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Fourth Labor - Hercules (Heracles - Herakles)

Hercules Labor 4 - Erymanthian Boar


Hercules Brings Eurytheus the Erymanthian boar. Attic Black-figured Amphora, c. 550 B.C.

Hercules Brings Eurytheus the Erymanthian boar. Attic Black-figured Amphora, c. 550 B.C.

Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.
Apollodorus Labor 4
This is a retelling of the fourth of twelve labors the Greek hero Hercules performed for Eurystheus.
Capturing the Erymanthian Boar to bring it to Eurystheus would not have proved particularly challenging to our hero. Even bringing the frightening tusked beast live might not have been so hard, but every task had to be an adventure. So Hercules dawdled, and spent time hedonistically enjoying the finer things in life in the company of one of his friends, a centaur, Pholus, son of Silenus. Pholus offered him a cooked meat meal, but tried to keep the wine corked. Unfortunately, Hercules prevailed upon him to let him have a drink.

It was a divine, aged wine, with a heady aroma that drew the other, less friendly centaurs from miles around. It was their wine, too, and not really Hercules' to commandeer, but Hercules chased them away by shooting arrows at them.

Amid the shower of arrows, the centaurs scurried off to Hercules' friend, the centaur teacher and immortal Chiron. One of the arrows grazed the Chiron's knee. Hercules removed it, and applied a medicine, but it wasn't enough. With the wounding of the centaur Hercules learned the potency of the gall of the Hydra in which he had dipped his arrows. Burning up from the wound, but unable to die, Chiron was in agony until Prometheus stepped in and offered to become immortal in Chiron's place. The exchange was accomplished and Chiron was allowed to die. Another stray arrow killed Hercules' erstwhile host Pholus.

After the melee, Hercules, saddened and angered by the deaths of his friends Chiron and Pholus, continued on his mission. Filled with adrenaline, he easily outran and trapped the cold, tired boar. Hercules brought the boar (without further incident) to King Eurystheus.

Labor 3 | Labor 5 | Hercules Labor TOC

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