The 7th Labour of Hercules


Whistling merrily at his success so far, Hercules was then sent to capture the bull by Eurystheus as his seventh task.

He sailed to Crete, whereupon the King Minos, gave Hercules permission to take the bull away and offered him assistance (which Hercules declined because of pride) as it had been wreaking havoc on Crete by uprooting crops and leveling orchard walls. Hercules sneaked up behind the bull and then used his hands to throttle it (stopping before it was killed), and then shipped it back to Athens. Eurystheus, who hid in his pithos at first sight of the creature, wanted to sacrifice the bull to Hera, who hated Hercules. She refused the sacrifice because it reflected glory on Heracles. The bull was released and wandered into Marathon, becoming known as the Marathonian Bull, Theseus would later sacrifice the bull to Athena and/or Apollo. Eurystheus sent Hercules to bring back the man-eating Mares of Diomedes.

Hercules forces the bull to the ground (engraving by B. Picart, 1731)