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CLAS 203 Lecture Notes - Eteocles, Polynices, Theban Cycle

Course Code
CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

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CLAS203 Lecture 26 Notes
The Founding of Thebes:
Two foundings: one local, one foreign
Mythologically, Thebes was found from the East; “Cadmus” means from the East
Foreign founding:
o Agenor (Tyre) sends his sons to find their sister, Europa
o Europa, Cadmus seeks help from Oracle, oracle tells him to follow the
cow until it lies down and to found a city at that place
o Oracle
o Dragon combat to sacrifice cow, Cadmus needs water, sends his
companions to get water from spring only to find it was guarded by a
dragon as the spring was sacred to Ares; dragon kills companion so
Cadmus goes to fetch water himself, and slays the dragon. Cadmus takes
its teeth guided by Athena and keeps half of them; half goes to Jason
o Spartoi best line of men of Thebans, came from dragon’s tooth
resurrecting men, fighting each until 5 remain who becomes Cadmus’
Local founding
o Chthonius (inner part of city), Nicteus, Niteis,
o Zethus and Amphion: second founding but leave
no direct descents
o blend of stories
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