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[10] Now this Thespius was king of Thespiae, and Hercules went to him when he wished to catch the lion. The king entertained him for fifty days, and each night, as Hercules went forth to the hunt, Thespius bedded one of his daughters with him( fifty daughters having been borne to him by Megamede, daughter of Arneus); for he was anxious that all of them should have children by Hercules. Thus Hercules, though he thought that his bed-fellow was always the same, had intercourse with them all.1 And having vanquished the lion, he dressed himself in the skin and wore the scalp2 as a helmet.


1 As to Herakles and the daughters of Thespius, compare Diod. 4.29.2ff.; Paus. 9.27.6ff.; Athenaeus xiii.4, p. 556 F; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.221ff. The father of the damsels is called Thestius by Pausanias and Athenaeus, who refers to Herodorus as his authority. See the Critical Note.

2 More exactly, “the gaping mouth.” In Greek art Herakles is commonly represented wearing the lion's skin, often with the lion's scalp as a hood on his head. See, for example, Baumeister, Denkmäler des klassischen Altertums, i. figs. 724, 726, 729, 730.

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