Ladon, Giant Dragon Guardian Of The Golden Apples
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Ladon, Giant Snake Guardian Of The Golden Apples Of The Hesperides Garden.
A giant snake of Greek myths, Ladon is the guardian of the Garden of the Hesperides.
It is around the apple tree with golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides that the giant snake/Dragon Ladon is wrapped. One of the most terrifying reptilian monsters of Greek mythology, it is described as a snake whose very long body is surmounted by a hundred heads, each speaking a different language.
If this creature possesses such proportions, it is because it descends from primordial marine deities. His father is Phorcys and his mother is Cétô, children of Pontos (the waves) and Gaïa (the Earth). He is also by this filiation the brother of the three Grées, the gorgonians and Echidna. Some versions say he is the son of Typhoon and Echidna.
Keeper of the apple tree of Hera
Ladon received his role as guardian of the apple tree in the Garden of the Hesperides, when Hera received this tree. Gaia gave him as a wedding gift when she married Zeus and planted him in this magnificent orchard, entrusting the Hesperides to take care of him and Ladon to keep him. Given the fear of Ladon, no one approached the tree outside the Hesperides.
Heracles' eleventh work
For his eleventh work, Heracles had to collect the golden apples from the tree. He went to find the titan Atlas who knew the location of the gardens, the Hesperides being his daughters. He also asked him to pick the apples for him, replacing him during this time to carry the world.
Atlas was tempted by this offer to be relieved of this burden for a while, but he could not accept it because of Ladon. Heracles shot Ladon with a single arrow and, as agreed, he replaced Atlas while he picked the apples. However, Atlas having regained his freedom, he did not want to take over his task. Heracles then asked him a favor: that he take back the world for a moment so that he could put a cushion on his shoulders. Naive, Atlas accepted and Heracles left, leaving him to carry the world again.
As for Ladon, Hera rewarded him for his devotion by placing him in heaven where he became the constellation of the Dragon.