Wednesday, 22 October 2014

THE STABLES OF AUGEIAS

The Stables of #Augeias
The #Labors of #Heracles 5

Apparent ancient Roman and Greek artists didn't find cleaning out stables an inspiring subject. I did manage  find one image.  This is an example of a type of Roman mosaic using what we might call a "Stick image"  that depicts Heracles digging through rock. We know it is meant to depict the Augeian Stable Labor since similar iamges often appear as part of a sequence depicting all 12 labors.


AUGEIAS was the King of Elis in the NW Peloponnese region of Greece.

Elis is spelt with a LONG E in Classical Greece. EELIS.

Now Heracles offered to clear Augeias cattle yards of dung in ONE DAY and the  story claims these yards hadn't been cleared since they were first built. 

Cow manure makes great fertilizer but perhaps Augeias refused to share his supply with his people which may be another reason Heracles got involved. 

The location of these cattle  yards may have been in an area now covered by a dam where two rivers join the Peneios and Ladon as there was a Mycenaean settlement on the nearby hill of Armatova near Agraidhokhori thought to have been ELEAN PYLOS. 

Nestors PYLOS was in Messene further south. 

Heracles succeeded in doing this in one day by diverting the waters of two rivers thru walls he smashed though the depiction in Roman art of him digging suggests to me a more prosaic form of the story in which he made use of existing irrigation channels to direct those river waters into the yards. 

I suspect farmers further  downstream were probably extremely pleased to get their fields fertilized for free?