Introduction to Western Literature and Arts
Lecture Note-5: Heroes & Monsters
Ovid's Metamorphoses, Books  4, 5, 6 (Perseus Cycle)
                                     Books 7, 8, (Theseus Cycle)
                                  Books 9 (Hercules Cycle)

Table of Contents

  1. Heroic Pattern
  2. Monsters in  Greek Mythology
  3. Children of Io: Cadmus, Mino, Perseus, Hercules
  4. Webpages and Image Resources of Hercules
  5. Quiz

Heroic Pattern

Reading: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the illustrations by Sandys and Bauer
     Books  4, 5, 6 (Perseus Cycle) pp110-122
                 ( Look at the images: bauer1703b5p45-p48)
     Books 7, 8, (Theseus Cycle) pp179-186,
                 ( Look at the images: bauer1703b8p74-p75)
     Books 9 (Hercules Cycle) pp203-210.
                  Ovid did not depict the 12 labors of Hercules in details.
                  Please read the following note in GGGM.
                 ( Look at the image: sandys1640b9p1, bauer1703b9p83-p85)

What is a hero (by Laurel Bowman)
Heroic Pattern (by Laurel Bowman)
A diagram of "heroic cycle" based on Joseph Campbell

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Monsters in Greek Mythology
Some Monsters in Greek Mythology

Name Image Notes
Gryphon, Griffin, or Grifon


The hound of Zeus. But, never barked.
Attributes: half-eagle, half-lion. They guarded the gold of the north.


Attributes: Fire-bearing. Three parts: the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent.

Bellerophon, with the help of Pegasus, the winged horse, slayed the monstrous Chimera.



Attributes: half-man, half-horse.

Hercules shot a wise Centaur (Chiron) involuntarily with his poisoned arrows. Chiron renounced immortality in favor of Prometheus.
Hercules killed another Centaur--an evil one called Nessus, who caught Hercules' bride, Deianira. Hercules' arrow pierced him in the back. In return, Nessue dipped his shirt with his poisonous blood and the blood of the Hydra and presented it to Deianira, deceiving her that that garment was a magic charm to win man's heart. Hercules died for this poisonous garment.


A offspring of Typhone and Echidna.A serpent-like monster, with 9 heads (some sources say with countless heads). Only one head is immortal.

Hercules, in his 2nd labor, chopped all its heads and buried the immortal head of Hydra under a rock.

Minotaur   Attibutes: the head of a bull and the body of a man. Born by the Cretan king Mono's wife, Pasiphae and a magnificent white bull. It was housed in the labyrinth built by Daedalus. It was fed by human flesh.
, with the help of Ariadne, killed Minotaur in the Minoan labyrinth.
Medusa medusamunichsml.gif (9652 bytes)gorgonsml.gif (16384 bytes) Attributes: One of the Gorgons, daughters of Phorcys and Ceto. Among them, Euryale and Stheno were immortal. Medusa was mortal, but was most horrible.The eyes of the Gorgons has the power of killing or turning the onlookers into stone.

, with the help of Athene and Hermes, cut Medusa's head.

Some Webpages on Monsters:
Monsters Pages in GGGM
Some Beastry Links:

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Children of Io
  1. Family Trees of the Family of Io

Io's Family Tree
FamilyTree_Io1.gif (4870 bytes)

Cadmus's Family Tree

FamilyTree_cadmusFT.gif (8664 bytes)

Belus's Family Tree
FamilyTree_Belus.gif (4804 bytes)

Perseus's Family Tree
FamilyTree_Perseus.gif (4209 bytes)

Hercules's Family Tree
FamilyTree_Hercules.gif (5355 bytes)

Theseus's Family Tree
FamilyTree_Theseus.gif (1680 bytes)

2. Significance of the stories about the Children of Io

Webpages on Hercules:
The 12 Labors of Hercules

HERACLIDES (Table and Text) in Greek Mythology Link 
LABORS OF HERCULES (images and texts) in the "Perseus Project"
Hercules: Greece's Greatest Hero (Perseus) - An illustrated overview of the Hercules myths
Heracles in Ancient Art - Links to vase paintings in Perseus the adventures of Hercules.

Images of Hercules (For interest only)
Heracles in Ancient Arts

Life and Death

The Labors

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Chen Chi-szu
Latest Revision: 10/07/03.