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Royal House of Thebes TRAGEDY! Europa • Phoenician – Who else was Phoenician? *Hint: Carthage* Europa • Phoenician – Who else was a Phoenician? • Dido • Seduced by Zeus, who was in the form of a white bull Titian (1562 AD) Rembrandt (1632) Frescoe in Pompeii (covered in 79 AD) Teracotta figurine from Athens, ca. 480 B.C. Europa • Phoenician – Who else was a Phoenician? • Dido • Seduced by Zeus, who was in the form of a white bull • Her brothers ordered not to return until they found her – Cadmus, Cilix, Phoenix • Hopeless quest, she never could be found because she was on Crete! Europa on Crete • Europa landed on Crete and gave birth to Zeus’ children – Minos, Sarpedon, Rhadamanthys • Sarpedon founded the kingdom Lycia (not the Sarpedon who fought in the Trojan War) • Minos Minoans, ancient civilization on Crete • Minos = Pasiphea, Pasiphea Minotaur whom Theseus killed • Minos and Rhadamanthys become 2 of the 3 judges in the underworld – 3rd was Aeacus Minoans • Civilization named by Sir Arthur Evans in 1900 • Google it, really interesting, but essential info – Minoans as early as 2600, lasted until 1150 BC – Significant trade routes – had contact with Egypt and Asia – Height of the Minoans – 1900-1400 BC • Even the lower class people had houses modeled on the palaces – Weakened by an earthquake or a volcano disaster – Eventually taken over and absorbed into “Hellenic” Culture Palace of Knossos today Minoan Palace Fresco, ca. 1400 BC Ladies in Blue Fresco Cadmus • Consulted oracle at Delphi • Told to follow a cow until it lay down – Yes, lay is the past tense of lie, an intransitive verb • Where it lay down, he was to found a city – Thebes!! Eventually, for now Cadmeia Cadmus • Consulted oracle at Delphi • Told to follow a cow until it lies down • Where it lay down, he was to found a city – Thebes!! Eventually, for now Cadmeia • Men killed by dragon, Cadmus killed Dragon, Athena advised • Dragon teeth Spartoi! • Cadmus threw a stone in the middle of them • Spartoi thought one of them had attacked • Fought until only 5 left – helped build Thebes • Ares mad because Cadmus killed sacred Dragon Cadmus fighting the dragon. Side A of a black-figured amphora from Euboea, ca. 560–550 BC Cadmus • Married Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite • Wedding gift from Aphrodite/Hephaestus – necklace of Harmonia, made by Hephaestus – Why is this weird? – Cursed to bring disaster to any who wore it BUT also gives the wearer everlasting youth and beauty – Later used as a bribe to start a war against Thebes (more on that later) • Cadmus and Harmonia – four daughters, one son – Ino, Semele, Autonoe, Agave – Polydorus • Cadmus and Harmonia turned into serpents • All the children ill-fated Semele - Opera by Handel (1744) Semele • Semele catches Zeus’ eye • She gets pregnant • Hera (in disguise) convinces her to ask Zeus to see him in all his true glory, or his real godly form • Zeus promises her by the river Styx anything she asks of him before she asks her question (rash boon) Semele • Semele vaporized • Zeus rescues Dionysus (Twice Born) – Sews him into his thigh – Raised first by Aunt Ino and her husband Athamas – Then by nymphs Birth of Dionysus, Italian Vase, ca. 405-385 BC Ino • Married Athamas – Athamas married to Nephele, but he got tired of her, so he married Ino • Athamas sent messengers to Delphi to ask why famine – Ino intercepted the messengers on the way back, lied to Athamas, said Oracle commanded the sacrifice of Phrixus, son by Nephele • This way, one of her sons would be the king instead Helle and Phrixus • Athamas was about to sacrifice Phrixus when a golden ram appeared • Golden ram took Phrixus and sister Helle on its back and flew away • Helle fell off Hellespont • Phrixus ended up in Colchis, across the Black Sea – Sacrificed the Ram to Zeus to show appreciation – Gave the Golden Fleece to Aeetes, king of Aea • Jason and the Argonauts Mirror, From a tomb at Vetralla, Imperial period Mosaic in Naples (?) site was in German . . . Back to Ino • Athamas first wife, Nephele complained to Hera about Athamas taking a second wife • OR • Ino helped raise Dionysus, making the Jealous Hera furious • Two versions of the results First Ino version • Hera drove Athamas mad – Athamas killed one son (Learchus) with an arrow and then came after the other son (Melicertes) – Ino grabbed M, ran until they came to a cliff and jumped into the water below – She drowned, but because she helped raise Dionysus, Zeus turned her into a sea diety (Leucotha) and her son into a sea diety (Palaemon) John Flaxmann (1755-1826) “The Fury of Athamas” Second Ino Version • Athamas and Ino both went mad – Athamas kills L. – Ino boils M. in a cauldron and jumps into the river holding the cauldron in her arms • No matter what version, the boys and the mother die • Athamas fled from Boetia (area around Thebes) Autonoe • Mother of Actaeon • Actaeon – Out hunting – Stumbled upon Artemis while she was bathing – Maiden Goddess upset he saw her naked in her secret bathing place Titian Autonoe • Mother of Actaeon • Actaeon – Out hunting – Stumbled upon Artemis while she was bathing – Maiden Goddess upset he saw her naked in her secret bathing place – Turned him into a stag – Set his own dogs loose on him The Fountain of Diana and Actaeon (sculptures by Paolo Persico, Brunelli, Pietro Solari) – at the Palace of Caserta near Naples, 18th century Agave • Married to one of the Spartoi (Serpent teeth man), had son Pentheus • Pentheus – Refused to accept cousin Dionysus as a god and did not allow him to have his center of worship in Thebes Agave • Agave was a Maenad – female follower of Dionysus – Mistook Pentheus for a wild animal in the forest (Dionysus made them all crazy) – Ripped him to pieces Pottery, ca. 480 BC Fresco in Pompeii Amphion and Zethus • Twin sons of Zeus and Antiope – Zeus seduced her in the form of a satyr • Antiope’s Uncle Lycus – regent of Thebes (first to Labdacus, then to Labdacus’ son, Laius) • Lycus ordered his great nephews to be exposed – They were discovered and raised by a cowherd • Gave Antiope to wife, Dirce, who treated her very cruelly Amphion and Zethus • Mom Antiope escaped wicked Aunt Dirce and found her two sons • Amphion and Zethus returned to Thebes – Killed Dirce • Had her tied to the horns of a bull – Forced Lycus out of Thebes (or they killed him) • King Laius was spirited away – Became co-rulers • City finally named “Thebes” after Zethus’ wife, Thebe Fresco in the house of Vetii in Pompeii Amphion and Zethus • Built the walls of Thebes with 7 gates – Zethus very strong – he carried the rocks – Amphion very talented musician – got the rocks to follow him as he played his lyre • Amphion married Niobe – Had 7 daughters and 7 sons, • Niobe boasted she was a better than Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, because she had more children • Apollo and Artemis killed all or most of the children Jacque Louis David – 1772 - Neoclassical Hellenistic Statue – in the Uffizi Niobe being turned to stone – vase, 4th century B.C. Laius • Amphion and Zethus died of old age, Laius returned and became king of Thebes • Laius married Jocasta • Prophecy that Laius’ son would kill him and have children with his own mother, Jocasta Laius • Laius ordered newborn son to be exposed • Infant discovered by a shepherd OR shepherd didn’t have heart to leave the child to die – Shepherd gave child to Queen of Corinth, wife of Polybus, who raised child as their own – Oedipus = swollen foot Oedipus • Learned from Delphi prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother • Thought Polybus, king of Corinth, was his father, so he left to avoid the prophecy • Oedipus met an old man in the road – Old man attacked Oedipus – Oedipus killed the old man and all but one of his 5 guards Oedipus and the Sphinx • Sphinx had been killing travelers who couldn’t answer her riddle – What walks on 4 legs in the morning, 2 legs in the afternoon, and 3 legs at night? • Oedipus answered correctly: Man – because as infant would crawl on it hands and feet (4); in most of his life, he would walk on two legs; but when he was old, he would have to rely on a walking stick (3) • The Sphinx drowned herself Amphora, 450-440 B.C. Oedipus • Creon married Oedipus to Jocasta and gave him the kingship as a reward – Oedipus had just unknowingly married his mother • Oedipus ruled happily with Jocasta until their sons were grown – Had 4 kids – Polyneices, Eteocles, Ismene, Antigone • Then Thebes was struck with a plague that led to a famine . . . Things were bad Oedipus • Sends Creon to Delphi – Oracle said murderer of Laius must be punished • Teiresias – Blind prophet – Reveals that Oedipus had killed Laius • Oedipus refuses to believe and investigates further Oedipus • Messenger comes to Thebes to announce that Polybus, king of Corinth, has died – Oedipus believes he has beaten the prophecy – Messenger reveals Oedipus was adopted! • Jocasta puts together the truth and slips away • Oedipus learns from the old shepherd that Laius was his father and Jocasta his mother Oedipus • Oedipus goes to find his mother/wife • Finds she has committed suicide – She stabbed herself • Oedipus puts out his own eyes – Doesn’t want to see the shame in his new world • Oedipus goes into exile – His daughter Antigone went with him – Both daughters present when he died (antigone and Ismene) Seven Against Thebes • While Oedipus was in exile, sons Eteocles and Polyneices were to alternate years as rulers • However, Eteocles refused to give up the throne when Polyneices returned to Thebes for his turn and banished his brother from Thebes • Polyneices went to Argos to appeal to king Adrastus for help Seven Against Thebes • Adrastus married Polynices and Tydeus to his daughters and promised to restore them to their kingdomes – Tydeus had been exiled from his own kingdom as well • Amphiaraus – One of the argonauts – Married to Adrastus’ sister, Eriphyle – As a seer, knew the war against Thebes would fail – Did not want to go to war with Adrastus Seven Against Thebes • Amphiaraus and Adrastus – Had an arrangement that any disagreement would be settled by Adrastus’ sister and Amphiaraus’ wife, Eriphyle – Polyneices bribed Eriphyle with the Necklace of Harmonia, starting the war of the Seven Against Thebes Seven Against Thebes • Adrastus – only survivor of the Argives • Amphiaraus – earth swallowed him alive because Zeus felt bad for his favorite seer • Capaneus – first to reach the top of the walls, – boasted not even Zeus could stop him, – struck down with lightning Capaneus scales the city walls to overthrow King Creon who looks down from the battlements. Campanian red-figure neck-amphora, ca. 340 BC Seven Against Thebes • Hippomedon – father of Polydorus • Parthenopaeus – son of Hippomenes and Atalanta • Polynices – killed by his brother, whom he also killed – Not always considered one of the Seven • Tydeus – Fatally wounded – Athena about to save him, but he ate his enemy’s (Melanippus) brains, so she let him die Seven Against Thebes • In order for Thebes to be successful, Creon’s son Menoeceus had to die in battle – He snuck out to join the war – Thebes won • Because both brothers were dead, Creon became ruler of Thebes • Adrastus escaped to Athens – More on that later Antigone • Theseus had made sure that Antigone and Ismene made it home to Thebes safely • Waited in Thebes during the war to see which brother would win • Neither won, both died, so Creon became ruler • Polyneices and the others who died fighting against Thebes were to be left as bird food by decree of Creon – Anyone who defied his ruling would be punished with death Antigone • Ismene refused to go against Creon’s orders • Antigone snuck out and performed burial rites for Polyneices • Antigone got caught by the guards – Ismene tried to share the blame, but Antigone wouldn’t let her • Creon punishes Antigone by entombing her in a cave Antigone in front of the dead Polynices – Nikoforos Lytras - 1865 Antigone at her Brother's Grave Red Figure, 4th century BC Musáe du Louvre, Paris Antigone • Her fiance, Creon’s son Haemon, went to rescue her, but she had already hung herself • Creon also came to let her out, Haemon tried to kill him, failed and then killed himself in front of his father • Creon’s wife, Eurydice, killed herself out of grief of losing all 3 of her children • Creon’s pride killed his niece and destroyed his own family Back to Adrastus • The remaining generals still were not buried • Adrastus appealed to Theseus • Theseus at first refused to help – His mother reasoned with him • Theseus agreed – Marched on Thebes – Defeated Thebes – Did not sack the city, simply demanded the dead receive their proper burials Epigoni • The sons were not happy that the Thebans were not being punished for the dishonor to their fathers – They swore vengeance on the Thebans by some day conquering Thebes • Epigoni – Greek for after born • Attacked Thebes 10 years after their fathers’ deaths Epigoni • Aegialeus, son of Adrastus - irony-the only one to die, son of the only one to have survived the first siege. • Thersandros, son of Polynices • Alcmaeon, son of Amphiareus • Diomedes, son of Tydeus • Polydorus, son of Hippomedon • Sthenelos, son of Capaneus • Promachus, son of Parthenopaeus Epigoni • Aegialeus died – Adrastus died of grief, fulfilling a prophecy that until all the Seven Against Thebes were dead, the Epigoni could not win • The Epigoni conquered Thebes – Most of the Thebans fled to Ilyria • Thersander, son of Polyneices, became the king of Thebes The End
"Royal House of Thebes"