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Heracles in the Garden of the Hesperides

Heracles in the Garden of the Hesperides

The Garden of the Hesperides was the location that the Hesperides nymphs were located. It held a grove of trees that had the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. It was also the location of the Golden Fleece. There was a serpent Ladon. The Garden of the Hesperides is located just in front of where Atlas holds the burden of the sky.

The Garden of the Hesperides is Hera's orchard in the west, where either a single apple tree or a grove grows, producing golden applesthat grant immortality when eaten. The trees were planted from the fruited branches that Gaia gave to Hera as a wedding gift when Hera accepted Zeus. The Hesperides were given the task of tending to the grove, but occasionally picked apples from it themselves. Not trusting them, Hera also placed in the garden a never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon named Ladon as an additional safeguard. In the myth of the Judgement of Paris, it was from the Garden that Eris, Goddess of Discord, obtained the Apple of Discord, which led to theTrojan War.

Frederic Leighton - The Garden of the Hesperides

Frederic Leighton - The Garden of the Hesperides

In later years it was thought that the "golden apples" might have actually been oranges, a fruit unknown to Europe and the Mediterraneanbefore the Middle Ages. Under this assumption, the Greek botanical name chosen for all citrus species was Hesperidoeidē (Ἑσπεριδοειδῆ, "hesperidoids") and even today the Greek word for the orange fruit is πορτοκαλί (Portokali)--after the country of Portugal in Iberia near where the Garden of the Hesperides grew.

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