This beast, famed for its amazing swiftness, was sacred to Artemis and therefore under her protection. Herakles' third Labour was to bring the stag, alive and unhurt, to Eurystheus. The hero pursued it for a whole year and finally captured it while it slept. Artemis confronted Herakles and claimed her property, but he threw the blame for the stag's capture on to his master Eurystheus, and was allowed to carry the beast back to Argos where he set it free.
Above: Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay cup, about 490 BC. Paris, Musée du Louvre G263. © Musée du Louvre, Paris Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 164