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CLA204H5 Chapter Notes -Cephalus, Osprey, Deianira


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA204H5
Professor
Mariapia Pietropaolo

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Reading Notes for CLA204 TEST 2
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9 (pg 199-209)
Achelous and Hercules
Achelous told Theseus and his men the story of his battle with Hercules. Achelous and Hercules were
fighting over Deianira. Achelous had been in human form, but he couldn't outmatch Hercules, so he
changed to a snake. From the snake, he transformed himself to a bull, and Hercules pinned him to the
ground and broke off one of his horns. The broken horn was made the cornucopia by his water nymphs.
Theseus and his men left Achelous' cave the next morning and Achelous turned back into water.
When Hercules was taking his wife to his home in Tiryns, they came to a swollen river. Nessus, a
centaur, offered to help Hercules get Deianira across the river. Hercules swam across and heard Deianira
yelling for him.
Assuming that the centaur was kidnapping her to rape her, Hercules shot him with an arrow tipped with
Hydra's poison. The centaur, seeking vengeance, gave his shirt covered in Hydra's poison to Deianira and
told her that it was a talisman that would renew love.
Years later, when Hercules had completed his labours and was still far from home, Deianira heard from
"Rumour who talks and loves to tangle true / With false, and from near nothing flourishes / On her own
lies" Book 9 -- Hercules, Nessus, and Deianira, line 141-3 that his heart had been captured by another
woman. She sent him the shirt not realizing that it was poisoned. Hercules, unaware of its taint, wore
the shirt.
The shirt destroyed Hercules' mortal body and he suffered awfully from Hydra's poison. He ran into the
woods and built a funeral pyre for himself and climbed atop the flames. Jove allowed the mortal part of
his son to burn away and then made him a god and placed him among the stars. Alcmena talked to Iole,
Hercules' pregnant mistress, about her son's birth.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 4-5 (pg 93-106)
Perseus and Andromeda
Perseus, whose mother, Danae, was impregnated by Jove in a shower of golden rain, flew over the earth with
Medusa's severed head in his hands. Drops of blood that fell into Libya turned into deadly snakes that remain in
the desert to this day. Blown around the earth three times, Perseus landed in the land of Atlas to rest and take off
the winged sandals he'd borrowed from Mercury and the nymphs.
Atlas was a giant who ruled the farthest lands and seas of the earth. His land was covered with golden orchards
and numerous herds. When Perseus introduced himself as the son of Jove, Atlas mistook him for the son of Jove
prophesied to steal the Golden Fleece from his orchard. To protect his treasure, Atlas tried to send Perseus away,
but Perseus would not give up. He showed the head of Medusa to Atlas, and it turned the giant into a mountain.
When Perseus began his flight over earth again, he saw Andromeda chained to a rock by the sea. He fell in love
and flew down to where she was and asked her why she was there. She bashfully and tearfully explained that her
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