The Final Six Labors of Herakles, from the East Side of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, ca. 450 BC

Restored in Color by Holmes Bryant Based on the Physical Evidence.
All Twelve Labors Chronicle and Celebrate Mankind's Rebellion against Noah and His God after the Flood.

East Side Labor One

Herakles seventh labor, the Erymanthian Boar, restored in 3D. Herakles seventh labor, the Erymanthian Boar, original.

Herakles means "the glory of Hera," and by embracing and spreading Zeus-religion, he did restore her glory as the wife of Zeus and the original serpent-friendly Eve in paradise. As a story-telling device, Greek artists and poets made Hera out to be resentful that Athena, the post-Flood reborn serpent-friendly Eve, received more glory from Herakles than she. Throughout his life and labors, Athena encouraged Herakles while Hera opposed him.

Hera kept Herakles from being born just long enough so that his weakling cousin, Eurystheus, would be born ahead of him and become king in his stead. Then, when Hera drove Herakles so mad that he murdered his wife and children, she saw to it that as punishment and humiliation for his crimes, he had to perform whatever labors King Eurystheus demanded. The capture of the boar of Eurymanthia expresses the boiling animosity Herakles carried toward his cousin, Eurystheus.

Vase-painting of Herakles and the Erymanthian Boar.

Most extant vases of the subject, as above, and the metope, depicted Herakles about to dump the captured beast on the frightened Eurystheus. Athena's presence shows her approval of Herakles' scoffing at authority, any authority but her own.

East Side Labor Two

Herakles eighth labor, the Mares of Diomedes, restored in 3D. Herakles eighth labor, the Mares of Diomedes, original.

Diomedes, a king in Thrace, fed his mares on human flesh. Herakles, with the company of friends, seized the animals and entrusted them to his friend Abderos. Abderos turned his back once too often, and the mares ate him. Herakles built the town of Abdera to honor his friend.

On the vase-scene, a head and arm hang from the mouth of the man-eating horse. It could be Herakles' unfortunate friend, Abderos, or Diomedes himself, because Herakles killed Diomedes and fed him to his horses. The mares became tame after they ate their master and Herakles set them free. Later, wild beasts killed them on Mount Olympus.

Vase-painting of Herakles and one of the man-eating Mares of Diomedes.

This labor is about Herakles conquering the region of Thrace on behalf of Zeus-religion and the line of Kain. The poets specifically mentioned that Diomedes was a son of Ares, the Greek version of Adam's and Eve's youngest son, Seth. And they also specifically mentioned that Herakles' friend, Abderos, was a son of Hermes, the Cush of Genesis.

East Side Labor Three

Herakles ninth labor, Three-Bodied Geryon, restored in 3D. Herakles ninth labor, Three-Bodied Geryon, original.

While all 12 metopes present a summary of the triumph of Zeus-religion, east metopes 3 and 4 present a summary within a summary. These were the two over the east entrance, and their message tied in directly with the great gold and ivory idol-image of Zeus inside. These two interrelated metopes explained, simply and graphically, how Herakles had enabled Zeus-religion to dominate the Greek world.

On east metope 3, Herakles kills the triple-bodied warrior, Geryon. There were no triple-bodied warriors in ancient days, any more than there are triple-bodied warriors today. And yet here we see Herakles, having beaten two of Geryon's bodies to death, about to mercilessly club the third. What could a triple-bodied man signify? Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Nimrod's rebellion came to fruition during the time of their rule, after the death of Noah. By killing the triple-bodied Geryon, Herakles is figuratively overcoming the spiritual authority of Noah's three sons. After their deaths, Herakles reigned unchallenged. But where did Herakles get his authority? The adjacent metope answers that question.

East Side Labor Four

Herakles tenth labor, the Apples of the Hesperides, restored in 3D. Herakles tenth labor, the Apples of the Hesperides, original.

In the previous metope, Herakles has overcome the authority of the three sons of Noah, giving him unhindered access to the fruit of the serpent's tree. Athena's help, combined with great efforts of his own, has enabled Herakles to push away the heavens and with them the God of the heavens. Herakles has gained access to the golden apples. Atlas offers him the apples, the forbidden fruit once offered to the first couple, Adam/Zeus and Eve/Hera, by the ancient serpent. Thus, these two metopes over the sacred east entrance commemorate Nimrod's successful rebellion, celebrate an end to the interference of Noah's oppressive God with Greek humanity, and acknowledge mankind's return to the authority of the ancient serpent as supreme.

As worshippers entered the temple under this metope and the one before it, they understood that it was Herakles overcoming Noah's sons and getting back to the serpent's fruit in the ancient garden which enabled Zeus to sit enthroned in all his gold and ivory glory inside the temple.

Vase-painting of the Hesperides.

On the above vase, we see the source of the golden apples—the serpent-entwined apple tree in the Garden of the Hesperides, the Greek equivalent of Eden. We see part of a seated Herakles to our right.

East Side Labor Five

Herakles eleventh labor, the Taming of Kerberos, restored in 3D. Herakles eleventh labor, the Taming of Kerberos, original.

While the Greeks called Nimrod Herakles, the Sumerians and Babylonians called him Gilgamesh, making him the hero of mankind's oldest surviving written epic. In the epic, Gilgamesh/Herakles/Nimrod, having a pressing fear of death, seeks for the meaning of life from Utnapishtim (Nereus/Noah), the man he knew to have brought humanity through the Flood.
On the vase below, from about 600 BC, Herakles clings to Nereus/Noah for answers and security, looking frightfully over his shoulder at the terrifying hound, Kerberos, the evil spirit bearer representing death and Herakles' fear of it.

Vase-painting of Kerebos, Herakles, and Nereus/Noah.

By the time Greek religion became systematized, Herakles had overcome his great fear. On the metope, he has Kerberos under control. The leash with which Herakles manages the beast parallels Hermes' kerykeion—identifying Hermes as the chief prophet of Zeus-religion. There is no need for Herakles to fear death any longer: he has conquered the world on behalf of his ancestors Athena, Hermes, and Zeus, and they have made him immortal.

East Side Labor Six

Herakles twelfth labor, the Augeian Stables, restored in 3D. Herakles twelfth labor, the Augeian Stables, original.

Herakles had to remove in a single day the dung of the cattle of Augeias, which had accumulated over centuries. Herakles made a breach in the foundations of the cattle yard, and then, diverting the courses of the Alpheius and Peneius rivers which flowed near each other, he turned them into the yard, having first made an outlet for the water through another opening, and thus washed away all the dung.

The ancient poets did not specifically mention Athena's role in this labor, but as we can see from the metope itself, the sculptors gave her credit for this great technological feat. Athena showed the hero when, where, and how to dig. Note that the implement of Herakles parallels Athena's spear. Herakles sought the summit of human attainment, and here we have a vivid and pointed boast from the sculptors of what they thought was possible when humans devoted to Zeus-religion aligned themselves with the spirit of Athena, the reborn serpent-friendly Eve after the Flood, and exalted mankind as the measure of all things.

This is a positive, uplifting, and fitting final labor of Herakles for those who embraced Zeus-religion and the way of Kain. The apostle Paul wrote that he could do all things through Christ Who strengthened him. This is the same kind of message, but to a different, opposite, higher power: Herakles and those who emulate him can do all things through Athena who strengthens them.