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Ladon was the serpent-like dragon that twined and twisted around the tree in the Garden of the Hesperides and guarded the golden apples. He was overcome by Herakles. The following day, Jason and the Argonauts passed by on their chthonic return journey from Colchis and heard the lament of "shining" Aegle, one of the four Hesperides, and viewed the still-twitching Ladon.

Ladon was given several parentages, each of which placed him at an archaic level in Greek myth: the offspring of "Keto, joined in heated passion with Phorcys" or of Typhon, who was himself serpent-like from the waist down, and Echidna or of Gaia herself, or Hera: "The Dragon which guarded the golden apples was the brother of the Nemean lion" asserted Ptolemy Hephaestion. In one version, Heracles did not kill Ladon.

The image of the dragon (Ladon) coiled round the tree, originally adopted by the Hellenes from Near Eastern and Minoan sources, is familiar from surviving Greek vase-painting. In the 2nd century CE, Pausanias saw among the treasuries at Olympia an archaic cult image in cedar-wood of Heracles and the apple-tree of the Hesperides with the dragon coiled around it.

Dioscorus Siculus gives an euhemerist interpretation of Ladon, as a human shepherd guarding a flock of golden-fleeced sheep, adding "But with regards to such matters it will be every man’s privilege to form such opinions as accord with his own belief".

The constellation Draco is often mistaken for Ladon. However in actuallity Draco is a Drakon the Gigantes set against Athena. Athena however wrapped it around a sticvh and threw said Drakon to the sky.

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