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ANTIGONE 100.00%
Antigone, daughter of Eurytion and wife of Peleus (q.v.), hanged herself for grief at the supposed infidelity of her husband.
Daughter of Aedipus and Iocasta, who accompanied her blind father into exile. After his death in Attica she returns to Thebes, and, in defiance of her uncle Creon's prohibition, performs the last honours to her brother Polyneices, fallen in single fight with Eteocles, by strewing his body with dust. For this she is entombed alive in the family vault, and there hangs herself; and her betrothed, Haemon, the son of Creon, stabs himself beside her corpse. Such is the version of Sophocles. Another tradition represents Antigone and Argeia, the widow of Polyneices, as secretly burning his body by night on the funeral pile of Eteocles. When seized by the guards, Creon hands her over to Haemon for execution; but he hides her in a shepherd's hut, and lives with her in secret wedlock. Their son, grown up and engaging in some funeral games at Thebes, is recognised by a birthmark peculiar to the family. To escape Creon's vengeance, Haemon kills both Antigone and himself.
CREON 38.61%
Son of Menceceus, great-grandson of Pentheus, brother of Demo, and father of Hmmon and Menoeceus (see articles under these names). He governed Thebes after Laius' death until the coming of CEdipus; and again after the fall of Eteocles until the latter's son, Laodamas, came of age. (See ANTIGONE.)
Son of (Epidus and Iocaste, was driven out of Thebes by his brother Eteocles (see CEDIPUS), and fled to Adrastus (q.v.) of Argos, who gave him his daughter Argia in marriage, and brought about the expedition of the Seven against Thebes in order to restore him. He fell in single combat with Eteocles. His body, which had been thrown to the birds, was buried by his sister Antigone (q.v.). His son was Thersander (q.v.).
Son of CEdipus king of Thebes and Iocaste, brother of Polynices and Antigone. He broke the agreement he had made with his brother to give him the kingdom of Thebes for one year. Polynices accordingly organized tha campaign of the Seven Chiefs against Thebes, and fell in single combat with Eteocles. (See CEDIPUS and SEVEN AGAINST THEBES.)
PELEUS 20.31%
Son of Aeacus and of Endeis, and brother of Telamon. He was banished with his brother, on account of the murder of his step-brother Phocus, whom he had slain with the discus out of envy at his strength and skill. His father banished him from Aegina, but he was purified from his murder, and hospitably received by his uncle Eurytion, king of Thessalian Phthia. Eurytion gave to Peleus his daughter Antigone, mother of the beautiful Polydora, and one-third of his land as a dowry. Peleus accompanied Eurytion in the Calydonian Hunt, and killed him unawares with a javelin. Thereupon he fled from Phthia to Iolcus, where, once again, king Acastus cleansed him from the guilt of bloodshed. Because he rejected the proposals of Astydameia, the wife of Acastus, she slandered him to his wife and to her husband, telling the former that Peleus was wooing her daughter Sterope, and the latter that he wished to persuade her to infidelity. Antigone killed herself for sorrow, but Acastus planned revenge. When Peleus, wearied by the chase, had fallen asleep on Pelion, Acastus left him alone, after hiding in a dunghill his irresistible sword, the work of Hephaestus and the gift of the gods. When Peleus awoke and sought his sword, he was attacked by the Centaurs, and only delivered by the presence among them of Chiron, his maternal grandfather. With Chiron's help he recovered his sword, slew Acastus and his wife, and took possession of the throne of Iolcus. The gods decreed him the seagoddess Thetis (q.v.) as his wife. With Chiron's help he overcame her resistance in a grotto by the sea, although she endeavoured to escape by changing into fire, water, beast, or fish. The marriage was celebrated in Chiron's cave on the summit of Pelion, and the immortals appeared and gave Peleus presents: Poseidon, the undying steeds Balius and Xanthus, and all the gods the weapons with which Achilles afterwards fought before Troy; Chiron presented him with a lance made of an ash tree on Mount Pelion. Apollo and the Muses sang of the deeds of Peleus and of his unborn son. But Eris, or Strife, also appeared, uninvited, and threw among the goddesses a golden apple with the inscription, For the Fairest, thus giving the first cause for the Trojan War (q.v.). In this war the only offspring of this marriage, the hero Achilles, is said to have found an untimely end during his father's lifetime. According to a later tradition, unknown to Homer, Thetis forsook her husband, because his presence hindered her from making her son immortal.
OEdipus, king of Thebes, had pronounced a curse upon his sons Eteocles and Polynices, that they should die at one another's hand. In order to make the fulfilment of the curse impossible, by separating himself from his brother, Polynices left Thebes while his father was still alive, and at Argos married Argeia, the daughter of Adrastus (q.v.). On the death of his father he was recalled, and offered by Eteocles, who was the elder of the two, 1 the choice between the kingdom and the treasures of OEdipus; but, on account of a quarrel that arose over the division, he departed a second time and induced his father-in-law to undertake a war against his native city. According to another legend, the brothers deprived their father of the kingdom, and agreed to rule alternately, and to quit the city for a year at a time. Polynices, as the younger, first went into voluntary banishment; but when, after the expiration of a year, Eteocles denied him his right, and drove him out by violence, he fled to Argos, where Adrastus made him his son-in-law, and undertook to restore him with an armed force. Adrastus was the leader of the army; besides Polynices and Tydeus of Calydon, the other son-in-law of the king, there also took part in the expedition the king's brothers Hippomedon and Parthenopoeus (q.v.), Capaneus, a descendant of Proetus, and Amphiaraus (q.v.), the latter against his will, and foreseeing his own death. The Atridae were invited to join in the expedition, but were withheld by evil omens from Zeus. When the Seven reached Nemea on their march, a fresh warning befell them. Hypsipyle, the nurse of Opheltes, the son of king Lycurgus, laid her charge down on the grass in order to lead the thirsty warriors to a spring, during her absence the child was killed by a snake. They gave him solemn burial, and instituted the Nemean games in his honour; but Amphiaraus interpreted the occurrence as an omen of his own fate, and accordingly gave the boy the name of Archemoros (i.e. leader to death). When they arrived at the river Asopus in Boeotia, they sent Tydeus (q.v.) to Thebes, in the hope of coming to terms. He was refused a hearing, and the Thebans laid an ambush for him on his return. The Seven now advanced to the walls of the city, and posted themselves with their troops one at each of its seven gates. Against them were posted seven chosen Thebans (among them Melanippus and Periclymenus). Menoeceus (q.v.) devoted himself to death to insure the victory for the Thebans. In the battle at the sanctuary of the Ismenian Apollo they were driven right back to their gates; the giant Capaneus had already climbed the wall by a scaling ladder, and was presumptuously boasting that even the lightning of Zeus should not drive him back, when the flaming bolt of the god smote him down, and dashed him to atoms. The beautiful Parthenopaesus also fell, with his skull shattered by a rock that was hurled at him. Adrastus desisted from the assault, and the armies, which had suffered severely, agreed that the originators of the quarrel, Eteocles and Polynices, should fight out their difference in single combat. Both brothers fell, and a fresh battle arose over their bodies. In this, all of the assailants met their death, except Adrastus, who was saved by the speed of his black-maned charger. According to the older legends, his eloquence persuaded the Thebans to give the fallen due burial. When the bodies of the hostile brothers were placed on the pyre, the flames, which were meant to destroy them together, parted into two portions. According to the version of the story invented by the Attic tragedians, the Thebans refused to bury their foes, but at the prayer of Adrastus were compelled to do so by Theseus; according to another version, he conquered the Thebans and buried the dead bodies at Eleusis in Attica (AeEschylus, Septem contra Thelbas). For the burial of Polynices, see ANTIGONE; further see EPIGONI. 1 This is the common tradition, followed by Euripides (Phoem. 71). Sophocles, however, exceptionally makes Polynices the elder brother (Ed. Col. 375, 1294, 1422).
Son of Laius, descendant of Cadmus through his paternal grandfather Labdacus and his great-grandfather Polydorus. According to Homer [Od. xi 271-280], he kills his father and marries his mother Epicaste (in later accounts Iocaste); the gods, however, immediately cause the misdeed to be known, and Epicaste hangs herself; OEdipus however rules on in Thebes, haunted with many sufferings by the vengeful spirit of his mother. Homer also mentions the funeral games celebrated in his honour [Il. xxiii 679], but does not tell of the birth of his sons and the grounds of their feud. According to the ancient OEdipodeia of Cinaethon, OEdipus after Iocaste's death marries Euryganeia, whence sprang his sons Eteocles and Polynices, and his daughters Antigone and Ismene [Paus., ix 5, 11]. According to the ancient legend, OEdipus curses his sons either because Polynices had set before him at the banquet the table and goblet which Cadmus and Laius had used (which he regarded as an attempt to remind him of his transgression), or because they had inadvertently sent him the haunch-bone of a victim instead of the shoulder-bone. In the hands of the tragedians, especially of Aeschylus and Sophocles (in the OEdipus Tyrannus), the legend has been changed into the following form. Laius, husband of Iocaste, daughter of Menceceus, and sister of Creon, has a curse resting on him in consequence of some misdeed. He is told by the oracle of Apollo that he will die by the hand of his son. When a son is born to him, he accordingly orders a slave to expose him, with his feet pierced, upon Cithaeron. The slave consigns the child to the care of a shepherd belonging to the king of Corinth, Polybus, and he takes it to his master. The boy, who derives the name OEdipus (Swellfoot), from his swollen feet, is adopted by the childless Polybus and his wife Periboea in place of offspring of their own. On reaching manhood, he is reproached during a carousal with not being the son of his presumptive parents, and betakes himself without their knowledge to Delphi, in order to find out the truth. The terrible response of the oracle, to the effect that he will slay his own father and then beget children in wedlock with his mother, causes him to avoid Corinth. At the place in Phocis where the road from Delphi to Daulis leaves the road to Thebes, lie is met by his real father, who is on a journey to Delphi to question the god concerning the devastation of his land by the Sphinx. As OEdipus will not move aside, a quarrel arises, and he kills his father together with his attendants one of whom alone escapes. He proceeds to Thebes, and there frees the city from its plague by solving the Sphinx's riddle; as a reward he receives from Creon the dominion of Thebes and the late king's widow, Iocaste, for a wife; and the latter bears him four children (given by the older myth to Euryganeia). Years afterwards failure of crops and pestilence come upon Thebes, and the oracle promises liberation from the disaster only if the murder of Laius be requited by the banishment of the murderer. The result of OEdipus' eager endeavours to identify this person is the discovery of the horrors which he has unconsciously perpetrated. Iocaste hangs herself in despair, and CEdipus puts out his own eyes. Deposed from his throne, and imprisoned at Thebes by his sons to conceal his shame from men's eyes, or (according to another account) driven by them into banishment, whither his daughters accompany him, he pronounces against his sons a curse, to the effect that they shall divide their inheritance with each other by means of the sword, a curse which is fulfilled with awful exactness. (See SEVEN AGAINST THEBES.) His grave was afterwards shown at the village of Eteonus, on the borders of Attica and Bceotia, in the sanctuary of Demeter, and worship done to him as to a hero. At Athens too, in a sacred demesne of the Erinyes, between the Areopagus and the Acropolis, was a monument to OEdipus, whose bones were supposed to have been brought hither from Thebes.--Sophocles, in his OEdipus at Colonus, follows another legend. He represents him as coming to the Attic deme of Colonus at the bidding of Apollo, and as finding there, in the sanctuary of the now propitiated Eumenides, the longed-for peace of the grave. His bones, the place of burial of which was known to none, are a precious treasure for the country, to guard it from hostile invasions.
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