Hercules saves Hesione

Hesione was the daughter of King Laomedon of Troy and one of his two children to survive the attack on Troy by Heracles. She was taken to Aegina by Telamon.


Apollo and Poseidon were angry at King Laomedon because he refused to pay the wage he promised them for building Troy's walls. Apollo sent a plague and Poseidon a sea monster to destroy Troy. Oracles promised deliverance if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster and he fastened her naked to the rocks near the sea.

Heracles, along with Telamon happened to arrive on their return from the expedition against the Amazons. Seeing her exposed, Heracles promised to save her on condition that Laomedon would give him the wonderful horses his father had received from Zeus as compensation for Zeus' kidnapping of Ganymede. Laomedon agreed and Heracles slew the monster. However, Laomedon refused the promised award. In a later expedition Heracles attacked Troy, slew Laomedon and all Laomedon's sons except the youngest named Podarces. Heracles gave Laomedon's daughter Hesione as a prize to Telamon instead of keeping her for himself. He allowed her to take with her any captives that she wished and she chose her brother Podarces. Heracles allowed her to ransom him in exchange for her veil, therefore Podarces was henceforth known as Priam from primai (to buy).

Many years later, when Hesione was an old woman, Priam sent Antenor and Anchises to Greece to demand Hesione's return, but they were rejected and driven away. Priam then sent Paris and Aeneas to retrieve her, but Paris got sidetracked and instead brought back Helen, queen of Sparta and wife of Menelaus. Priam was ultimately willing to accept the abduction of Helen, due to the Greeks' refusal to return Hesione.

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