Labor VII: The Kretan Bull (page 395 upper, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Akousilaos 2F29 FGrHDie Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 55, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

ApB 2.5.7 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

The seventh labour he enjoined on him was to bring the Cretan bull. Acusilaus says that this was the bull that ferried across Europa for Zeus; but some say it was the bull that Poseidon sent up from the sea when Minos promised to sacrifice to Poseidon what should appear out of the sea. And they say that when he saw the beauty of the bull he sent it away to the herds and sacrificed another to Poseidon; at which the god was angry and made the bull savage. To attack this bull Hercules came to Crete, and when, in reply to his request for aid, Minos told him to fight and catch the bull for himself, he caught it and brought it to Eurystheus, and having shown it to him he let it afterwards go free. But the bull roamed to Sparta and all Arcadia, and traversing the Isthmus arrived at Marathon in Attica and harried the inhabitants. Greek Text

DS 4.13.4 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

The next Labour which Heracles undertook was to bring back from Crete the bull of which, they say, Pasiphaê had been enamoured, and sailing to the island he secured the aid of Minos the king and brought it back to Peloponnesus, having voyaged upon its back over so wide an expanse of sea. Greek Text

Paus 1.27.10 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

They say that this bull crossed from Crete to the Peloponnesus, and came to be one of what are called the Twelve Labours of Heracles. When he was let loose on the Argive plain he fled through the isthmus of Corinth, into the land of Attica as far as the Attic parish of Marathon, killing all he met, including Androgeos, son of Minos. Greek Text

Olympia Museum: metope from the Temple of Zeus with Herakles pulling back head of bull by a rope (to be restored in his lowered left hand) while he raises a club (to be restored) in his raised right hand

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. 45.4



Reconstruction based on preserved red pigment on bull, and preserved blue pigment on metope background, from Sketchfab, by Daniel O’Neil

Perseus Art and Archaeology Artifact Browser

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#Herakles, #bull

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

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