Augeas

Augeas

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In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Augeas (or Augeias, ɔː, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Ἀυγείας), whose name means "bright", was king of Elis
Elis
Elis, or Eleia is an ancient district that corresponds with the modern Elis peripheral unit...

 and father of Epicaste
Epicaste
Epicaste or Epicasta is a name attributed to four women in Greek mythology.*Epicaste, daughter of Augeas. She bore Heracles a son, Thestalus.*Epicaste, daughter of Calydon and Aeolia, daughter of Amythaon...

. Some say that Augeas was one of the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

.

He is best known for his stables, which housed the single greatest number of cattle in the country and had never been cleaned — until the time of the great hero Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

.

Augeas' lineage varies in the sources—he was said to be either the son of Helius and Nausidame, or of Eleios, king of Elis, and Nausidame, or of Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

, or of Phorbas
Phorbas
In Greek mythology, Phorbas or Phorbaceus may refer to:*Phorbas, a prince of the Thessalian Phlegyes who emigrated to Elis in the Peloponnesos. Phorbas was the son of Lapithes and Orsinome, and a brother of Periphas. He assisted Alector, king of Elis, in the war against Pelops, and shared the...

 and Hyrmine
Hyrmine
In Greek mythology, Hyrmine was a daughter of Neleus, Nycteus, or, according to others, of Epeius and Anaxiroe, and sister of Alector . She was the wife of Phorbas and by him the mother of the Argonauts Augeas, Actor and Tiphys. The natural father of Augeas by her may have been Helios.-References:...

. His children were Epicaste
Epicaste
Epicaste or Epicasta is a name attributed to four women in Greek mythology.*Epicaste, daughter of Augeas. She bore Heracles a son, Thestalus.*Epicaste, daughter of Calydon and Aeolia, daughter of Amythaon...

, Phyleus
Phyleus
In Greek mythology, Phyleus was a son of King Augeas of Elis and father of Meges. He supported Heracles instead of his father and was exiled. After Heracles killed Augeas and his other sons, he gave Phyleus the kingdom. During the time of his exile, Phyleus led a colony of Epeans to the island of...

, Agamede
Agamede
Agamede was a name attributed to two separate women in classical Greek mythology and legendary history:-Mythological:Agamede was, according to Homer, a Greek physician acquainted with the healing powers of all the plants that grow upon the earth...

 (who was the mother of Dictys
Dictys
Dictys was a name attributed to four men in Greek mythology.* Dictys was a fisherman and brother of King Polydectes of Seriphos, both being the sons of Magnes by a naiad. He discovered Danaë and Perseus inside a chest that had washed up on shore. He immediately fell in love with Danae and wanted to...

 by Poseidon), Agasthenes
Agasthenes
Agasthenes was the son of Augeas, and his successor in the kingdom of Elis. The government was shared between Amphimachus, Thalpius and Agasthenes. With Peloris, he was the father of Polyxenus, one of the "suitors of Helen", who reunified the kingdom when he returned from Troy....

, and Eurytus
Eurytus
Eurytus, Erytus , or Eurytos is the name of eleven characters in Greek mythology, and of at least one historical figure.-King of Oechalia:...

.

The fifth Labour of Heracles


The fifth Labour of Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 was to clean the Augean stables (pron). This assignment was intended to be both humiliating (rather than impressive, as had the previous labours) and impossible, since the livestock were divinely healthy (immortal
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

) and therefore produced an enormous quantity of dung
Cow dung
Cow dung is the waste product of bovine animal species. These species include domestic cattle , bison , yak and water buffalo. Cow dung is the undigested residue of plant matter which has passed through the animal's gut. The resultant faecal matter is rich in minerals...

. These stables had not been cleaned in over 30 years, and over 1,000 cattle lived there. However, Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus
Alfeios River
Alfeiós is the longest river in the Peloponnese, in Greece. The river is 110 km long, flowing through the prefectures of Arcadia and Ilia. Its source is near Megalopoli in the highlands of Arcadia. The river begins near Davia in central Arcadia, then flows between Leontari and Megalopoli through a...

 and Peneus
Pineios River (Peloponnese)
The Pineiós is a river in Peloponnese, Greece. It is probably not named after the god Peneus. It flows from the mountain Erymanthus , and empties into a bay SW of Gastouni connecting the Ionian Sea. The river flows through the southern half of the Ilia plain...

 to wash out the filth.

Augeas was irate because he had promised Heracles one tenth of his cattle if the job was finished in one day. He refused to honour the agreement, and Heracles killed him after completing the tasks. Heracles gave his kingdom to Augeas' son Phyleus
Phyleus
In Greek mythology, Phyleus was a son of King Augeas of Elis and father of Meges. He supported Heracles instead of his father and was exiled. After Heracles killed Augeas and his other sons, he gave Phyleus the kingdom. During the time of his exile, Phyleus led a colony of Epeans to the island of...

, who had been exiled for supporting Heracles against his father.

According to the Odes of the poet Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, Heracles then founded the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

:
The success of this labour was ultimately discounted because the rushing waters had done the work of cleaning the stables and because Heracles was paid. Eurystheus, stating that Heracles still had six Labours to do, then sent Heracles to defeat the Stymphalian Birds
Stymphalian birds
In Greek mythology, the Stymphalian birds were man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and were sacred to Ares, the god of war. Furthermore, their dung was highly toxic...

.