The Library of History

Page 135

Page 135 But Prometheus because he stole Fire from Heaven, and handed it to Men, was clapt in Chains by Jupiter, who caus'd an Eagle to seize and feed continually upon his Liver: But Hercules seeing that he suffered so much for his Kindness to Mankind, shot the Bird with an Arrow, and then having pacify'd Jove, freed this common Benefactor from all farther trouble.

Afterwards he was injoyn'd to bring away Diomedes King of Thrace's Mares, which were kept in Stalls of Brass, and (by reason of their Strength and Fierceness) ty'd up in Iron Chains. Their Provender was not from the Product of the Earth, but they were fed with the Flesh of miserable Strangers that came thither, cut in small Pieces for that purpose. Hercules to gain Possession of them, laid their own Master Diomedes before them, who satiating their Hunger by his Flesh, who had wickedly taught them to feed upon Flesh, thereby became tame and manageable. Euristheus when they were brought to him, dedicated them to Juno, and their Breed continu'd to the time of Alexander the Great. When he had perform'd this Labour, he saild with Jason to Colchos, to bring away the Golden Fleece by force of Arms. But of this we shall speak, when we come to the Expedition of the Argonauts.

Then he was commanded to strip Hyppolyta the Amazon of her Belt. Hereupon resolving upon a War against the Amazons, he sail'd into Pontus, from him call'd Euxinus, and arriving at the Mouth of the River Thermodon, he incampt near the City Themiscyra, the Seat Royal of the Amazons: And first he demanded the Belt to be deliver'd to him; which being refus'd, he join'd Battel with them.

The choice and most noble of the Amazons were drawn up against Hercules, the rest of the Army oppos'd the other ordinary Troops, so that there was a very sharp Ingagement. The first that fought Hand to Hand with him, was Aella, so call'd from her swiftness; but she found her Enemy swifter than her self: The Second was Philippis, who upon the first Onset, receiv'd a Mortal Wound, and fell down Dead. Then Prothoe entred the List, who, they say, Seven times baffl'd her Enemy in single Combat; but she being at length slain, he kill'd the Fourth call'd Eribea. She was so confident in her strength and feats of Arms, that she us'd to boast she needed none to second her; but meeting with one stronger than her self, she presently experienc'd the vanity of her boasting.

After these Celaenus, Euryaea and Phobe, Companions with Diana in Hunting, (who never us'd to miss their Mark, yet now could none of them hit one,) in defending one another, were all kill'd together upon the Spot. Then he overcame Deianita, Asteria, Marpes, Tecmessa and Alcippe. The last mention'd had vow'd perpetual Virginity, and kept their Oaths, but could not preserve their Lives. Melanippe also the Queen of the Amazons, (who was famous and highly admir'd every where for her Valour) then lost her Kingdom. The chief of the Amazons being thus cut off, he forc'd the rest to fly, and killing most of them in the pursuit, wholly destroy'd and rooted up that Nation. Of the Prisoners he gave Antiope to Theseus, but Melanippe he discharg'd, having first taken from her her Belt.

After this, a Tenth Labour was impos'd upon him by Eurystheus, and that was to drive away the Oxen of Geryon that pastur'd in Iberia near to the Ocean. Hercules perceiving he could not perform this Task without much trouble and great preparation, set forth a brave Fleet, and mann'd it with such a number of Seamen and Souldiers, as such an Expedition justly requir'd: For it was nois'd Abroad through the whole World, that Chrysaores (so call'd from his Riches) King of Iberia, had Three Sons, strong Bodied Men, and famous for Martial Affairs, and that each of them had great Armies of Valiant Men, constantly at hand attending upon them; which was the reason Euristheus impos'd this Task upon him, conceiving this Expedition was greater than he was ever able to perform: But Hercules undertook this with as much considence as he had done those before, and commanded Forces to be rais'd in Crete, whence he resolv'd to set forth; this Island being the most convenient Port from whence to make any Expedition into any part

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books