The Garden of the Hesperides, also known as Domain of the Hesperides and Hera's Orchad is a world featured in Greek Mythology. It first appears in around 700 BCE and ends around 9th Century.
The Garden of the Hesperides is based on the location of the same name from Greek Mythology.
Hera's Orchad; (:"also" known as the "Garden of the Hesperides":) is Hera's orchard in the west, where either a single apple tree or a grove grows, producing golden apples that grant immortality when eaten. The trees were planted from the fruited branches that Gaia gave to Hera as a wedding gift when Hera accepted Zeus. The Hesperides were given the task of tending to the grove, but occasionally picked apples 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 the myth of the Judgement of Paris, it was from the Garden that Eris, Goddess of Discord, obtained the Apple of Discord, which led to the Trojan War.
In later years it was thought that the "golden apples" might have actually been oranges, a fruit unknown to Europe and the Mediterranean before the Middle Ages. Under this assumption, the Greek botanical name chosen for all citrus species was Hesperides and even today the Greek word for the orange fruit is πορτοκαλί (Portokali)--after the country of Portugal in Iberia near where the Garden of the Hesperides grew.
After Heracles completed his first ten Labors, Eurystheus gave him two more claiming that neither the Hydra counted (because Iolaus helped Heracles) nor the Augean stables (either because he received payment for the job or because the rivers did the work). The first of these two additional Labours was to steal the apples from the garden of the Hesperides. Heracles first caught the Old Man of the Sea, the shape-shifting sea god, to learn where the Garden of the Hesperides was located.
In some variations, Heracles, either at the start or at the end of his task, meets Antaeus, who was immortal as long as he touched his mother, Gaia, the earth. Heracles killed Antaeus by holding him aloft and crushing him in a bearhug.
Herodotus claims that Heracles stopped in Egypt, where King Busiris decided to make him the yearly sacrifice, but Heracles burst out of his chains.
Hercules stealing the golden apples from the Garden of the Hesperides. Detail of a Twelve Labours Roman mosaic from Llíria, Spain. 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). This would have made this task – like the Hydra and Augean stables – void because he had received help. 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, carrying the apples. According to an alternative version, Heracles slew Ladon instead.
There is another variation to the story where 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 (which caused "The Siege of Troy").
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.
- † denotes the deceased.
|Greek Mythology Appearances|
|"Disney's Hercules":||"Clash of the Titans (2010)":||"Wrath of the Titans":||"Once Upon a Time":||"Hercules 2014":||"Immortals":||"Myths":|
|"Rain of the Furies":||"Clash of the Titans (1981)":||"For the Love of Zeus":||"PJO & the Lightning Thief":||"PJO & the Sea of Monsters":||"Strange Case":||"More in Heaven and Hell":||"Alternate Realities":|