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[9]

The ninth labour he enjoined on Hercules was to bring the belt of Hippolyte.1 She was queen of the Amazons, who dwelt about the river Thermodon, a people great in war; for they cultivated the manly virtues, and if ever they gave birth to children through intercourse with the other sex, they reared the females; and they pinched off the right breasts that they might not be trammelled by them in throwing the javelin, but they kept the left breasts, that they might suckle. Now Hippolyte had the belt of Ares in token of her superiority to all the rest. Hercules was sent to fetch this belt because Admete, daughter of Eurystheus, desired to get it. So taking with him a band of volunteer comrades in a single ship he set sail and put in to the island of Paros, which was inhabited by the sons of Minos,2 to wit, Eurymedon, Chryses, Nephalion, and Philolaus. But it chanced that two of those in the ship landed and were killed by the sons of Minos. Indignant at this, Hercules killed the sons of Minos on the spot and besieged the rest closely, till they sent envoys to request that in the room of the murdered men he would take two, whom he pleased. So he raised the siege, and taking on board the sons of Androgeus, son of Minos, to wit, Alcaeus and Sthenelus, he came to Mysia, to the court of Lycus, son of Dascylus, and was entertained by him; and in a battle between him and the king of the Bebryces Hercules sided with Lycus and slew many, amongst others King Mygdon, brother of Amycus. And he took much land from the Bebryces and gave it to Lycus, who called it all Heraclea.

Having put in at the harbor of Themiscyra, he received a visit from Hippolyte, who inquired why he was come, and promised to give him the belt. But Hera in the likeness of an Amazon went up and down the multitude saying that the strangers who had arrived were carrying off the queen. So the Amazons in arms charged on horseback down on the ship. But when Hercules saw them in arms, he suspected treachery, and killing Hippolyte stripped her of her belt. And after fighting the rest he sailed away and touched at Troy.

But it chanced that the city was then in distress consequently on the wrath of Apollo and Poseidon. For desiring to put the wantonness of Laomedon to the proof, Apollo and Poseidon assumed the likeness of men and undertook to fortify Pergamum for wages. But when they had fortified it, he would not pay them their wages.3 Therefore Apollo sent a pestilence, and Poseidon a sea monster, which, carried up by a flood, snatched away the people of the plain. But as oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster, he exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea.4 Seeing her exposed, Hercules promised to save her on condition of receiving from Laomedon the mares which Zeus had given in compensation for the rape of Ganymede.5 On Laomedon's saying that he would give them, Hercules killed the monster and saved Hesione. But when Laomedon would not give the stipulated reward,6 Hercules put to sea after threatening to make war on Troy.7

And he touched at Aenus, where he was entertained by Poltys. And as he was sailing away he shot and killed on the Aenian beach a lewd fellow, Sarpedon, son of Poseidon and brother of Poltys. And having come to Thasos and subjugated the Thracians who dwelt in the island, he gave it to the sons of Androgeus to dwell in. From Thasos he proceeded to Torone, and there, being challenged to wrestle by Polygonus and Telegonus, sons of Proteus, son of Poseidon, he killed them in the wrestling match.8 And having brought the belt to Mycenae he gave it to Eurystheus.


1 As to the expedition of Herakles to fetch the belt of the Amazon, see Eur. Herc. 408ff.; Ap. Rhod., Argon. ii.777ff., 966ff., with the Scholiast on 778, 780; Diod. 4.16; Paus. 5.10.9; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica vi.240ff.; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.309ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 1327(who follows Apollodorus and cites him by name); Hyginus, Fab. 30.

2 According to Diod. 5.79.2, Rhadamanthys bestowed the island of Paros on his son Alcaeus. Combined with the evidence of Apollodorus, the tradition points to a Cretan colony in Paros.

3 Compare Hom. Il. 7.452ff., Hom. Il. 21.441-457. According to the former of these passages, the walls of Troy were built by Poseidon and Apollo jointly for king Laomedon. But according to the latter passage the walls were built by Poseidon alone, and while he thus toiled as a mason, Apollo served as a herdsman, tending the king's cattle in the wooded glens of Ida. Their period of service lasted for a year, and at the end of it the faithless king not only dismissed the two deities without the stipulated wages which they had honestly earned, but threatened that, if they did not take themselves off, he would tie Apollo hand and foot and sell him for a slave in the islands, not however before he had lopped off the ears of both of them with a knife. Thus insulted as well as robbed, the two gods retired with wrath and indignation at their hearts. This strange tale, told by Homer, is alluded to by Pind. O. 8.30(40)ff., who adds to it the detail that the two gods took the hero Aeacus with them to aid them in the work of fortification; and the Scholiast on Pindar (pp. 194ff. ed. Boeckh) explains that, as Troy was fated to be captured, it was necessary that in building the walls the immortals should be assisted by a mortal, else the city would have been impregnable. The sarcastic Lucian tells us (Lucian, De sacrificiis 4) that both Apollo and Poseidon laboured as bricklayers at the walls of Troy, and that the sum of which the king cheated them was more than thirty Trojan drachmas. The fraud is alluded to by Verg. G. 1.502 and Hor. Carm. 3.3.21ff. Compare Hyginus, Fab. 89; Ov. Met. 11.194ff.; Serv. Verg. A. 8.157; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 43ff., 138 (First Vatican Mythographer 136; Second Vatican Mythographer 193). Homer does not explain why Apollo and Poseidon took service with Laomedon, but his Scholiast on Hom. Il. xxi.444, in agreement with Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 34, says that their service was a punishment inflicted on them by Zeus for a conspiracy into which some of the gods had entered for the purpose of putting him, the supreme god, in bonds. The conspiracy is mentioned by Hom. Il. 1.399ff.), who names Poseidon, Hera, and Athena, but not Apollo, among the conspirators; their nefarious design was defeated by the intervention of Thetis and the hundred-handed giant Briareus. We have already heard of Apollo serving a man in the capacity of neatherd as a punishment for murder perpetrated by the deity (see above, Apollod. 1.9.15, with the note). These back-stair chronicles of Olympus shed a curious light on the early Greek conception of divinity.

4 For the story of the rescue of Hesione by Herakles, see Diod. 4.42; Scholiast on Hom. Il. xx.146; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 34; Ov. Met. 11.211ff.; Valerius Flaccus, Argon. ii.451ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 89; Serv. Verg. A. 8.157; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 44 (First Vatican Mythographer 136). A curious variant of the story is told, without mention of Hesione, by the Second Vatican Mythographer (193, i. p. 138). Tzetzes says that Herakles, in full armour, leaped into the jaws of the sea-monster, and was in its belly for three days hewing and hacking it, and that at the end of the three days he came forth without any hair on his head. The Scholiast on Hom. Il. xx.146 tells the tale similarly, and refers to Hellanicus as his authority. The story of Herakles and Hesione corresponds closely to that of Perseus and Andromeda (see Apollod. 2.4.3). Both tales may have originated in a custom of sacrificing maidens to be the brides of the Sea. Compare The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, ii.150ff.

5 The horses were given by Zeus to Tros, the father of Ganymede. See Hom. Il. 5.265ff.; HH Aphr. 210ff.; Paus. 5.24.5. According to another account, which had the support of a Cyclic poet, the compensation given to the bereaved father took the shape, not of horses, but of a golden vine wrought by Hephaestus. See Scholiast on Eur. Or. 1391. As the duty of Ganymede was to pour the red nectar from a golden bowl in heaven (HH Aphr. 206), there would be a certain suitability in the bestowal of a golden vine to replace him in his earthly home.

6 As to the refusal of Laomedon to give the horses to Herakles, see Hom. Il. 5.638-651, Hom. Il. 21.441-457; Ov. Met. 11.213ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 69. Laomedon twice broke his word, first to Poseidon and Apollo and afterwards to Herakles. Hence Ovid speaks of “the twice-perjured walls of Troy” (Ov. Met. 11.215).

7 As to the siege and capture of Troy by Herakles, see below, Apollod. 2.6.4.

8 Compare Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.320 sq.

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