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trial of the cause in the court of Zeus, the placation of Apollo's temper by the device of

music, the interchange of the lyre of Hermes for the wisdom of Phoebus, and to the treaty

between the two deities-one of the most elaborate, interesting, and witty myths of the


Such was the Olympian hierarchy. Besides the twelve gods, however, there were many others

believed in by the Hellenes. Such was Dionysus, the wine-god, to whom frequent reference

has already been made. As to his parentage the myths are various, the most rational being

that he was the son of Zeus and Semele, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes. She, tempted

to her ruin, was visited by Zeus, and was destroyed by his lightning; but Dionysus was

born in the midst of the thunderbolts. He was brought up in Naxos, and passed through many

and grievous toils before coming to his fame. His principal legend is that which recounts

the history of the introduction of the vine. Dionysus stood on a cliff by the sea. Some

Tyrrhenians passing in a ship saw him and took him. They bound him with vines, but they

were broken off. As they sailed away a stream of wine flowed over the deck of the vessel,

and a vine clambered up the masts. In the midst of the leaves hung bunches of luscious


One of the most famous of the myths was that of Heracles. He was the son of Zeus and

Alcmene. By his father the greatness of his physical strength was predicted. In his

cradle, as he lay sleeping, two serpents coiled themselves around him; but on waking he

clutched them by the throats and choked them to death. As he grew he became the abused

servant of Eurystheus, grandson of Perseus, who by the craft of Juno was substituted for

Heracles in the kingdom. The latter was condemned for twelve years to toil for the benefit

of man. His whole life was spent in performance of heavy tasks, too grievous to be

undertaken by any other than this divine toiler. Twelve stupendous "labors" were imposed

upon him, but neither did his patience fail nor his strength prove inadequate to his

tasks. He strangled the great lion that infested the Nemaean valley. He slew the huge,

nine-headed Lernaean hydra. He captured the Arcadian stag that had golden horns and brazen

feet, of surpassing swiftness and strength. He took the Erymanthian boar, having chased

him through the deep snow until exhausted he was caught in a snare. He cleansed the

Augean stables, where three thousand oxen had been stabled for thirty years. To wash out

the horrid aggregation the rivers Alpheus and Peneus were turned into the stalls, and the

work was done in a single day. He destroyed the birds of Stamphalia, terrible creatures

with claws and wings and beaks of brass, feeding upon the flesh of men. He captured the

mad bull of Crete that Minos had neglected to sacrifice when sent by Poseidon. He carried

away the wild mares of Diomedes that fed upon human beings, and brought them tamed to

Mycenae. He took away the girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons, which she had

received as a gift from Ares. He seized the red oxen of Geryones, guarded as they were by

the giant Eurytion and the two-headed dog Orthrus. He obtained the golden apples of the

Hesperides, given by Rhea to Juno and protected by the dragon Ladon. Finally, he seized

and carried to the upper world the three-headed dog Cerberus that stood guard at the

portals of Hades. In his further career he went about doing good to men, in beating back

the adverse forces of nature and subduing the monsters that infested the primeval world.

In tracing the course of Grecian mythology, it is quite impossible to tell precisely where

the godlike ends and the heroic begins. There is a point at which the deeds of the actor

become the exploits of a man-exaggerated doubtless beyond the range of human performance,

but still essentially the exploits of a man. At that point the myth proper descends into a

legend; the element of the supernatural gradually disappears; and tradition begins to lay

the foundation of history. But before entering the domain of what may be called the

traditions and legends of Greece as distinguished from her mythology proper- or so much of

it as appertains to the lives and deeds of the gods-it will be appropriate