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[11]

As he was returning from the hunt, there met him heralds sent by Erginus to receive the tribute from the Thebans.1 Now the Thebans paid tribute to Erginus for the following reason. Clymenus, king of the Minyans, was wounded with a cast of a stone by a charioteer of Menoeceus, named Perieres, in a precinct of Poseidon at Onchestus; and being carried dying to Orchomenus, he with his last breath charged his son Erginus to avenge his death. So Erginus marched against Thebes, and after slaughtering not a few of the Thebans he concluded a treaty with them, confirmed by oaths, that they should send him tribute for twenty years, a hundred kine every year. Falling in with the heralds on their way to Thebes to demand this tribute, Hercules outraged them; for he cut off their ears and noses and hands, and having fastened them by ropes from their necks, he told them to carry that tribute to Erginus and the Minyans. Indignant at this outrage, Erginus marched against Thebes. But Hercules, having received weapons from Athena and taken the command, killed Erginus, put the Minyans to flight, and compelled them to pay double the tribute to the Thebans. And it chanced that in the fight Amphitryon fell fighting bravely. And Hercules received from Creon his eldest daughter Megara as a prize of valor,2 and by her he had three sons, Therimachus, Creontiades, and Deicoon. But Creon gave his younger daughter to Iphicles, who already had a son Iolaus by Automedusa, daughter of Alcathus. And Rhadamanthys, son of Zeus, married Alcmena after the death of Amphitryon, and dwelt as an exile at Ocaleae in Boeotia.3

Having first learned from Eurytus the art of archery,4 Hercules received a sword from Hermes, a bow and arrows from Apollo,5 a golden breastplate from Hephaestus, and a robe from Athena; for he had himself cut a club at Nemea.


1 As to Herakles and Erginus, compare Diod. 4.10.3-5; Paus. 9.37.2ff.; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.226ff.

2 Compare Diod. 4.10.6; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.228. As to the sons of Herakles by Megara, compare below, Apollod. 2.7.8. The ancients differed considerably as to the number and names of the children whom Herakles had by Megara. According to Pind. I. 4.63ff. there were eight of them. Euripides speaks of three (Eur. Herc. 995ff.). See Scholiast on Pind. I. 4.61(104); Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 48, 663; Scholiast on Hom. Od. xi.269 (who agrees with Apollodorus and quotes Asclepiades as his authority); Hyginus, Fab. 31, 32. The Thebans celebrated an annual festival, with sacrifices and games, in honour of the children. See Pind. I. 4.61 (104)ff, with the Scholiast.

3 Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 50, who says that Rhadamanthys fled from Crete because he had murdered his own brother. He agrees with Pausanias that the worthy couple took up their abode at Ocaleae (or Ocalea) in Boeotia. Their tombs were shown near Haliartus, in Boeotia. See Plut. Lys. 28. The grave of Alcmena was excavated in antiquity, during the Spartan occupation of the Cadmea. It was found to contain a small bronze bracelet, two earthen-ware jars, and a bronze tablet inscribed with ancient and unknown characters. See Plut. De genio Socratis 5. A different story of the marriage of Rhadamanthys and Alcmena was told by Pherecydes. According to him, when Alcmena died at a good old age, Zeus commanded Hermes to steal her body from the coffin in which the sons of Herakles were conveying it to the grave. Hermes executed the commission, adroitly substituting a stone for the corpse in the coffin. Feeling the coffin very heavy, the sons of Herakles set it down, and taking off the lid they discovered the fraud. They took out the stone and set it up in a sacred grove at Thebes, where was a shrine of Alcmena. Meantime Hermes had carried off the real Alcmena to the Islands of the Blest, where she was married to Rhadamanthys. See Ant. Lib. 33. This quaint story is alluded to by Pausanias, who tells us (Paus. 9.16.7) that there was no tomb of Alcmena at Thebes, because at her death she had been turned to stone.

4 See above Apollod. 2.4.9. According to another account, Herakles learned archery from the exile Rhadamanthys (Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 50), and if we accept the MS. reading αὐτοῦ in the present passage (see Critical Note), this was the version of the story here followed by Apollodorus. But it seems more likely that αὐτοῦ is a scribe's mistake for Εὐρύτου than that Apollodorus should have contradicted himself flatly in two passages so near each other. The learned Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 50 mentions no less than three different men—Teutarus, Eurytus, and Rhadamanthys—to whom the honour of having taught Herakles to shoot was variously assigned by tradition.

5 As to the gifts of the gods to Herakles, see Diod. 4.13.3, who, besides the sword and bow given by Hermes and Apollo, mentions horses given by Poseidon.

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