previous next

Ἅιδου τρίκρανον σκύλακ̓: a three-headed Cerberus seems to have been the usual type in early Ionian art; while on Attic black-figure vases of the middle and later style he is two-headed: see Roscher, Lex.p. 2205. Hesiod, the first poet who names Cerberus ( Th.311), gives him fifty heads.

Ἐχίδνης θρέμμα, as in Hes. Th.310: but in Soph. O. C.1574 he is the offspring of Tartarus and Earth. In Il.8. 366 ff. Athena saves Heracles when Eurystheus sends him “ἐξ ἐρέβευς ἄξοντα κύνα στυγεροῦ Ἀΐδαο”: cp. Od.11. 623.—Pluto said that Heracles might take Cerberus, if he could do so without using any weapon. The hero succeeded, and having shown his living prize to the terrified Eurystheus, restored it to the nether world. ( Apollod.2. 5. 12§ 8.)

χρυσέων: in tragic dialogue “χρύσεος” usu. suffers synizesis, but there are several exceptions, such as fr. 313: fr. 439: Eur. Ion1175.

The golden apples, brought from the garden of the gods, originally meant the winning of immortality. Hence this “ἆθλος” properly comes after the Cerberus, though the latter is sometimes made the last ( Eur. H. F.427).

δράκοντα μήλων φύλακ̓. The garden was in the far west, where Atlas supports the sky, beyond the stream of the Oceanus ( Hes. Th.215). When Zeus espoused Hera there, a wondrous apple-tree (“μηλέα”) sprang up. This tree was committed to the care of maidens called Hesperides, daughters of Night ( Hes. Th.211), sweet singers; and it was guarded by a terrible dragon, coiled round the stem ( Eur. H. F.397, Paus.6. 19. 8). Heracles slew this dragon with poisoned arrows (Apoll. Rh. 4.1396 ff., where the monster is named “Λάδων”).

ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτοις τόποις: for “ἐπί”, cp. 356. So Hesiod Th.518πείρασιν ἐν γαίης”. Eur. Hipp.742Ἑσπερίδων δ᾽ ἐπὶ μηλόσπορον ἀκτὰν ἀνύσαιμι τᾶν ἀοιδῶν”, | “ἵν᾽ ποντομέδων πορφυρέας λίμνας” | “ναύταις οὐκέθ᾽ ὁδὸν νέμει”. The garden was sometimes placed among the Hyperboreans as by Apollod.2. 5. 11, and prob. by Aeschylus in the “Προμηθεὺς Λυόμενος”, Strabo 4, p. 183: sometimes in Libya, or in Spain.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (18 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (18):
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 311
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 518
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.5.11
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.5.12
    • Euripides, Heracles, 397
    • Euripides, Heracles, 427
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 742
    • Euripides, Ion, 1175
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 211
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 215
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 310
    • Homer, Iliad, 8.366
    • Homer, Odyssey, 11.623
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.19.8
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1574
    • Strabo, Geography, 4
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 356
    • Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 4.1396
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: