P. 415 (with art)

Paris, Musee de Louvre E701.  Caeretan hydria.  Herakles, Eurytheus, Kerberos.

Wikimediascommons

Rome, Museo Etruco Gregoriano di Villa Giulia, 50649.  Herakles, Eurystheus, Kerberos.

Diodoros Siculus, Library of History 4.26.1

Heracles, then, according to the myths which have come down to us, descended into the realm of Hades, and being welcomed like a brother by Persephonê brought Theseus and Peirithoüs back to the upper world after freeing them from their bonds. This he accomplished by the favour of Persephonê, and receiving the dog Cerberus in chains he carried him away to the amazement of all and exhibited him to men.  Greek Text

ApB 2.5.12 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And having come to Taenarum in Laconia, where is the mouth of the descent to Hades, he descended through it. But when the souls saw him, they fled, save Meleager and the Gorgon Medusa. And Hercules drew his sword against the Gorgon, as if she were alive, but he learned from Hermes that she was an empty phantom. And being come near to the gates of Hades he found Theseus and Pirithous, him who wooed Persephone in wedlock and was therefore bound fast. And when they beheld Hercules, they stretched out their hands as if they should be raised from the dead by his might. And Theseus, indeed, he took by the hand and raised up, but when he would have brought up Pirithous, the earth quaked and he let go. And he rolled away also the stone of Ascalaphus. And wishing to provide the souls with blood, he slaughtered one of the kine of Hades. But Menoetes, son of Ceuthonymus, who tended the king, challenged Hercules to wrestle, and, being seized round the middle, had his ribs broken; howbeit, he was let off at the request of Persephone. When Hercules asked Pluto for Cerberus, Pluto ordered him to take the animal provided he mastered him without the use of the weapons which he carried. Hercules found him at the gates of Acheron, and, cased in his cuirass and covered by the lion’s skin, he flung his arms round the head of the brute, and though the dragon in its tail bit him, he never relaxed his grip and pressure till it yielded. So he carried it off and ascended through Troezen. But Demeter turned Ascalaphus into a short-eared owl, and Hercules, after showing Cerberus to Eurystheus, carried him back to Hades. Greek Text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.534-50

Not so the Fates
permit.—The virgin, thoughtless while she strayed
among the cultivated Stygian fields,
had broken fast. While there she plucked the fruit
by bending a pomegranate tree, and plucked,
and chewed seven grains, picked from the pallid rind;
and none had seen except Ascalaphus—
him Orphne, famed of all Avernian Nymphs,
had brought to birth in some infernal cave,
days long ago, from Acheron‘s embrace—
he saw it, and with cruel lips debarred
young Proserpine’s return. Heaving a sigh,
the Queen of Erebus, indignant changed
that witness to an evil bird: she turned
his head, with sprinkled Phlegethonian lymph,
into a beak, and feathers, and great eyes;
his head grew larger and his shape, deformed,
was cased in tawny wings; his lengthened nails
bent inward;—and his sluggish arms
as wings can hardly move. So he became
the vilest bird; a messenger of grief;
the lazy owl; sad omen to mankind.  Latin Text

Paestum, metope from the Heraion alla Foce del Sele.  Herakles, Kerberos.

 

 

Artistic sources 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, July, 2017

Literary sources edited By Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Langages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2022

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