Posts tagged Twelve Labours of Heracles (11)
Nos 1 to 10
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Richard Jones
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Cretan Bull
Heracles seems to be the only one who can keep Poseidon’s rampaging white bull under control.

WHEN King Minos of Crete promised to sacrifice to Poseidon whatever should next emerge from the sea, Poseidon kindly sent him a superb white bull. Minos, however, could not bring himself to destroy so magnificent a beast, so he kept it for himself and substituted another from his own herds.

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No. 1
2 two-part story
Edward Elgar
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Garden of the Hesperides
Two of Heracles’s labours are declared void, so to make up the number he is sent to find the Garden of the Hesperides.

WITH the cattle of Geryon, Heracles thought he had completed the ten labours appointed by the oracle. But Eurystheus judged that Heracles had had help with the Hydra and the Augean stables, and they did not count.

Instead, Heracles was commissioned to bring home three apples from a sacred tree growing the Garden of the Hesperides, daughters of the Night.

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No. 2
2 two-part story
Francesco Geminiani
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Cattle of Geryon
Heracles must get the better of a three-bodied giant and steal his cattle.

ON the tiny island of Cadiz at the southern tip of Spain there lived a herd of magnificent red cattle, guarded by a herdsman named Eurytion and his two-headed dog, Orthrus, brother of Cerberus. Their master was Geryon, a giant with three heads and bodies, joined at the hip, and Eurystheus ordered Heracles to steal his entire herd.

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No. 3
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Girdle of Hippolyte
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.

ONE day, Eurystheus’s daughter Admete expressed a fancy for the girdle of Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons, a formidable tribe of female warriors who cast off their sons and raised their daughters like men. The doting Eurystheus at once sent Heracles to fetch it from Themiscyra, on the southern shores of the Black Sea.

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No. 4
Gustav Holst
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Mares of Diomedes
Eurystheus pits his cousin against a son of Ares and some man-eating horses.

ARES, the god of war, had a son named Diomedes, lord of the Bistones, a warrior-tribe that lived near Lake Vistonida in Thrace. Down by the sea Diomedes kept a string of savage mares, chained to bronze mangers in which he gave them man’s flesh to eat.

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No. 5
Franz Joseph Haydn
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Birds of Lake Stymphalia
Our hero is sent to deal with some man-eating birds, but cannot reach their lakeside refuge.

A COLONY of birds had once sought refuge from wolves in marshy woods around Lake Stymphalia. Artemis took them for pets, and bred them to be ferocious, with bronze beaks and poisonous dung, and sharp quills they could shoot like darts. Now they ravaged crops, carried off beasts, and devoured townspeople.

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No. 6
John Playford
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Augean Stables
Heracles shows his capacity for thinking outside the box, but spoils it by trying to be just a little bit too clever.

AUGEAS, King of Elis, had kept three thousand high-spirited cattle in an enclosure near his palace for thirty years without once mucking them out, even though they were of divine race and produced mountains of potent dung.

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No. 7
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar
Snaring a wild boar turns out to be much less dangerous than keeping centaurs away from their wine.

AFTER the fiasco of the Cerynaean Hind, Eurystheus abandoned subtlety and went back to basics with the rampaging wild boar of the snow-capped Erymanthus Mountains. Heracles was ordered to bring him back alive, ideally coming to grief in the attempt.

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No. 8
Richard Jones
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Cerynaean Hind
Eurystheus sends his cousin on another labour, this time hoping the task is too delicate for the big man.

EURYSTHEUS scolded Heracles for soliciting the help of Iolaus against the Hydra, and declared the Second Labour void.

He now realised, however, that Heracles could kill any monster, so this time he commanded him to bring back, alive, a delicate, fleet-footed hind from Cerynaea, for his own private collection.

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No. 9
Muzio Clementi
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Hydra
The Greek hero thinks he has paid off more of his debt to the gods, but an unpleasant surprise awaits him.

THE second Labour appointed for Heracles seemed as hopeless as the first.

The Hydra, a serpent with nine heads, was causing havoc among the farms neighbouring the marsh of Lerna, and Heracles was to kill it.

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No. 10
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Polyword ‘Forewarned’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

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