Friday, November 27, 2015

4th Labour of Hercules: Capturing the Erymanthian Boar

Hercules brings the Erymanthian Boar to Eurystheus, while he is hiding, alive.
Hercules brings the Erymanthian Boar to Eurystheus,
while he is hiding, alive.
Hercules 4th labour was was to bring the Erymanthian Boar back to Eurystheus alive. The Erymanthian Boar was a giant fear-inspiring wild creature that lived on Mount Erymanthos, in Arcadia. In some accounts in Greek mythology, Apollo sent this boar to kill Adonis, a favorite of Aphrodite, as revenge for the goddess blinding Apollo's son Erymanthus when he saw her bathing. The most commonly accepted version, however, states that Ares turned himself into a boar and killed Adonis out of jealousy.

On the way to Mount Erymanthos where the Boar lived, Hercules visited a kind and hospitable centaur and old friend, Pholus ("caveman"). Hercules ate with Pholus in his cavern and asked for wine. However, Pholus had only one jar of wine, a gift from Dionysus to all the centaurs on Mount Erymanthos. When Heracles drank from a jar of wine in the possession of Pholus, the neighboring centaurs smelled and, driven mad, charged into the cave. Centaurs did not understand that wine needs to be tempered with water. After drinking the wine, they became drunk and attacked Hercules. The majority were slain by Heracles, and the rest were chased to another location where the peaceful centaur Chiron was accidentally wounded by the arrows of Heracles which were soaked in the venomous blood of the Lernaean Hydra.

Chiron's pain was so great that he volunteered to give up his immortality and take the place of Prometheus, who had been chained to the top of a mountain to have his liver eaten daily by an eagle. The eagle, continued its torture on Chiron, so Hercules shot it dead with an arrow. Hercules had visited Chiron to gain advice on how to catch the Boar, and Chiron had told him to drive it into thick snow. Hercules successfully caught the Boar, bound it, and carried it back to Eurystheus.

Note that in one version of the Greek myth, Pholus was curious why the arrows caused so much death. He picked one up but dropped it, and the arrow stabbed his foot, poisoning him.