The hydraulic automaton of Hercules
the archer and of the dragon’s hiss

It was a conception of Heron of Alexandria depicting Hercules launching an arrow against a dragon that hissed when being hit.

If the viewer of the automaton raised the apple that lay in the middle of the platform then, by concealed chain, the hook in Hercules’ hand was released and the arrow was launched while the valve, which enclosed the bottom of the upper container, was raised and the water penetrated the intermediate container forcing air to leave the built-in tube of the dragon giving a sense of death’s hiss.



SOURCES: ‘Heron of Alexandria, Pneumatics, A41.