Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol II by Robert Graves Part 3.6

General Information:

Name of Book: The Greek Myths 2

ISBN: 0-14-001027-0

Publisher: Penguin

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (Vol. I 22)

127. The Fifth Labour: The Stables of Augeias

Issue: Heracles has to clean up stables for King Augeias, ordered by Eurystheus. King Augeias has been extremely lucky and blessed when it came to herds. Although animals were okay with dung, the dung itself produced pestilence and caused for fields to not be plowed for grain. Heracles swore to clean them before nightfall in Zeus's name. Heracles divided two rivers and cleaned up the rivers, although later on King Augeias swore that Heracles was lying and in the end he was banished and Eurystheus refused to count this as a labor. Heracles journeyed to court of Dexamenus where he managed to rescue Mnesimache from Centaur Eurytion later on.

128. The Sixth Labour: The Stymphalian Birds

Issue: Sixth labour was to remove man-eating birds which were sacred to Ares, otherwise known as Stymphalian Swamp birds. He tries his previous methods, but they fail, thus he is gifted with either a rattle or castanets to which he uses to scare birds away successfully. Description of their origin as well as how they are pests follows.

129. The Seventh Labour: The Cretan Bull

Issue: Heracles is ordered to capture Cretan Bull although it is uncertain where the bull came from or whether or not the bull sired Minotaur on Pashiphae or one that carried Europe across to Crete. At the time it was hurting Crete. Heracles captured it and gave it to Eurystheus who dedicated to Hera who was disgusted with the gift and eventually Theseus dragged it to Athens as a sacrifice to Athene.

130. The Eighth Labour: The Mares of Diomedes

Issue: Heracles has to capture four savage mares of Thracian King Diomedes. Description and origin of King Diomedes follows, mentioning that he feeds his mares on guests. With volunteers he sets of for Thrace, overpowers the mares, and cuts a channel which caused sea to flood the plain. Eventually he fed Diomedes to the mares. Another account is given.

131. The Ninth Labour: Hippolyte's Girdle

Issue: Eurystheus has a daughter named Admete, and he asks Heracles to fetch a golden for her that's worn by Amazonian queen named Hippolyte. Origins of the Amazons are given, and Heracles sails off. Heracles lands on an island, and some of his men get killed, thus he kills back for revenge and two men are offered as slaves to him. Upon coming on the island, Hippolyte fell in love with his body, but Hera disguised herself as an Amazonian soldier and spread lies, thus prompting a battle between Hippolyte who was killed and got her girdle taken away and Heracles the victor. He also has done many other deeds. More about Amazons is written.

132. The Tenth Labour: The Cattle of Geryon

Issue: Heracles has to fetch cattle of Geryon without payment or demand. Eurytion and Orthrus who happens to be a two-headed watchdog, watched over the cattle. Heracles destroys creatures along the way. On Mount Abas Heracles killed Orthrus and Eurytion in the same manner. Heracles also fought with Geryon, and killed him, and also wounded Hera in the breast. Discussion and future of Geryon's daughter Erytheia follows as well as alternative versions of the tale.

133. The Eleventh Labour: The apples of Hesperides

Issue: Despite Heracles performing ten labors, Eurystheus discounted second and fifth, thus two more were made. This one was to fetch the apples from the golden tree. Origins and story commence about Atlas, the tree, and so forth. Not sure where apples were, Heracles finds out either through the river-god or Prometheus. He tricked Atlas into getting the apples and after his return, gave them to Athene who gave them to nymphs. More stories follow, including one of how he freed Prometheus.

134. The Twelfth Labour: The Capture of Cerberus

Issue: Heracles got purified before journeying to the Underworld. Details of the purification as well as the mysteries he gets initiated into follows. He descends into the Underworld, meets Meleager and Medusa, and offers to marry Meleager's sister. Heracles masters Cerberus and takes him from the Underworld. A different account is then given and recounted.

135. The Murder of Iphitus

Issue: After Heracles' return, he gives Megara to his nephew. He then finds Iole, tries to win her but gets mistreated by Iole's father in an archery contest. Horses were stolen, it was suspected Heracles was the culprit, and although he bought the unsuspecting horses from the real thief, he ends up killing Iphitus because of that. In order to be rid of his affliction, he agrees to become Omphale's slave. A different account is given then.

136. Omphale

Issue: Omphale purchased Heracles and the exchange went to Iphitus's children, but their grandfather refused to let them have money. History of Omphale is given. He got rid of bandits as well as pesky twin brothers that constantly deceived everyone. More stories of how he got rid of bad people are given, as well as their deeds. Heracles also fathered sons on Omphale and her handmaiden, and a story of Heracles and Omphale exchanging clothes is presented as well.

137. Hesione

Issue: On the way back, Heracles and Telamon find Hesione from Troy chained to a rock due to forgotten tributes. Heracles breaks her bonds and volunteers to kill the monster in exchange for two mares. Heracles defeats the monster, but Hesione's father cheats him by giving him mortal mares instead of immortal ones. Stories about birth of Ajax, and war with Troy begin. Mention of how Podarces became Priam due to Hesione's interference, and how Hesione married Telamon and bore him two sons as well as running away. He also marries Chalciope and became father of Thessalus.

To be continued...

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