Diodorus Siculus

BOOK IV - The Library of History

Page 141


An Account of Atlas and his Daughters, call'd Atlantides and Hesperides. The Amazons routed by Theseus in Attica. The further Acts of Hercules; he goes against Leomedon King of Troy, and other Acts. The Story of Meleager Son of King Oeneus. Amalthea's Horn. Hercules his further Acts. His Death by a poyson'd Shirt.

BUT we are not to omit what is said of Atlas, and the Original of the Hesperides. In the Country call'd Hesperis, liv'd Two famous Brothers, Hesperus and Atlas; They were possess'd of most lovely Sheep, of a Ruddy and Golden Colour, for which cause the Poets in their Phrase call'd them Golden Apples.

Hesperis the Daughter of Hesperus was married to his Brother Atlas, whence the Country was call'd Hesperis; by her Atlas had Seven Daughters, which from their Father were call'd Atlantides, and from their Mother Hesperides. Busiris King of Egypt having a great desire to injoy these Virgins by reason of their extraordinary Beauty, sent out some Pirates, with Orders to seize these Ladies, and bring them away to him.

About this time Hercules being imploy'd in his last Labour, kill'd Anteus in Lybia, who compell'd those Strangers that came into his Country, to wrestle with him; and inflicted condign Punishment upon Busiris in Egypt, who sacrific'd all Strangers that (arriv'd there) to Jupiter. Afterward passing over the River Nile, he came into Ethiopia, and kill'd Ematheon the Ethiopian King, who had challeng'd him to a Battel: And then he again set upon the Task injoin'd him. In the mean time the Thieves hurried away the Girls out of a Garden where they were Playing, and in great haste got to their Ships; whom Hercules met with upon a certain Shoar, where they were refreshing themselves; and being inform'd by the Virgins of the Rape, he kill'd all the Thieves, but deliver'd the Girls to Atlas their Father; for which Kindness he was so grateful, that he not only readily assisted him with what things were needful for the accomplishment of what he had then in hand, but willingly taught him the Art of Astrology: For he bestowed much of his Care and Pains in the Study of this Art; and because he had a curiously wrought Sphear of the Stars, he was said to carry the whole World upon his Shoulders. In the like manner Hercules tranferring the Doctrine of the Spheres to the Greeks, gain'd a Name, as he that from Atlas took upon himself the burden of the whole World: The Greeks darkly signifying thereby what then happened betwixt him and Atlas.

While Hercules was thus imploy'd, they say, those Amazons that were left, gather'd all in a Body from all Parts of the Nation, to the River Thermodon, with a Design to revenge themselves upon the Grecians, for the Losses they sustain'd by Hercules; and they bore a particular grudge and hatred to the Athenians, because that Theseus carry'd away Captive Antiope, (or as others write) Hippolytes, Queen of the Amazons.

Being therefore join'd with the Scythians, as their Confederates, they rais'd a great Army, with which the Amazonian Leaders passing over the Cimerian Bosphorus, marcht through Thrace, and pierc'd through a great part of Europe, and incamp'd at length in Attica, at a Place which from them is now call'd the Amazonian Field. Theseus having intelligence of their Approach, marcht out against them with an Army rais'd from among the Citizens, taking along with him Antiope, by whom he had now his Son Hippolytus. Battel being join'd, those with Theseus through the Valour of the Athenians won the day, and slew part of the Amazons upon the spot, and drave all the rest out of Attica. There Antiope in the defence of her Husband, fought bravely, and dy'd in Battel like a Hero. Those Amazons that remain'd, despairing ever to recover their Country, went away with the Seythians their Confederates into Seythia, and there seated themselves.

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