HYDRA

ΥΔΡΑ

The Lernean Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, and was brought up by Hera. It ravaged the country of Lernae near Argos, and dwelt in a swamp near the well of Amymone: it was formidable by its nine heads, the middle of which was immortal. Heracles was sent to destroy it as the second of his twelve labours. He hunted the monster with burning arrows, and with his club or a sickle he cut off its heads; but in the place of the head he cut off, two new ones grew forth each time, and a gigantic crab came to the assistance of the hydra, and wounded Heracles. However, with the assistance of his faithful servant Iolaus, he burned away the heads of the hydra, and buried the ninth or immortal one under a huge rock. Having thus conquered the monster, he poisoned his arrows with its bile, whence the wounds inflicted by them became incurable. Eurystheus declared the victory unlawful, as Heracles had won it with the aid of Iolaus. (Hes. Theog. 313, &c.; Apollod. ii. 5. § 2; Diod. iv. 11; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 419, 1188, Ion, 192; Ov. Met. ix. 70; Virg. Aen. viii. 300; Paus. ii. 36. § 6, 37. § 4, v. 5. § 5; Hygin. Fab. 30.)

Hercules and the Hydra, by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898), French Symbolist painter

Hercules and the Hydra, by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898), French Symbolist painter