Mares of Diomedes | Mythical Horses

Mares of Diomedes Greek Mythology

The Horses of Diomedes, in Greek mythology, sowed terror and lived tied by iron chains to their bronze troughs. Their owner, Diomedes, fed them human flesh. Diomedes was the king of the Bistones, a warrior race, and was the son of Ares and Cyrene.

They were Podargo or the "Shining Foot", Lampon or the "Resplendor", Xanthus or the "Yellow" and Deino or the "Terrible".

Heracles in his 8th job was charged with capturing Diomedes' four horses and taking them to Mycenae, which he did with the bravery, strength and talent that characterized him.

He sailed to Thrace with a group of volunteers and released the horses, however when the Bistones came to retrieve the horses, he turned the horses over to the guard of Abdero, son of Hermes, who was killed by the horses. Heracles defeated the Bistones, killed Diomedes and made the others flee.

At the place where Abdero died, he founded the city of Abdera. Heracles finally took the horses to Eurystheus, but he let the horses free, and they went to Mount Olympus, where they were killed by wild beasts.

In another version, Hercules went to Thrace alone, stood before Diomedes, whom he killed with his famous mace, and dragged his inert body to the shore of a large artificial lake that he himself had built, making a tunnel between the lowlands and the sea, and handed it over to the four wild, carnivorous horses that he had meanwhile freed and installed on a hillside surrounded by the waters of the lake.

Once fed with the meat of Diomedes, king of Thrace, the horses, whose voracity had calmed down, could be meekly captured by Hercules, who thus victoriously fulfilled his eighth task.