The seventh labour- The Cretan Bull
The Cretan bull by B. Picart
For his seventh labour, Hercules sailed to Crete where king Minos told him of the bull that was wreaking havoc all over his kingdom, destroying crops and demolishing orchard walls. The king gave Hercules permission to take the bull away and even offered assistance in doing so which Hercules politely declined. Hercules got the jump on the bull by sneaking up from behind it and throttled it, letting go just before it died. He then shipped it back to Tiryns. Eurystheus who hid at the first sight of the creature, wanted to sacrifice it to Hera who loathes Hercules. Hera however, declined because this offering would be a testimony of Hercules’s immense bravery. The bull was then released and it wandered into Marathon, later coming to be known as the Bull of Marathon.
The eighth labour- Mares of Diomedes
The Mares of Diomedes were horses that were particularly violent due to their diet that comprised mainly of human flesh. They were kept by King Diomedes of Thrace. They were kept tethered in bronze stables because of how violent they were. Some versions of the legend also say that they breathed fire from their mouths. Hercules left his friend and companion Abderus to keep watch on them while he fought Diomedes. After beating him, he finds that the boy was eaten. Driven by rage, he avenges him by feeding Diomedes to the mares which calms them down. He then builds the city of Abdera near the boy’s tomb. In another version, Hercules cuts the horses loose and drives them to the high ground of a peninsula. He quickly digs a trench with his axe and fills it with water, thus making an island. When Diomedes arrives, Hercules kills him with the very same axe he used to dig the trench and feeds his body to the mares to calm them down. In both versions, the ending’a pretty much the same with Hercules calming the horses with the flesh of Diomedes. He then binds their mouths and takes them back to king Eurystheus who sacrifices them to Hera. In other versions, they’re allowed to freely roam the planes of Argos where they permanently calm down. In yet another version, they’re sacrificed to Zeus. However, Zeus, dissatisfied with the mares, sent wolves, lions and bears to kill them.
The ninth labour- Belt of Hippolyta
Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons by Vittore Carpaccio
Admete, the daughter of king Eurystheus wanted the belt of Hippolyta, the queen of the amazons. The belt was a gift from her father Aries, the God of war. So, king Eurystheus charged Hercules with retrieving the belt as his ninth labour. Taking a few friends, Hercules set sail. He docked at the island of Paros which was inhabited by some sons of Minos. The sons managed to kill two of Hercules’s companions, sending Hercules on a rampage. He killed the two sons and threatened the inhabitants of the island that he wouldn’t leave until they gave him two men to replace his fallen comrades. Continuing their journey, they reach the court of Lycus. Hercules, at his request, kills King Mygdon and hands over his kingdom to his friend, Lycus who called the land Heraclea. The crew them set off for Themiscyra. Hippolyta, impressed with Hercules and his exploits had planned on giving him the belt as soon as he arrived. However, Hera infiltrated the Amazons and spread the seeds of discord, convincing them that the strangers were planning on carrying the queen of the Amazons away. The women then set out to confront Hercules. When he saw them, Hercules thought that Hippolyta was planning this treachery all along and never intended on handing over the belt. In the battle that ensued, he killed her, took the belt and returned to Eurystheus.
**All images have been taken from greekerthanthegreeks.blogspot.in
The seventh labour- The Cretan Bull