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In Greek mythology, Abderus or Abderos (Ancient Greek: Ἄβδηρος) was a divine hero, reputed by some to be one of Heracles' lovers (eromenoi), and reputedly a son of Hermes by some accounts, and eponym of Abdera, Thrace.[1][2]


The paternity of Abderus differs according to the sources. Some say he was the son of the god Hermes and a native of Opus in Locris,[3] but according to other writers, he was the son of Thromius the Locrian.[4] Pindar makes Abderus a son of Poseidon and Thronia,[5] while Photius writes that he was brother of Patroclus,[6] and according to Hellanicus (who considers him the son of Hermes), he was Heracles' lover.[7]


Abderus was mostly known for his tragic role in Heracles' Eighth Labor. Along with others, he helped Heracles capture the four savage mares of Diomedes the king of the Thracian Bistones. Heracles overpowered the grooms and drove the Mares of Diomedes into the sea and left them in the care of Abderus. However, while Heracles was away, the horses devoured Abderus.[2][8] In revenge, Heracles fed Diomedes alive to his own mares. Heracles founded the city of Abdera near Abderus's tomb, where agones (Greek: ἀγῶνες), athletic games consisting of boxing, pancratium and wrestling were held in his honor (but chariot races were banned in respect of how he died).

In some very different traditions, instead of helping Heracles with his Eighth Labor, Abderus (or Abdertis) was a servant of Diomedes, and was killed by Heracles together with his master and his four men-devouring horses.[9][10]


  1. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867), "Abderus", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. 1, p. 2, archived from the original on 2005-07-28, retrieved 2007-08-20
  2. ^ a b Pseudo-Scymnos, Circuit de la terre 646 ff.
  3. ^ Apollodorus, 2.5.8
  4. ^ Strabo, 7.8.43 p. 331 & 7.8.46
  5. ^ Pindar, fr. 52b Race.
  6. ^ Photius, Bibliotheca excerpts, §190.39
  7. ^ Gantz, p. 396; Fowler, p. 287; FGrHist 4 F105.
  8. ^ Philostratus of Lemnos, Eikones 2.25
  9. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 30
  10. ^ Philostratus the Athenian, Heroicus 696 & 730