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Heracles and the Mares of Diomedes

In Greek mythology, Abderus (Ἄβδηρος, "son of battle") was a divine hero, a son of Hermes and eponym of Abdera.

To fulfill his Eighth Labor, Heracles brought his eromenos, Abderus and some other youths to help him capture the four savage mares of the Thracian King Diomedes. Heracles overpowered the grooms and drove the Mares of Diomede to the sea and left them in the care of Abderus. While Heracles was away, the horses devoured Abderus. In revenge, Heracles fed Diomedes's still living flesh to his own mares. Heracles founded the city of Abdera near the boy's tomb, where agones, athletic games consisting of boxing, pancratium and wrestling were held in honor of Abderus.

Abderus was also said to be a native of Opus in Locris who was employed by Diomedes. Some claimed that he was a son of Hermes while others claimed he was the son of Heracles's friend Opian Menoetius, making Abderus a brother to Patroclus who died at Troy.


On Abderus as eromenos of Heracles: Apollodorus II 5.8 and Ptolemy Khennos in Photius' Bibliotheca 147b.

On the agones: Philostratus II 25.

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