Friday, November 7, 2008

Hydra and Ladon

The Greek mythological monster Typhon had eight monstrous children. Two of these beasts were multiheaded water dragons, Hydra and Ladon. Hydra was a toxic serpentine beast whose venom and breath could kill any creature unfortunate enough to experience them. Whenever one of her nine heads was chopped off, three more would immediately sprout from the stump. The center head was virtually immortal. The Hydra lived in a like by the city of Lerna, terrorizing the populace and poisoning the environment. Heracles managed to destroy the Hydra by cauterizing the stumps of its first eight heads, then ripping off the immortal head and pinning it under a massive boulder. He burned the headless corpse. Heracles also may have been responsible for the death of the hundred-headed dragon Ladon. Ladon could not regenerate its severed heads, making it a weaker adversary. It gaurded the Garden of the Hesperides, which contained three golden apples that Heracles needed to obtain for his eleventh labor. According to some versions of the tale, Heracles fought the dragon, killing it with arrows poisoned by the Hydra's venom. Others say that Heracles tricked the titan Atlas into getting the apples for him, leaving the dragon alive.

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