopes from combat of Herakles and Geryoneus

Cattle of Geryoneus (23-25), left foot of Herakles and dead guard dog Orthos (26), and triple-bodied Geryoneus (27); University of Oxford, Classical Art Research Centre: Metopes of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi

Detail of marble metope with triple-bodied Geryoneus, from page entitled “Treasury of the Athenians”, Ancient-Greece.org

Digital LIMC (no. 16)

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Temple of Hephaistos (Hephaisteion), Athens: Herakles metopes from east frieze:

East facade; Wikimedia

Nine Herakles labors from east frieze, with reconstruction drawings overlaid on surviving metopes; B. Sauer, Das sogenannte Theseion und sein plastischer Schmuck (1899) pls. 6* and 6; labors are Nemean Lion, Hydra, Hind, Erymanthian Boar, Mares of Diomedes, Kerberos, Amazon, Geryoneus (two metopes), and Apples (Gantz page 383 upper)

Nine Herakles labors from east frieze, B. Sauer, Das sogenannte Theseion und sein plastischer Schmuck (1899) pl. 6

Metopes 8 and 9, with Herakles shooting and slain herdsman Eurytion (left), and triple-bodied Geryoneus (right); B. Sauer, Das sogenannte Theseion und sein plastischer Schmuck (1899) pl. 6*

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Digital LIMC (Scene 2)

Olympia, Temple of Zeus: metopes in Olympia Museum with twelve labors of Herakles, once located over two porches in interior of temple

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5.10.9

Most of the labours of Heracles are represented at Olympia. Above the doors of the temple is carved the hunting of the Arcadian boar, his exploit against Diomedes the Thracian, and that against Geryones at Erytheia; he is also about to receive the burden of Atlas, and he cleanses the land from dung for the Eleans. Above the doors of the rear chamber he is taking the girdle from the Amazon; and there are the affairs of the deer, of the bull at Cnossus, of the Stymphalian birds, of the hydra, and of the Argive lion.  Greek Text

Section through temple showing metopes from east porch; Hellenica World

Color reconstructions of the metopes from east porch (no. 2) and the west porch (no. 1); from Sketchfab, by Daniel O’Neil

Metopes from west porch (no. 1): Nemean Lion, Hydra, Stymphalian Birds, Kretan bull, Hind and Amazon (see Gantz page 382)

Metopes from east porch (no. 2): Erymanthian Boar, Mares of Diomedes, Geryoneus, Apples, Kerberos, Augeian Stables (see Gantz page 382)

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Olympia, Temple of Zeus: metope with Herakles cleaning Stables of Augeias, under direction of Athena

Flickr

Detail of Athena, from Flickr

Digital LIMC

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

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Tags:

#Herakles

#Nemean+Lion

#Hind

#Geryoneus

#Augeias

#Athena

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, December 2020

Artistic sources edited by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, March 2023.

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