Erymanthian Boar

Erymanthian Boar

In Greek mythology, the Erymanthian Boar is remembered in connection with The Twelve Labours, in which Heracles, the (reconciled) enemy of Hera, visited in turn "all the other sites of the Goddess throughout the world, to conquer every conceivable 'monster' of nature and rededicate the primordial world to its new master, his Olympian father," Zeus (Ruck and Staples, p.163).

In the primitive highlands of Arcadia, where old practices lingered, the Erymanthian Boar was a giant fear-inspiring creature of the wilds that lived on Mount Erymanthos, a mountain that was apparently once sacred to the Mistress of the Animals, for in classical times it remained the haunt of Artemis (Homer, "Odyssey", VI.105). A boar was a dangerous animal: "When the goddess turned a wrathful countenance upon a country, as in the story of Meleagros, she would send a raging boar, which laid waste the farmers' fields." (Kerenyi 1959, p 149) One was sent by Apollo to kill the youth Adonis, a favorite of Aphrodite, for revenge on her, as she had blinded Apollo's mortal son, Erymanthus because he had stumbled upon her bathing. Robert Graves (Graves 1955,126.1) suggested that Aphrodite had been substituted for Artemis in this retelling of the mytheme of the eponymous Erymanthus.

The Fourth Labour of Heracles

Heracles' fourth labour—by some counts, for there is no single definitive telling—was to capture the Boar. On the way there, Heracles visited Pholus ("caveman"), a kind and hospitable centaur and old friend. Heracles ate with him in his cavern—though the centaur devoured his meat raw—and asked for wine. Pholus had only one jar of wine, a gift from Dionysus to all the centaurs on Mt Erymanthus. Heracles convinced him to open it, and the smell attracted the other centaurs, who did not understand that wine needs to be tempered with water, became drunk and attacked. Heracles shot at them with his poisonous arrows, and the centaurs retreated all the way to Chiron's cave.

Pholus was curious why the arrows caused so much death, and picked one up but dropped it, and the arrow stabbed his foot, poisoning him. A stray arrow hit Chiron as well, but Chiron was immortal, although he still felt the pain. Chiron's pain was so great, he volunteered to give up his immortality, and take the place of Prometheus, who had been chained in Tartarus (part of the underworld), although he was an immortal Titan. Prometheus' torturer, the eagle, continued its torture on Chiron, so Heracles shot it dead with an arrow. It is generally accepted that the tale was meant to show Heracles as being the recipient of Chiron's surrendered immortality. The tale of the Centaurs sometimes appears in other parts of the twelve labours, as does the freeing of Prometheus.

Heracles had visited Chiron to gain advice on how to catch the boar, and Chiron had told him to drive it into thick snow, which sets this Labour in mid-winter. Having successfully caught the Boar, Heracles bound it and carried it back to Eurystheus, who was frightened of it and ducked down in his half-buried storage "pithos", begging Heracles to get rid of the beast, a favorite subject for the vase-painters. Heracles obliged.

The other most celebrated boar in Greek myth was the Calydonian boar.

ources

*Ovid, "Heroides"
*Apollodorus, ii.5.4ff
*Diodorus Siculus iv.12
*Apollonius of Rhodes i.122ff
*Pausanias, "Greece",

References

*Graves, Robert, "The Greek Myths" 1955.
*Kerenyi, Karl, "The Heroes of the Greeks" 1959.
*Carl A. P. Ruck and Danny Staples, "The World of Classical Myth," 1994.

External links

* [http://www.greekmountainflora.info/Mt%20Erymanthos%20Jalbum/Mt%20Erymanthos%20Greece.html Greek Mountain Flora]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Erymanthian boar — /er euh man thee euhn/, Class. Myth. a savage boar that plagued Arcadia and was captured by Hercules. * * * …   Universalium

  • Erymanthian boar — /er euh man thee euhn/, Class. Myth. a savage boar that plagued Arcadia and was captured by Hercules …   Useful english dictionary

  • Erymanthian boar — /ɛrəˌmænθiən ˈbɔ/ (say eruh.mantheeuhn baw) noun Greek Legend a savage beast fabled to have infested Arcadia and to have been caught by Hercules …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Boar hunting — is generally the practice of hunting wild boars, but can also extend to feral pigs and peccaries. A full sized boar is a large strong animal armed with sharp tusks which defends itself strongly. Boar hunting has often been a test of bravery.Wild… …   Wikipedia

  • Boar — Taxobox status = LC status system = iucn3.1 name = Wild Boar fossil range = Early Pleistocene Recent regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Artiodactyla familia = Suidae genus = Sus species = S. scrofa binomial = Sus scrofa …   Wikipedia

  • Calydonian Boar — The Calydonian Boar is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was… …   Wikipedia

  • The Labours of Hercules — Infobox Book | name = The Labours of Hercules title orig = translator = image caption = Dust jacket illustration of the US (true first) edition. See Publication history (below) for UK first edition jacket image. author = Agatha Christie… …   Wikipedia

  • Die Arbeiten des Herkules — (Originaltitel The Labours of Hercules) ist eine Kurzgeschichtensammlung von Agatha Christie. Sie erschien zuerst 1947 in den USA bei Dodd, Mead and Company [1] [2] und im Vereinigten Königreich im September desselben Jahres im Collins Crime Club …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mount Erymanthos — For other uses, see Erymanthus (disambiguation). Erymanthos or Erimanthos Ερύμανθος The snow capped summits of Erymanthos …   Wikipedia

  • Hercule Poirot — Poirot redirects here. For the TV series, see Agatha Christie s Poirot. Hercule Poirot David Suchet as Hercule Poirot First appearance The Mysterious Affair at Styles …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”