Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cancer dating from 1822

This is not about the astrology/horoscope of Cancer, meaning this post is more about the mythological legends about the astronomical constellation known as Cancer. These are the ancient stories about the stars.

The constellation called Cancer is located right above the constellation called Hydra. In old Greek mythology, Cancer helps Hydra in an attack on Hercules. Among the constellations Hydra is some kind of sea creature.

Hydra right below Cancer from 1822 Hydra 16th-century German illustration
This is another story that belongs to Hercules and his 12 work assignments. 

In one myth Hydra is described as a sea creature with 9 heads. 

This sea snake creature Hydra (also known as Lernaean Hydra) was known in the territory of Argolid, a place located near the eastern part of the Peloponnese, where it would attack both humans and animals. 

Hercules cuts a head of with his sword, only to see that a new head grows out in mere seconds. 

Hera who was an Olympian god like Zeus, also the wife of Zeus, was in this story the master behind the sea creature Hydra. 

When Hera saw Hercules coming to attack her creature, she sent forth a giant crab called Cancer. 

In some versions Hera is Cancer the giant Crab, that bites Hercules in his heel, but in this version the crab is crushed under Hercules’ feet. 

Hercules then calls upon his faithful servant Jason to help him. Jason sets fire to a forest, and Hercules uses the burnt wood to cut of Hydras 9 heads, until the creature drops dead to the ground. 

This version can be traced back to around 800 B.C. In the book dating from 1888 it gives yet another version; 

On Hercules’ second assignment, this was usually an order from Eurystheus.

This time Hercules was to go against the demon creature Hydra. Hydra was also a sea creature with 9 heads in this version, but in this version only the 9th head was immortal. 

In the book from 1888 the beginning starts at a cage, where Hydra lives. 

Hercules fires burning arrows towards Hydra, making the sea creature come out into the open. 

Here the battle would really begin, because a giant crab Cancer was coming from behind him grabbing him in the leg with its claws. 

Another version goes a little bit deeper into the story itself. This version also seem to corresponds to a wine jaw dating from 525 B.C and 400 B.C.

ABOVE: Hercules and Jason fighting Hydra - dating from 525 B.C
BELOW: The same scene from a Knights armour.

In this version, we are told that Hydra was the half sister to the Nemean Lion who was killed by Hercules. 
Eurystheus choose this assignment because he thought Hercules would fail. 

Hercules carries the Skin of the Nemean Lion, with its scalp over Hercules helmet, Eurystheus knew that this would upset Hydra even more. As soon as Hercules was outside the castle gates, Eurystheus began locking the big gates. 

Jason also joins Hercules in this version, as the person that drives the horse wagon. In this version Hydra lives in a swamp area, which before this had been drinking water, that the village people drank from. 

Because Hydra had made the water poisoned the village people would have to get their water from a well that was located very close to Hydra’s lair. Many people never returned, in stead they would be food for the sea creature. 

Hydra is in this version said to have lived together with the giant crap Cancer, and that cancer joined in on the meals. The crab would run out from their hideout, and bite people in their feet hereby trapping them and dragging them back to Hydra. 

While Hercules walked closer to the swamp, he fired burning arrows towards Hydra’s lair, which made Hydra come out into the open. 

Hercules was very surprised by all the creatures heads, as he was the first person to see them, all others had not lived that long. 

Hercules did not have time to think, so he quickly began cutting of the heads with his sword. 

In this version, it goes; 
For every head Hercules cuts off, two new heads grow out, making Hercules assignment seem impossible.

Hercules was caught up in a corner, when the giant crap Cancer began attacking his feet. Hercules calls to Jason for help, and the wise Jason quickly comes up with an idea. 

Jason came to Hercules’ rescue with a burning torch, where he burned the wounded heads after Hercules had cut them off. 

Finally there was only one big head left in the middle, which Hercules would cut of as the last. He took the last head and buried it underneath a huge rock, which is said to be there still – Besides a road outside the city Lerna. 

Hercules then dipped his arrows in Hydra’s blood, because its blood was poison - he then returned in triumph.


  1. Love your site. Haven't really followed astrology until I came across your site. Now I know that Cancerians are "Prince Charming", lol. I have a paranormal blog myself and I would like to exchange links with you. Let me know if this is possible.


  2. Dear Jason,

    Thank you so much for the comment (Really needed that) :0)
    I have looked into your paranormal blog, I like it very much, and it is some good questions you ask. Would be honoured to exchange links with you.


  3. Glad I checked the site because normally I would just wait for people to comment on my site. I'm going to add you right now!


  4. I will add your link within the hour, may you and all of your family have a wonderful day,

  5. Anonymous12:17 AM

    Thank you SOOO much !!! this site is so cool!!
    I Needed this research very badly..... THNX AGAIN !!!!! :)

  6. Anonymous2:11 AM

    so what version is more accurate? because i have an project due. (respond asap!!1)

  7. Anonymous9:16 AM

    Love it . I'm only 9 1/2 in America. .I have to do a constellation project.


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