In Greek mythology, the Hesperides (otherwise known as the Hesperides or Hesperines) were the daughters of the titan Atlante and Nykta (the goddess of the night). According to other sources, they were the daughters of Fortys (the sea god) and Keto (the sea goddess). They were also called "nymphs of the west" or "evening maidens".
The Hesperides were tasked with guarding a tree in the garden of the gods that produced golden apples. This tree was given to the goddess Hera as a wedding gift from Gaia (goddess of the earth). This unique tree also had another guardian, the hundred-headed dragon Ladon.
The golden apples naturally attracted thieves. The hero Heracles managed to steal them, with the help of the titan Atlante. Heracles gave the apples to the goddess Athena, who then returned them to the Hesperides. Another thief in this garden was the goddess of strife, Eris. She threw an apple with the inscription "To the fairest" between the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. The dispute over this apple led ultimately to the Trojan War. Since then, the phrase "apple of discord" has come into use.
It is said that there were three Hesperides. Other sources say there were four, or even seven. They were named AiglÃ©, Erychteia, HesperethÃºsa, ArethÃºsa, HestiÃ¡, HesperÃ¡ and HesperiÃ¡.