Zeus was not pleased with those damn man-eating horses, but I’m guessing the wild beasts he sent to shred them apart were pleased. At least someone benefits here.

In the myth, after Heracles feed Diomedes to his own horses, they calm down immediately and become perfectly tame and normal beasts as far as we’re told. Heracles and his crew (yes he rolls with several “youths” in this and other stories) take the beasts back to Eurystheus to show that this labor is complete. Apparently not knowing what else to do with them, Eurystheus decides to sacrifice the horses to Zeus. Much to his surprise, a group of lions, wolves, and bears appear out of nowhere and immediately devour the horses, destroying them forever. That’s certainly one way to get rid of the things. I’ve always wondered what Eurystheus was thinking with that particular move, anyway. Given other stories within Greek mythology, these horses would clearly be seen as abominations in the eyes of any of the gods, one would assume that destroying them would be the only acceptable plan but he decides to make a sacrifice of them anyway?

I don’t know, seems like a weird choice. The only logical reason he could have had was that, as Hera’s chosen champion and Heracles’ opponent, he hoped to offend Zeus with the sacrifice. That would be quite a bold move, even with Hera watching his back. Historically, it’s considered rather unwise to mess with any of the gods, Zeus especially so. This would be a fascinating avenue for the story to traverse, but unfortunately that’s where this particular myth ends. Alas!

There are, however, versions of the story that have him dedicate the horses to Hera who accepts them and allows them to roam freely. Quite a different ending for the horses, but being completely at odds with one another (and considerably less funny) I decided to go with this one. It’s interesting how often Greek myths will contradict one another, isn’t it?

Anyway, thus ends the saga of the Mares of Diomedes. Seriously, this is it. It’s kind of weird when these are split up into individual comics over the course of a month, hunh? We’ll have some comics about other stuff next week!