Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Mythology ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Mythology
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: macev-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 17 Jan 2003 11:27 PST
Expires: 16 Feb 2003 11:27 PST
Question ID: 144819
What are the most well-known myths or bible stories about rescue?  I'm
looking for something where the hero is forced to save a loved
one...preferably one in which the hero is forced to do something
against his wishes in order to recover a kidnapped loved one.
Subject: Re: Mythology
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 21 Jan 2003 10:00 PST
Although there are no Biblical stories that meet your criteria (the
story of Joseph has no matching points other than the abduction),
there are several Greek myths that approximate them, dealing with
successful rescues of kidnapped women, and in one case a great price.


Heracles, son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, was married to
Deianeira. One day, as they were traveling, the couple came to the
unfordable river Euenus. Heracles could swim the swiftly flowing
river, but there was no transport for Deianeira. The Centaur Nessus
offered to carry her across the river safely for a fee, to which
Heracles agreed. However, after Heracles had thrown his club and bow
across the river and had begun to swim to the opposite bank, Nessus
swept up Deianeira and ran away with her. Heracles, on reaching the
other shore, strung his bow and shot Nessus with an arrow through the
chest. As he drew out the arrow, Nessus told Deianeira that if the
time ever came when she doubted Heracles' love for her, she should
make a love philtre of the blood from the wound and apply it to a
shirt for Heracles to wear: Heracles would never love another after
putting on the shirt. Nessus died, and Deianeira soaked some wool in
the Centaur's blood. (Some versions say that Nessus gave her his own
blood-soaked tunic.)

The sequel to the story was that Heracles later gave Deianeira cause
for jealousy (a princess named Iole), and she wove Heracles a shirt
from the bloody wool. When Heracles put it on, it began to eat into
his body like an acid, and when he tried to take it off, he tore out
great pieces of his flesh. In this horrible pain, he committed suicide
by self-immolation on Mt. Oeta, his mortal part being burned away and
his immortal part ascending to Olympus with the gods.

The story of Heracles and Deianeira is told by the Greek playwright
Sophocles in his The Women of Trachis, the Greek historian Diodorus
Siculus in his History (Bk. IV), the Greek mythographer Apollodorus in
The Library (Bk I.8 and Bk II.7), by the Roman poet Ovid in his
Metamorpohses (Bk. IX) and Heroides (Letter IX), and the Roman Stoic
Seneca in his tragic play Hercules at Oeta.


Greek Mythology Centaur

Background and Images for the Women of Trachis

Untitled Document


sky events 6/30 to 7/7 skyevents/se063099.html October 2002 - Classics in the Quad 


The Internet Classics Archive | Metamorphoses by Ovid

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC - 65 AD)


Antiope, daughter of King Nycteus of Thebes, (not to be confused with
Antiope the Amazon, also called Melanippe), was impregnated by Zeus
with twin boys, Amphion and Zethus. Nycteus accused Antiope of
unchastity, and treated her cruelly, so that she ran away to Sicyon
and married King Epopeus. Nycteus fell into a shamed depression and
committed suicide, but first charged his brother Lycus to take revenge
on Antiope and Epopeus. Lycus led the Theban army to Sicyon and won
the battle, killing Epopeus and taking Antiope captive, leading her
back to Thebes. On the road, however, she was delivered of the twins,
and Lycus caused them to be exposed (exposure of infants is a popular
motif in Greek mythology). The boys were surreptitiously rescued by a
cowherd, who reared them, naming them Amphion and Zethus. Antiope was
returned to Thebes where she was held as a prisoner for many years,
particularly hated by her aunt Dirce. Finally, one day Antiope was
able to escape and came by chance to the cottage of the cowherd, where
she begged for sanctuary of the twin boys, who had grown into young
men by that time. The boys refused, thinking Antiope an escaped slave,
and Dirce soon arrived and dragged Antiope away back to Thebes. The
cowherd then informed the boys that the woman was their mother; and
they saved her, killed Lycus and tied Dirce by her hair to the horns
of a maddened bull.

The story of Antiope is told by Apollodorus in The Library (Bk. III)
and Pausanias in his Guide to Greece (Bk. II).


House of Thebes

Greek Mythology: NAIADES OF ARGOS ( aka Aigina Aegina Salamis ... 


Apollodorus Summary

Pausanias Description of Greece, Book II: Corinth

Pausanias Description of Ancient Sikyon - 18k

Study Sheet: Powell, Terms to Study

The Internet Classics Archive | Metamorphoses by Ovid

The Metamorphoses of Ovid: BOOK THE SIXTH

Excerpts from Ovid - 32k



Helen was the daughter of Zeus and the mortal Leda, whom he ravished
in the form of a swan. Leda was the wife of Tyndareus, King of Sparta.
Leda bore two sets of twins, Helen and Clytaemnestra, and the
Dioscuri, Castor and Polydeuces (also called Pollux). Helen and
Polydeuces were generally regarded as the children of Zeus, and Castor
and Clytaemnestra as the children of Tyndareus. While still a girl,
she was abducted by Theseus, the hero-king of Athens, and his friend

Peirithous, having been widowed, went to Athens to visit his friend
Theseus, whose wife Phaedra also had recently died (she hanged
herself, another famous tragic story), and the two friends
commiserated. Peirithous extracted a promise from Theseus that they
would go to Sparta and kidnap Helen, already famous for her beauty
though still a girl, and one of them would make her his wife as
decided by casting lots. They also promised one another that they
would find a second, equally well-born wife for the loser of the cast.
They did abduct Helen, and the lots decided that Theseus would marry

Theseus, however, knew that it was too risky to take Helen to Athens.
Besides the fact that the Spartans would be looking for her in force,
he knew that the Athenians would be outraged by the abduction and the
danger that he had brought to them by it. Therefore, Theseus took
Helen secretly to Aphidnae until she would be old enough to marry. In
the meantime, Peirithous insisted that Theseus fulfill his promise to
find another daughter of Zeus to be his wife. Consulting an oracle of
Zeus, the god told them that they might as well go to Tartarus, the
realm of Hades, and abduct Persephone, the wife of Hades. Peirithous
took this literally, and, although Theseus tried to dissuade him on
the ground that the project was blasphemous, he compelled Theseus to
be true to his word and accompany him into Tartarus to capture
Persephone. When they arrived, Hades was amused by their presumption
and offered to entertain them. He showed them to a bench, and, when
they sat down, the bench grew into their flesh, trapping them. Hades
then sealed their mouths so that they could not scream. There they
remained in torment for some years, until Heracles came on one of his
labors (to seize Cerberus) and recognized the two heroes. Using all of
his strength, Hercules was able to pull Theseus free, leaving behind
large portions of his skin, but Peirithous could not be freed and was
left where he sat.

In the absence of Theseus, the Spartans, led by Castor and Polydeuces,
searched for Helen and eventually found her in Aphidnae, rescuing her.

Helen, of course, married Menelaus, who became King of Sparta after
the deaths of Castor and Polydeuces, and later she was abducted a
second time by Alexandros (called Paris) the prince of Troy as a bribe
from Aphrodite for declaring her the most beautiful of the major
goddesses. That precipitated the Trojan War. (Some say that she
connived with Paris.) Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus and commander of
the Greeks, had to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigeneia, in order to
obtain a favorable wind for the fleet to set sail to Troy. Helen was
recovered a second time after the fall of Troy, although there is an
alternate story that she was wafted away at the last moment by

The story of Helen and Theseus is told by Plutarch in his Life of
Theseus, by Diodorus Siculus in his History (Bk.IV), and by Pausanias
in his Guide to Greece (Bk.I).

Helen, Paris, and the Trojan War are too well known to need comment.

The story of Iphigeneia is told by Euripides in two plays, Iphigeneia
at Aulis and Iphigeneia Among the Taurians, and by Apollodorus, The
Epitome (III.21).


Theseus - The Athenian Adventurer
Description: Abridged modern English version of Plutarch's life of
Theseus, the founder of Athens.

The Internet Classics Archive | Theseus by Plutarch
... Theseus By Plutarch


Plutarch's life of Theseus



Classical Mythology Online - Character Glossary

Helen - Mate of Menelaus - Theseus - Paris

King Of Troy Paris/Helen Of Troy 191/genea/fam02775.htm

Helen of Troy
The Judgement of Paris. The Abduction of Helen.

Euripides text
The Trojan War Series by Euripides Text Full text can be found at the
Perseus website ... Iphigeneia at Aulis NEWhp252/newrones/etext.html

No search strategy, only a knowledge of Greek and Latin literature.
Summaries of all the stories can be found in The Greek Myths by Robert
Graves, Penguin, Baltimore, 1955. You can safely ignore the notes that
are appended to each chapter: they are largely the invention of
Graves' own poetic imagination.

Subject: Re: Mythology
From: pinkfreud-ga on 17 Jan 2003 11:38 PST
There's an interesting discussion of abduction-and-rescue myths here:
Subject: Re: Mythology
From: hammer-ga on 17 Jan 2003 16:28 PST
While Greek mythology is full of kidnappings, there are not many truly
successful rescues, and most of them involve Death/Hades, rather than
a traditional abduction. For example:

The Myth Pages
Orpheus and Eurydice

Herakles and Alcetis


As a better set of examples, J.R.R. Tolkien's books have many
kidnap/rescue-with-sacrifice stories:

The Hobbit - The dwarves are abducted by giant spiders. Bilbo must
overcome his fears to rescue them.

Lord of the Rings - Frodo is kidnapped by Orcs. Samwise must follow
him into the heart of the Orcs stronghold to rescue him. Also, Merry
and Pippin are kidnapped by another set of Orcs and Aragorn, Gimli and
Legolas sacrifice their duty to Frodo to attempt to rescue them.


An excellent example can be found in the classic ballet, Giselle.
Giselle's love is caught by the Wilies, the vengeful spirits of girls
jilted at the altar who force men to dance all night until they die
from exhaustion. Giselle (about to join the Wilies) defies her Queen
and dances beside him through the night to strengthen him. As day
breaks, the Wilies disappear (including Giselle) and he is able to



I hope some of these stories help you!

- Hammer

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy