Relaxing, if rather muddy, walk from Anglesey Abbey to Quy Fen yesterday. Returning along Quy Water the bare winter trees allowed glimpses into the private part of the Abbey where Hercules and Antaeus wrestle on the lawn. The figures, in Portland stone, by a sculptor of the Italian School or British (English) School, is after a bronze by Giambologna and dates from the 18th century.
Antaeus, son of Gaia and Poseidon, was a Libyan giant who appeared to be invincible. He challenged anyone passing by to a wrestling match that he invariably won – after winning he killed the looser. Invincible until he met Hercules. The two fought as Heracles was on his way to the Garden of Hesperides as his 11th Labour. Heracles realized that he could not win by throwing or pinning Antaeus, so he held the giant aloft and crushed him to death in a bear hug.