Erymanthian Boar | Mythic Creature

Erymanthian Boar Greek Mythology

The Erymantean boar (Greek: ἐρυμάνθιος κάπρος erymánthios kápros, Latin: aper erymanthius) - in Greek mythology, a giant boar wreaking havoc on the slopes of Mount Erymantos.

The Erymanthian wild boar prowled in Arcadia, around Erymantos or on the mountain itself (according to some sources, a river is involved). It was characterized by its large size. It posed a threat to humans and other animals.

Defeating the Eurythraean boar is counted among the twelve labors of Heracles. In a fit of madness sent by Hera, Heracles deprived his family of their lives, causing the gods to condemn him to perform the twelve works assigned to him by Eurystheus, king of Mycenae.

The latter commissioned him first to kill the Nemean lion and then the hydra of Lerna. The subsequent order of the work varies. According to Parandowski, the hero's third job was the capture of the Cerinthian doe, while Schmidt, Pierre Grimal and other authors place the boar of Erymanthus as the third job directly after the hydra.

Immediately after the previous task, Eurystheus devised a new job for Heracles. The son of Zeus set out for the area of Erymanthus in winter to collect a boar, which he was to deliver to the ruler alive. The task was not easy.

The son of Alcumenae searched for months for the boar in the forests. In the meantime, he was hosted by a centaur named Folos who came from Foloe and got into a dispute over wine, resulting in the killing of many centaurs. After burying the unfortunate dead Folos, he returned to hunting.

Eventually, however, he managed to track down a boar. Here again the versions differ. According to one, he caught the boar in a net. According to another, with a shout he drove the animal out of the thicket and chased it for a long time in the deep snow until the tired odyssey suffered fainting or got stuck in the snow.

This version is given by Parandowski and Grimal. The hunter took the large boar on his back or shoulders and went with him to the king of Mycenae. The ruler, cowardly in nature, was terrified of the animal and hid in a great vat of bronze or barrel inside his palace.

However, he credited Heracles with the job and sent him out again with the goal of cleaning out Augias' stable or capturing the Cerinthian doe.

The tusks supposed to belong to a boar from Erymanthus were shown at Kume in Campania.

A different version and interpretation is presented by Robert Graves. He writes that Heracles first jumped on the boar's back, then bound the animal with a chain.

He left the monster in the Mycenaean marketplace while the monarch was still sitting in a bronze barrel, as he learned of the Argonauts' expedition for the golden fleece. The boar was later killed by someone else.

Graves sees the boar as a symbol of the moon because of its curved tusks, as well as the disguised boar's brother-substitute holy king killing and castrating his twin.

He reads the snowy scenery as an indication of the winter solstice, which in turn he links to the abolition of the Egyptian taboo on the boar, and thus from Heracles capturing the boar he comes to Horus killing Set. In addition, he sees in the name Erymantos a drawn replacement for the ruler of the previous year.