I apologies now for starting on an ugly picture, but I left off just before the Cretan bull, and frankly the pictures of Putin in heroic Greek stance get uglier from here on out… but as Magnus Magnusson used to say…”I’ve started, so I’ll finish” (for anyone who isn’t British and have no clue that I am talking about – he was the presenter of a TV show called “Mastermind”).
The Cretan Bull
This story feels ever more lacklustre to me. It’s a bit like Greek storytellers had a great beginning and a great end, but didn’t really know what to do in the middle so just had old Herc fight a bunch of animals which got easier as time wore on.
The long and short of this labour is that Herc travelled to Crete and wrestled to the floor, delivering it back to Eurystheus. Eurystheus promptly let the bull go and it rampaged around Greece for a while, until it got to Marathon where Theseus killed it before taking on the minotaur.
This painting of Mr Putin riding a fearsome Crimean ox refers to the peninsula’s breakaway from Ukraine and annexation by Russia in March 2014.
The Man-Eating Horses of Diomedes
I have written about the man eating horses before – so if you would like the full rundown of the myth, you can find it here. This will be a very abridged version.
Herc and a merry band of men set off to complete the 8th labour which is to capture the man eating horses of Diomedes. Arriving at Bristonia Herc and his men set about overpowering the grooms that tended the horses, and harnessed them. As they were leaving, Diomedes realised what had happened and set off with his army to fight for his horses.
Herc, suspected that this would happen and left the horses with a young man who had accompanied them called Abderos. Herc and the rest of the men fought Diomedes and won the battle, but on returning found that the horses had killed Abderos…man eating horses will do that…
Herc worked to tame the horses and they lost their flesh eating tendencies and took them back to Eurystheus. With their tamed nature, Eurystheus released the horses back into the wild, and they were promptly eaten by wild animals on Mount Olympus.
Here we see Putin with 2 horses and flanked by France and Russia. The Mistral contract was a deal for delivery of warships from France to Russia worth 1.2bn euros. France suspended delivery of the first of the two ships because of Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine.
This wasn’t any old belt… oh no… this was a belt made of leather crafted by Ares the God of War. Hippolyte was the Queen of the Amazons. The Amazons were not from Southern America and had nothing to do with the Amazon river, Amazon in Greek meant one breasted, as these warrior women got rid of one as they got in the way of using weapons. It should also be known that they also got impregnated and then went back to their own tribe, killing off any male children at birth and rearing the females as warriors. As if battling people were not scary enough, imagine fighting a bunch of crazy Amazons.
When this task was sent, Herc’s friends realised that he wouldn’t be able to fight the whole Amazon army by himself, so they decided that now was as good a time as any for a road trip (or boat trip). Sailing in a single boat, they reached the land of the Amazons, and Hippolyte came down to greet them and find out what they wanted. Herc once again was very honest with Hippolyte, and explained that he had been sent to get her belt as a penance. She agreed to give him the belt. As they sat talking, Hera, watching from on high, got annoyed that this was so easily achieved. Disguising herself as one of the Amazons she told the tribe that Herc was planning to kill Hippolyte. On here this, the Amazons donned their armour and charged down to the ship on horseback.
Seeing the hordes of women charging, Herc drew his sword and killed Hippolyte, taking her belt in the process. Herc and his men then battled the women until they were driven back. They all then jumped back on the boat and sailed off, to take the belt to Eurystheus.
Putin’s receiving of a belt isn’t quite so literal. The South Stream pipeline is one of Russia’s most powerful diplomatic pressure tools. Running across most of Europe from Russia, it feeds the region with a supply of gas that many countries rely upon.
I am quite pleased I chose to write about this subject, as prior to this I have to admit I didn’t know that much about Putin, except for his crazy stunts and what we see in the news today. Rarely do people go back and look at the achievements from a different perspective. It’s quite easy to see how PR and media spins can give Putin such a high public rating. At the risk of being controversial, can you imagine what the pictures would be like for Donald Trump? I appreciate that he has a lot of support, but he is also managing to damage his public relations with a majority, inside and outside of his own country. I am not sure that his pictures would be seen as quite so heroic as we sit on the verge of a trade war.
Keep an eye out for the last part of the Herc and Putin posts!
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