Last Update: 28 Mar 2021
7. Labor: The Cretan Bull
As the seventh labor, Heracles was charged by Eurystheus to fetch the raging Cretan bull. According to one myth, this was the bull that had carried Europa across the sea; according to another, it was the bull sent up from the sea by Poseidon, the capricious god of the Seas, when King Minos he had promised to sacrifice to him whatever emerged from the sea. Minos, however, blinded by its beauty, sent the bull to his flocks and sacrificed another in its place. In anger, Poseidon punished Minos for his disobedience and drove the bull mad, so mad that fire came out of its nostrils.
Heracles sailed to Crete, where he asked Minos for help, but Minos refused. So Heracles faced the bull all by himself and eventually managed to capture it and bring it to Eurystheus in Mycenae. Eurystheus wanted to sacrifice the bull to Hera, the queen of the gods, but Hera resented Heracles and refused the offering, whereupon Eurystheus gave the bull back its freedom. In this way, the Cretan Bull wandered through Sparta and all of Arcadia, eventually arriving in Marathon, where he became Marathonian Bull and continued to harass the inhabitants. While in Marathon, he was slain by the hero Theseus.