The Library of History

Page 147

Page 147 Eurytus, for denying to give him Iole in Marriage▪ And by the Help of the Arcadians took the City, and slew Toxeus, Molion and Pytius, the Sons of Eurytus; and carrying away Iole, made to the Promontory Cenaeus in Eubaea, where he appointed a solemn Sacrifice, and sent Lichas his Servant to Trachine to his Wife Deianira with Orders to wish her to send him his Coat and Shirt he us'd to wear when he sacrific'd to the Gods. Deianira (being inform by Lichas of her Husband's Love to Iole, and how he had a greater Love and Kindness for her than her self) anointed the Coat and Shirt with the destructive Receipt given her by the Centaur, which Lichas (ignorant of the Matter) carry'd to the Sacrifice. But as soon as Hercules put on the Garment, the Infection and Venom of the Receipt began by little and little to work, which put him at last upon the Rack in most miserable Torment. For the Poyson of the Arrow like a stinging Viper overspread the Garment, and by its scorching Heat even eat up the Flesh of his whole Body. Hercules being thus intolerably tormented forthwith kill'd his Servant Lichas; and then dismiss'd his Army, and return'd to Trachinia. But his Torment more and more increasing he sent Lioymnion and Iolus to Delphos to inquire of Apollo how he might be •• 'd. Deianira amaz'd at the Extremity of her Husband's Misery, and conscious of what she had done, hang'd her self. The Answer of the Oracle was, That with a warlike Train they should carry Hercules away to O ••a, and there raise up for him a great Pile of Wood, and Jupiter would take great Care of the rest. Iolus hereupon and those with him perform'd what was commanded, suspecting what the Issue was like to be. Hereupon Hercules (despairing of his Recovery) mounted the Pile, and earnestly desir'd those present to set it on Fire. When none would do it, at length Philocletes observ'd his Order, and put Fire under the Pile; and for a Reward Hercules gave him his Bow and Arrows; hereupon the Pile was presently on a Flame, not only by the Fire but with Thunder and Lightning from Heaven, and all was in an instant reduc'd to Ashes. Iolus afterwards seeking for his Bones, could find none at all; whence arose an Opinion that Hercules (as the Oracle had foretold) was translated from Men to the Gods. Iolus and the rest having therefore sacrific'd to him as a Demy-God, and rais'd up a great Monument in Remembrance of him, return'd to Trachinia. Afterwards Men •alus, the Son of Actor, Hercules his special Friend, instituted that in Opuntus there should be offer'd up to him every Year as to a Demy-God, a Bull, a Boar and a Goat. The Thebans did the same; and the Athenians were the first that offer'd Sacrifices to him as a God, and their pious Example first induc'd all the Grecians, and afterwards all other Nations as such to worship him.

To what we have said, we must further add this, that after his Translation to the Gods, Jupiter persuaded Juno to adopt Hercules for her Son; and ever after she bore towards him a Motherly Affection. And they report, that this Adoption was brought about in this manner; Juno being gone to Bed, and Hercules layd close to her Body, she dropt down from under her Cloaths to the Ground; which Rite and Ceremony the Barbarians use in adopting of a Son to this day. They feign that afterwards Juno marry'd him to Hebe; and in the Story of the Dead the Poet introduces his Ghost in these Words,—

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
Among the Gods he feasts with Hymns
And in fair Hebe joys and sings.

But they report that when Jupiter would have him to be one of the Twelve Gods; Hercules refus'd that Honour; for that it was impossible for him to be taken into the Number, unless one of the Twelve were rejected, and it was an unseemly thing to accept such an Honour with the Disgrace of another God.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books