Stymphalian birds


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Stymphalian birds

(stĭmfā`lēən), in Greek mythology, dangerous man-eating birds that infested the woods around Lake Stymphalus in Arcadia. As his fifth labor, Hercules frightened the birds into the air with a huge rattle and then killed them.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stymphalian Birds

 

in ancient Greek mythology, birds with bronze wings, talons, and beaks that nested in Arcadia near Lake Stymphalia (Lake Zaraka). By casting off their arrow-like feathers the birds were able to kill animals and people. The destruction of the Stymphalian birds was the fifth labor of Heracles.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Stymphalian birds

venomous Arcadian flock shot by Hercules; sixth Labor. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Hall, 149]
See: Hunting
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Lake Stymphalia is near too, where he drove away the Stymphalian birds. You could also explore Athens on a day trip and the islands of Spetses and Hydra.
Stymphalian birds devoured flesh, leaving trails of bones
Hercules' efforts to dispel the Stymphalian Birds and capture the Mares of Diomedes may have exposed him to zoonoses acquired from birds and equids.
Other writers say that the shooter was aiming at the evil Stymphalian birds, represented by Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra (the latter originally represented as a vulture).
By conventional view, Heracles had twelve labors, and these labors occurred in the following order: 1) Nemean Lion; 2) Lernaean Hydra; 3) Ceryneian Hind; 4) Erymanthian Boar; 5) Stables of Augeias; 6) Stymphalian Birds; 7) Cretan Bull; 8) Mares of Diomedes; 9) Hippolyte's Girdle; 10) Cattle of Geryon; 11) Apples of the Hesperides; 12) Capture of Cerberus.
The thick marsh habitat of the Stymphalian birds worked against Herakles.
Perhaps it was Hercules, aiming at Aquila and Cygnus, which were imagined to be the Stymphalian birds. Even the smallest constellation can be rich in mythology.
Brown saw in this arrangement of stars an allusion to the fifth of Hercules' 12 Labors - his encounter with the man-eating Stymphalian birds. They flocked along the shoreline of Lake Stymphalus in the wetlands of Arcadia, in the north-central part of the Peloponnesian peninsula.