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Hesperides

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Helios
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« on: June 16, 2007, 08:45:28 pm »

In Greek mythology, the Hesperides (Greek: Ἑσπερίδες) are nymphs who tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in Libya, or on a distant blessed island at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean.[1]

According to the Sicilian Greek poet Stesichorus, in his poem the "Song of Geryon", and the Greek geographer Strabo, in his book Geographika (volume III), the Hesperides are in Tartessos, a location placed in the south of Iberia (Spain). The Euboean Greek poet Hesiod said that the ancient name of Cßdiz was Erytheia, another name for the Hesperides. Others[citation needed] situate the gardens of Hesperides in the region located between Tangier (formerly Tinjis) and Larache in Morocco.

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."

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Helios
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2007, 08:46:02 pm »

The evening

Ordinarily the Hesperides number three, like the other Greek triads (the Three Graces and the Moirae). "Since the Hesperides themselves are mere symbols of the gifts the apples embody, they cannot be actors in a human drama. Their abstract, interchangeable names are a symptom of their impersonality," Evelyn Harrison has observed;[2] nevertheless, among the names given to them, though never all at once, are Aegle ("dazzling light"), Arethusa, Erytheia (or Erytheis), Hesperia (alternatively Hespereia, Hespere, Hespera, Hesperusa, or Hesperethoosa). Lipara, Asterope and Chrysothemis are named in a Hesperide scene of the apotheosis of Heracles on a late fifth-century hydria by the Meidias Painter in London[3] They are sometimes called the Western Maidens, the Daughters of Evening, or Erythrai, the "Sunset Goddesses", designations all apparently tied to their imagined location in the distant west. Hesperis is appropriately the personification of the evening (as Eos is of the dawn) and the Evening Star is Hesperus. In addition to their tending of the garden, they were said to have taken great pleasure in singing.

They are sometimes portrayed as the evening daughters of Night (Nyx) and Darkness (Erebus), in accord with the way Eos in the farthermost east, in Colchis, is the daughter of the titan Hyperion. Or they are listed as the daughters of Atlas, or of Zeus and either Hesperius or Themis, or Phorcys and Ceto.

Erytheia ("the red one") is one of the Hesperides. The name was applied to the island close to the coast of southern Hispania, that was the site of the original Punic colony of Gades (modern Cadiz). Pliny's Natural History (4.36) records of the island of Gades: "On the side which looks towards Spain, at about 100 paces distance, is another long island, three miles wide, on which the original city of Gades stood. By Ephorus and Philistides it is called Erythia, by TimŠus and Silenus Aphrodisias, and by the natives the Isle of Juno." The island was the seat of Geryon, who was overcome by Heracles.

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
Helios
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 08:47:15 pm »



The Garden of the Hesperides by Frederick, Lord Leighton, 1892
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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
Helios
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 08:47:47 pm »

The Garden of the Hesperides is Hera's orchard in the west, where either a single tree or a grove of immortality-giving golden apples grew. The apples were planted from the fruited branches that Gaia gave to her as a wedding gift when Hera accepted Zeus. The Hesperides were given the task of tending to the grove, but occasionally plucked from it themselves. Not trusting them, Hera also placed in the garden a never-sleeping, hundred-headed, dragon, named Ladon, as an additional safeguard.

In his book The Greatest Salesman in the World, Mandino refers to the Garden of Hesperides in the The Scroll Marked I. It reads "Failure no longer will be my payment for struggle. Just as nature made no provision for my body to tolerate pain neither has it made any provision for my life to suffer failure. Failure, like pain is alien to my life. In the past I accepted it as I accepted pain. Now I reject it and I am prepared for wisdom and principles which will guide me out of the shadows into the sunlight of wealth, position, and happiness far beyond my most extravagant dreams until even the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides will seem no more than my just reward."

In the fantasy series the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, there is a place known as the Garden of Hesperides. It is destroyed by Hamnet before the book begins.

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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
Helios
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 08:48:25 pm »

The Eleventh Labour of Heracles

In order to make twelve out of the ten labours of Heracles, it was suggested that Eurystheus discounted those where Heracles was aided or paid, and so two additional labours were given. The first of these was to steal the apples from the garden of the Hersperides. Heracles first caught Nereus, the shape-shifting sea god, to learn where the Garden of the Hesperides was located.[4]

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. Antaeus was killed by suspending him in a tree.

Occasionally, versions tell that Heracles stopped in Egypt, where King Busiris decided to make him the yearly sacrifice, but Heracles burst out of his chains.

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). 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. According to an alternative version, Heracles slew Ladon instead.

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.

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. Later, William Shakespeare wrote "For valour, is not Love a Hercules. Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?" (Love's Labours Lost, IV.III).
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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
Helios
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2007, 08:49:20 pm »

Origin

Directly above Libra is the constellation Ursa Minor. Ursa Minor was considered a constellation only after the 6th century BC, at which point it was thought of as a small bear. Before that time it was considered to be seven sisters, specifically, the Hesperides, who also formed the wing of the constellation Draco (although since Roman times, the wing has been no longer thought of as part of Draco).

The constellation Ursa Major lies between Ursa Minor and the ecliptic in Libra. In ancient times it was thought of as an apple tree,[citation needed] having its three apples, the brightest stars in its constellation, in what is now considered the bear's tail. Between Ursa Minor and Ursa Major is the constellation Draco, the dragon, which appears to be protecting both the tail stars, the apples, of Ursa Major, and sits as the front line behind which are the stars of Ursa Minor. Draco looks menacingly toward the sun when it is in Libra.[citation needed]

Intimately associated with this group of constellations is the constellation of Bo÷tes, which is between them and Libra. Early legends concerning the constellation of Bo÷tes reflected the fact that parts of it are close to Polaris, the pole star, and as such, it was considered to be the man who held up the heavens, Atlas. His three sets of seven daughters were considered to be the groups of small constellations of seven stars, the Hespirides, the Hyades, and the Pleiades. Bo÷tes appears to be heading toward Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (which is why it is also known as the Bear Watcher).

The Greeks did not consider Libra as a separate constellation (considering it part of Scorpio), it is uncertain as to what took its place, but it may have been Bo÷tes, since it is a large constellation in the approximate area. Since Bo÷tes is not actually on the ecliptic, or part of the zodiac band, the place it should occupy in the zodiac itself is vacant, and thus the sun, when in Libra, can be said to have taken its place.

The presence of the giant Antaeus in some tellings of the tale may be indicative of a second application of the constellations, namely a myth concerning Bo÷tes, and how Bo÷tes is not in contact with the ecliptic, though it stands as if it ought to be.
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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
Helios
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2007, 08:50:17 pm »

Notes
1.   ^ A confusion of the Garden of the Hesperides with an equally idyllic Arcadia is a modern one, conflating Sir Philip Sidney's Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia and Robert Herrick's Hesperides: both are viewed by Renaissance poets as oases of bliss, but they were not connected by the Greeks. The development of Arcadia as an imagined setting for pastoral is the contribution of Theocritus to Hellenistic culture: see Arcadia (utopia).
2.   ^ Evelyn B. Harrison, "Hesperides and Heroes: A Note on the Three-Figure Reliefs", Hesperia 33.1 (January 1964 pp. 76-82) pp 79-80.
3.   ^ Illustrated in Harrison 1964:plate 13. Beyond the group sits Hygeia, perhaps giving rise to a mistaken impressionm that there might be four Hesperides. Sometimes two of the three are represented with Heracles when the symmetry of a composition requires it, as in the so-called "Three-Figure Reliefs". A good survey of Hesprerides representations on fourth-century vases is Dieter Metzler, Les representations dans la cÚramique attique du IVe siŔcle (1951) pp 204-10.
4.   ^ In some versions of the tale, Heracles was directed to ask Prometheus. As payment, he freed Prometheus from his daily torture. This tale is more usually found in the position of the Erymanthian Boar, since it is associated with Chiron choosing to forgo immortality and taking Prometheus' place.
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"This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together..."
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