In Greek mythology
, the Hesperides
who live in the Arcadian Mountains in Greece
, or near the Atlas mountains
. Either way, they are said to live in a beautifully tended garden. This garden is the source of the golden apples that Gaia
gave to Hera
on her wedding day. The tree is guarded by a hundred-headed dragon
. Only one hero ever managed to get any apples: Heracles
. He tricked Atlas
, the Hesperides' father, into getting the apples for him as part of one of his Twelve Labors
There were four Hesperides: Aegle ("dazzling light"), Arethusa, Erytheia, and Hesperia. They are sometimes also called the African Sisters.
They are variously daughters of Phorcys or Nyx or Atlas and Hesperia.
The ancients also named Hesperides some islands on the extreme west of their known world. They may have been the Canary Islands or Cape Verde.
Hesperides was the original name of a Greek city in Cyrenaica, North Africa, that was traditionally founded in 446 BC, by a brother of the king of Cyrene. The city was refounded in the Ptolemaic period as Berenice, the name by which it is generally remembered. (It is the site of the modern seaport of Benghazi, Libya.)