Mares of Diomedes


Mares of Diomedes
Mares of Diomedes
AKA: Mares of Thrace
Mosaico Trabajos Hércules (M.A.N. Madrid) 08.jpg
Heracles capturing the Mares of Diomedes. Roman mosaic, 3rd century AD
Mythology Greek mythology
Grouping Legendary creature
Sub-grouping Man-eating horses
Country Greece
Region Thrace

The Mares of Diomedes, also called the Mares of Thrace, were four man-eating horses in Greek mythology. Magnificent, wild, and uncontrollable, they belonged to the giant Diomedes (not to be confused with Diomedes, son of Tydeus), king of Thrace, a son of Ares and Cyrene who lived on the shores of the Black Sea. Bucephalus, Alexander the Great's horse was said to be descended from these mares.

The Eighth Labour of Heracles

After capturing the Cretan bull, Heracles was to steal the Mares. In one version of the story, Heracles brought a number of youths to help him. They took the mares and were chased by Diomedes and his men.

Heracles was not aware that the horses, called Podagros (the fast), Lampon (the shining), Xanthos (the blond) and Deinos (the terrible), were kept tethered to a bronze manger because they were wild; their madness being attributed to an unnatural diet of human flesh.[1] Some versions say that they expelled fire when they breathed. They were man-eating and uncontrollable, and Heracles left his favoured companion, Abderus, in charge of them while he fought Diomedes, and found out that the boy was eaten. In revenge, Heracles fed Diomedes to his own horses, then founded Abdera next to the boy's tomb.

In another version, Heracles stayed awake so that he didn't have his throat cut by Diomedes in the night, and cut the chains binding the horses. Having scared the horses onto the high ground of a peninsula, Heracles quickly dug a trench through the peninsula, filling it with water, thus making it an island. When Diomedes arrived, Heracles killed him with an axe (the one used to dig the trench), and fed the body to the horses to calm them.

Both versions have eating make the horses calmer, and Heracles took the opportunity to bind their mouths shut, and easily took them back to King Eurystheus, who dedicated the horses to Hera. In some versions, they were allowed to roam freely around Argos, having become permanently calm, but in others, Eurystheus ordered the horses taken to Olympus to be sacrificed to Zeus, but Zeus refused them, and sent wolves, lions, and bears to kill them. Roger Lancelyn Green states in his Tales of the Greek Heroes that their descendants were used in the Trojan War. After the incident, Eurystheus sent Heracles to bring back Hippolyta's Girdle.

References

  1. ^ Horse madness (hippomania) and hippophobia, Yiannis G. Papakostas, Michael D. Daras, Ioannis A. Liappas and Manolis Markianos, History of Psychiatry 2005; 16; 467

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mares of Diomedes — /mairz/, Class. Myth. wild mares owned by Diomedes, a Thracian king, who fed them on human flesh: captured by Hercules in fulfillment of one of his labors. * * * …   Universalium

  • mares of Diomedes — /mairz/, Class. Myth. wild mares owned by Diomedes, a Thracian king, who fed them on human flesh: captured by Hercules in fulfillment of one of his labors …   Useful english dictionary

  • Diomedes (disambiguation) — Diomedes may mean: Diomedes, in Greek mythology, a hero of the Trojan War and king of Argos. Diomedes Soter, an Indo Greek king. Diomedes of Thrace, king of Thrace in Greek mythology, owner of four man eating mares in the 8th Labour of Hercules… …   Wikipedia

  • Diomedes de Tracia — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Heracles y las yeguas de Diomedes, detalles del mosaico de los doce trabajos de Heracles de Liria (España), primera mitad del …   Wikipedia Español

  • Diomedes of Thrace — This article is about the king of Thrace whose horses were stolen by Heracles. For other uses, see Diomedes (disambiguation). Summary: King Diomedes (Διομήδης) of Thrace was a giant, the son of Ares and Cyrene.[1] He lived on the shores of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Diomedes — /duy euh mee deez/, n. Class. Myth. 1. a Greek hero in the Trojan War. 2. a Thracian king who fed his wild mares on human flesh and was himself fed to them by Hercules. * * * Greek hero in the Trojan War. He was commander of 80 ships from Argos… …   Universalium

  • Diomedes — n. (Greek Mythology) heroe of the Trojan War; king of Thrace who fed human flesh to his mares and whom ultimately was fed to his wild mares by Hercules …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Diomedes — /duy euh mee deez/, n. Class. Myth. 1. a Greek hero in the Trojan War. 2. a Thracian king who fed his wild mares on human flesh and was himself fed to them by Hercules …   Useful english dictionary

  • Yeguas de Diomedes — Heracles y las Yeguas de Diomedes. Detalle del mosaico romano de Los doce trabajos de Liria (Valencia), en el M.A.N. (Madrid). El octavo de los doce trabajos de Heracles consistía en capturar a las veinte Yeguas de Diomedes, que co …   Wikipedia Español

  • Abderus — (Greek: polytonic|Ἄβδηρος) was in Greek mythology a divine hero, a son of Hermes by some accounts, and eponym of Abdera.Citation last = Schmitz first = Leonhard author link = contribution = Abderus editor last = Smith editor first = William title …   Wikipedia


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