As a tenth labour he was ordered to fetch the kine of Geryon from Erythia.1 Now Erythia was an island near the ocean; it is now called Gadira.2 This island was inhabited by Geryon, son of Chrysaor by Callirrhoe, daughter of Ocean. He had the body of three men grown together and joined in one at the waist, but parted in three from the flanks and thighs.3 He owned red kine, of which Eurytion was the herdsman and Orthus,4 the two-headed hound, begotten by Typhon on Echidna, was the watchdog. So journeying through Europe to fetch the kine of Geryon he destroyed many wild beasts and set foot in Libya,5 and proceeding to Tartessus he erected as tokens of his journey two pillars over against each other at the boundaries of Europe and Libya.6 But being heated by the Sun on his journey, he bent his bow at the god, who in admiration of his hardihood, gave him a golden goblet in which he crossed the ocean.7 And having reached Erythia he lodged on Mount Abas. However the dog, perceiving him, rushed at him; but he smote it with his club, and when the herdsman Eurytion came to the help of the dog, Hercules killed him also. But Menoetes, who was there pasturing the kine of Hades, reported to Geryon what had occurred, and he, coming up with Hercules beside the river Anthemus,8 as he was driving away the kine, joined battle with him and was shot dead. And Hercules, embarking the kine in the goblet and sailing across to Tartessus, gave back the goblet to the Sun. And passing through Abderia9 he came to Liguria,10 where Ialebion and Dercynus, sons of Poseidon, attempted to rob him of the kine, but he killed them11 and went on his way through Tyrrhenia. But at Rhegium a bull broke away12 and hastily plunging into the sea swam across to Sicily, and having passed through the neighboring country since called Italy after it, for the Tyrrhenians called the bull italus,13 came to the plain of Eryx, who reigned over the Elymi.14 Now Eryx was a son of Poseidon, and he mingled the bull with his own herds. So Hercules entrusted the kine to Hephaestus and hurried away in search of the bull. He found it in the herds of Eryx, and when the king refused to surrender it unless Hercules should beat him in a wrestling bout, Hercules beat him thrice, killed him in the wrestling, and taking the bull drove it with the rest of the herd to the Ionian Sea. But when he came to the creeks of the sea, Hera afflicted the cows with a gadfly, and they dispersed among the skirts of the mountains of Thrace. Hercules went in pursuit, and having caught some, drove them to the Hellespont; but the remainder were thenceforth wild.15 Having with difficulty collected the cows, Hercules blamed the river Strymon, and whereas it had been navigable before, he made it unnavigable by filling it with rocks; and he conveyed the kine and gave them to Eurystheus, who sacrificed them to Hera.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 As to Herakles and the cattle of Geryon, see Hes. Th. 287-294ff.; Hes. Th. 979-983; Pind. Frag. 169(151) ed. Sandys; Hdt. 4.8; Plat. Gorg. 484b; Diod. 4.17ff.; Paus. 3.18.13, Paus. 4.36.3; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica vi.249ff.; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.322-352 （who seems to follow Apollodorus）; Scholiast on Plato, Tim. 24e; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iv.120; Solinus xxiii.12; Serv. Verg. A. 8.300.
2 Compare Hdt. 4.8; Strab. 3.2.11, Strab. 3.5 4; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iv.120; Solinus xxiii.12. Gadira is Cadiz. According to Pliny, Nat. Hist. iv.120, the name is derived from a Punic word gadir, meaning “hedge.” Compare Dionysius, Perieg. 453ff. The same word agadir is still used in the south of Morocco in the sense of “fortified house,” and many places in that country bear the name. Amongst them the port of Agadir is the best known. See E. Doutté, En tribu （Paris, 1914）, pp. 50ff. The other name of the island is given by Solinus xxiii.12 in the form Erythrea, and by Mela iii.47 in the form Eythria.
3 As to the triple form of Geryon, compare Hes. Th. 287; Aesch. Ag. 870; Eur. Herc. 423ff.; Scholiast on Plat. Tim. 24e; Paus. 5.19.1; Lucian, Toxaris 62; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 652; Lucretius v.28; Hor. Carm. 2.14.7ff.; Verg. A. 6.289; Ov. Met. 9.184ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 30, 151.
4 The watchdog's name is variously given as Orthus （Orthos） and Orthrus (Orthros). See Hes. Th. 293 (where Orthos seems to be the better reading); Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica vi.253 （Orthros）; Scholiast on Pind. I. 1.13(15) （Orthos）; Scholiast on Plat. Tim. 24e （Orthros, so Stallbaum）; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.333 （Orthros）; Pediasmus, De Herculis laboribus 10 （Orthos）; Serv. Verg. A. 8.300 （Orthrus）.
5 Compare Diod. 4.17.3ff., who says that Herakles completely cleared Crete of wild beasts, and that he subdued many of the wild beasts in the deserts of Libya and rendered the land fertile and prosperous.
6 The opinions of the ancients were much divided on the subject of the Pillars of Herakles. See Strab. 3.5.5. The usual opinion apparently identified them with the rock of Calpe （Gibraltar） and the rock of Abyla, Abila, or Abylica （Ceuta） on the northern and southern sides of the straits. See Strab. 3.5.5; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 649; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iii.4; Mela i.27, ii.95; Martianus Capella vi.624. Further, it seems to have been commonly supposed that before the time of Herakles the two continents were here joined by an isthmus, and that the hero cut through the isthmus and so created the straits. See Diod. 4.18.5; Seneca, Herakles Furens 235ff.; Seneca, Herakles Oetaeus 1240; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iii.4; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iii.4; Mela i.27; Martianus Capella vi.625. Some people, however, on the contrary, thought that the straits were formerly wider, and that Herakles narrowed them to prevent the monsters of the Atlantic ocean from bursting into the Mediterranean （Diod. 4.18.5）. An entirely different opinion identified the Pillars of Herakles with two brazen pillars in the sanctuary of Herakles at Gadira （Cadiz）, on which was engraved an inscription recording the cost of building the temple. See Strab. 3.5.5; compare Pliny, Nat. Hist. ii.242, who speaks of “the columns of Herakles consecrated at Gadira.” For other references to the Pillars of Herakles, see Pind. O. 3.43ff., Pind. N. 3.21, Pind. I. 4.11ff.; Athenaeus vii.98, p. 315 CD; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.339 （who here calls the pillars Alybe and Abinna）; Scholiast on Plat. Tim. 24e; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Orbis Descriptio 64-68, with the commentary of Eustathius （Geographi Graeci Minores, ed. C. Müller, ii. pp. 107, 228）. According to Eustathius, Calpe was the name given to the rock of Gibraltar by the barbarians, but its Greek name was Alybe; and the rock of Ceuta was called Abenna by the barbarians but by the Greeks Cynegetica, that is, the Hunter's Rock. He tells us further that the pillars were formerly named the Pillars of Cronus, and afterwards the Pillars of Briareus.
7 Apollodorus seems to be here following Pherecydes, as we learn from a passage which Athenaeus xi.39, p. 470 CD quotes from the third book of Pherecydes as follows: “And Herakles drew his bow at him as if he would shoot, and the Sun bade him give over; so Herakles feared and gave over. And in return the Sun bestowed on him the golden goblet which carried him with his horses, when he set, through the Ocean all night to the east, where the Sun rises. Then Herakles journeyed in that goblet to Erythia. And when he was on the open sea, Ocean, to make trial of him, caused the goblet to heave wildly on the waves. Herakles was about to shoot him with an arrow; and the Ocean was afraid, and bade him give over.” Stesichorus described the Sun embarking in a golden goblet that he might cross the ocean in the darkness of night and come to his mother, his wedded wife, and children dear. See Athenaeus xi.38, p. 468 E; compare Athenaeus xi.16, p. 781 D. The voyage of Herakles in the golden goblet was also related by the early poets Pisander and Panyasis in the poems, both called Heraclia, which they devoted to the exploits of the great hero. See Athenaeus xi.38, p. 469 D; compare Macrobius, Sat. v.21.16, 19. Another poet, Mimnermus, supposed that at night the weary Sun slept in a golden bed, which floated across the sea to Ethiopia, where a chariot with fresh horses stood ready for him to mount and resume his daily journey across the sky. See Athenaeus xi.39, p. 470 A.
8 Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 652, who probably follows Apollodorus.
10 Apollodorus has much abridged a famous adventure of Herakles in Liguria. Passing through the country with the herds of Geryon, he was attacked by a great multitude of the warlike natives, who tried to rob him of the cattle. For a time he repelled them with his bow, but his supply of arrows running short he was reduced to great straits; for the ground, being soft earth, afforded no stones to be used as missiles. So he prayed to his father Zeus, and the god in pity rained down stones from the sky; and by picking them up and hurling them at his foes, the hero was able to turn the tables on them. The place where this adventure took place was said to be a plain between Marseilles and the Rhone, which was called the Stony Plain on account of the vast quantity of stones, about as large as a man's hand, which were scattered thickly over it. In his play Prometheus Unbound, Aeschylus introduced this story in the form of a prediction put in the mouth of Prometheus and addressed to his deliverer Herakles. See Strab. 4.1.7; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiq. Rom. i.41; Eustathius, Commentary on Dionysius Perieg. 76 （Geographi Graeci Minores, ed. C. Müller, ii.231）; Hyginus, Ast. ii.6; TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 66ff. The Stony Plain is now called the Plaine de la Crau. It “attracts the attention of all travellers between Arles and Marseilles, since it is intersected by the railway that joins those two cities. It forms a wide level area, extending for many square miles, which is covered with round rolled stones from the size of a pebble to that of a man's head. These are supposed to have been brought down from the Alps by the Durance at some early period, when this plain was submerged and formed the bed of what was then a bay of the Mediterranean at the mouth of that river and the Rhone” （H. F. Tozer, Selections from Strabo, p. 117）.
11 Compare Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.340ff., who calls the victims Dercynus and Alebion.
12 The author clearly derives the name of Rhegium from this incident （Ρήγιον from ἀπορρήγνυσι）. The story of the escape of the bull, or heifer, and the pursuit of it by Herakles was told by Hellanicus. See Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. Rom. i.35.2. It is somewhat singular that Apollodorus passes so lightly over the exploits of Herakles in Italy, and in particular that he says nothing about those adventures of his at Rome, to which the Romans attached much significance. For the Italian adventures of the hero, and his sojourn in Rome, see Diod. 4.20-22; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiq. Rom. i.34ff., 38-44; Prop. iv.9; Verg. A. 8.201ff.; Ovid, Fasti i.543ff. On the popularity of the worship of Herakles in Italy, see Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiq. Rom. i.40.6, who says: “And in many other parts of Italy （besides Rome） precincts are consecrated to the god, and altars are set up both in cities and beside roads; and hardly will you find a place in Italy where the god is not honoured.”
13 Some of the ancients supposed that the name of Italy was derived from the Latin vitulus, “a calf.” See Varro, Re. Rust. ii.1.9; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiq. Rom. i.35.2; compare Aulus Gellius xi.1.2.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.