Labor V: The Stables of Augeias (page 393 upper, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Diodoros Siculus, Library of History 4.13.3

Upon the performance of this Labour he received a Command from Eurystheus to cleanse the stables of Augeas, and to do this without the assistance of any other man. These stables contained an enormous mass of dung which had accumulated over a great period, and it was a spirit of insult which induced Eurystheus to lay upon him the command to clean out this dung. Heracles declined as unworthy of him to carry this out upon his shoulders, in order to avoid the disgrace which would follow upon the insulting command; and so, turning the course of the Alpheius river, as it is called, into the stables and cleansing them by means of the stream, he accomplished Labour in a single day, and without suffering any insult. Surely, then, we may well marvel at the ingenuity of Heracles; for he accomplished the ignoble task involved in the Command without incurring any disgrace or submitting to something which would render him unworthy of immortality. Greek Text

ApB 2.5.5 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

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

Olympia Museum: fragmentary metope from Temple of Zeus with Herakles using crowbar? to breach stable wall while Athena encourages him

Pausanias 5.10.9

and he cleanses the land from dung for the Eleans. Greek Text

Section, east porch, showing original position of metope (on right); Hellenica World

E. Curtius [Editor] and F. Adler [Editor] and G. Treu, Olympia: die Ergebnisse der von dem Deutschen Reich veranstalteten Ausgrabung (Tafelband 3): Die Bildwerke von Olympia in Stein und Thon (1894) pl. 45.12

Flickr

Reconstruction from M. Lahanas, Hellenica World

Digital LIMC

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 26.7.1300: Roman ivory handle of razor or knife with a weary Herakles seated on pile of blocks after cleaning the Augeian stables; he holds his club in his left hand, and on the right is a basket   

Metropolitan Museum

Strabo 6.3.1

Among this booty is the Heracles in the Capitol, a colossal bronze statue, the work of Lysippus, dedicated by Maximus Fabius, who captured the city. Greek Text

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 34.18 (34.39-40)

As to boldness of design, the examples are innumerable; for we see designed, statues of enormous bulk, known as colossal statues and equal to towers in size… such is that at Tarentum, forty cubits in height, and the work of Lysippus. It is a remarkable circumstance in this statue, that though, as it is stated, it is so nicely balanced as to be moveable by the hand, it has never been thrown down by a tempest. This indeed, the artist, it is said, has guarded against, by a column erected at a short distance from it, upon the side on which the violence of the wind required to be broken. On account, therefore, of its magnitude, and the great difficulty of moving it, Fabius Verrucosus did not touch it, when he transferred the Hercules from that place to the Capitol, where it now stands. Latin Text

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Tags:

#Herakles, #Athena

Artistic surces edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, June 2023

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, January 2021

 

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