Mythology vs Comiclogy: The 11th Labor of Hercules

Posted by Radread (289 posts) - - Show Bio


 As told in Herc #2, it was told that Hercules used his incredible demigod strength to carry the entire world on his shoulders to take the apples that were guarded by Atlas. In the story, Hercules now mortal finds himself unable to truly hold the weight of a collapsed building on his shoulders and only managers to escape thanks to a storm drain. The original story said that a fter Heracles completed his first ten Labours, Eurystheus gave him two more claiming that neither the Hydra counted (because Iolaus helped Heracles) nor the Augean stables (either because he received payment for the job or because the rivers did the work). The first of these two additional Labours was to steal the apples from the garden of the Hesperides. Heracles first caught the Old Man of the Sea, the shape-shifting sea god, to learn where the Garden of the Hesperides was located.

In some variations, Heracles, either at the start or at the end of his task, meets  Antaeus , who was invincible as long as he touched his mother,  Gaia , the earth. Heracles killed Antaeus by holding him aloft and crushing him in a bear hug.

Herodotus  claims that Heracles stopped in  Egypt , where  King Busiris  decided to make him the yearly sacrifice, but Heracles burst out of his chain.


There is another variation to the story where Heracles was the only person to steal the apples, other than  Perseus , although  Athena  later returned the apples to their rightful place in the garden. They are considered by some to be the same "apples of joy" that tempted  Atalanta , as opposed to the " apple of discord " used by  Eris  to start a beauty contest on Olympus (which caused " The Siege of Troy ").Finally making his way to the Garden of the Hesperides, Heracles tricked  Atlas  into retrieving some of the golden apples for him, by offering to hold up the heavens for a little while (Atlas was able to take them as, in this version, he was the father or otherwise related to the Hesperides). This would have made this task - like the Hydra and Augean stables - void because he had received help. Upon his return, Atlas decided that he did not want to take the heavens back, and instead offered to deliver the apples himself, but Heracles tricked him again by agreeing to take his place on condition that Atlas relieve him temporarily so that Heracles could make his cloak more comfortable. Atlas agreed, but Heracles reneged and walked away, carrying the apples. According to an alternative version, Heracles slew Ladon instead.

On  Attic  pottery, especially from the late fifth century, Heracles is depicted sitting in bliss in the Gardens of the Hesperides, attended by the maidens. The stories remain very close together, in either context. 

#1 Posted by PowerHerc (82592 posts) - - Show Bio

@Radread:
Interesting and informative post.  Thanks.
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