CLASSICS 102 Lecture Notes March 13
continuing with CADMIA / THEBES
MYTHICAL SAGA OF THEBES continued
LYCUS AND ANTIOPE AND LAIUS
antiope loved by zeus
gives birth to twins: AMPHION and ZETHUS, left in nature to die
DIRCE and LYCUS imprison ANTIOPE
the twins kill lycus and antiope is released after 20 years
dirce is dragged around by a bull
the twins become the kings of Thebes.
Laius had been son of Labdicus, raised by Lycus.
Laius is exiled while the twins rule.
Twins build WALLS OF THE CITY, were built by AMPHION'S MUSIC.
WIFE OF ZETHUS is the nymph THEBE, which is how it turns into
the wife of AMPHION is NIOBE (remember her hubris towards leto)
the twins rule till they die, then LAIUS is called back from
exile to rule thebes (was in a Elis, ruled by King Pelops).
LAIUS falls in love kings son, CHYSIPPUS, and steals him when he
leaves. Pelops curses him.
he goes to delphi to find out the curse.
turns out a son will kill him. OEDIPUS
LAIUS marries JOCASTA, and when she gives birth to a child, he
is given to an attendent to bring into the forest and drive a
spike through his feet so he can't get away on Mt. Cithareon.
guy goes and stakes his feet, then feels bad, so unstakes and
gives oedipus to a shepherd who gives it to a king and queen of
CORINTH. MEROPE and POLYBUS
they call him OEDIPUS (swell feet) cause his feet are swollen.
So Oedipus grows up beingiving that MEROPE and POLYBUS of
Corinth are his parents.
he hears rumours later that they are not his real parents.
he goes to delphi and asks if tehse are his real parents. what
he gets back is "YOU ARE GOING TO KILL YOUR FATHER AND MARRY
so he doesn't go back to corinth for fear of fulfilling the
prophesy and instead goes to THEBES
he runs into his father, Laius, who is in disguise. they get
into an argument and Oedipus kills him. doesnt know it is the
king nor his father.
when he gets to Thebes, he discoveres the city is being
terrorized by a SPHINX, a birdlike creature with the head of a
female. it was sent by Hera because Laius had violated a male
youth and got away wiht it scot free. Laius was escaping the
city to ask delphi how to get rid of the sphinx.
so proph is half fulfilled
sphinx wouldn't let anyone in or out of thebes unless they
answered a riddle. if you got it wrong, it would eat you.
WHAT IS IT THAT HAS ONE NAME THAT IS FOUR FOOTED, TWO FOOTED,
THEN THREE FOOTED.
the answer is MAN.
he gets it right. in one version the sphinx flies away, in
another he kills the sphinx, in a nother the sphinx jumps off a cliff and kills itself.
this sphinx part is often depicted in artwork.
famous pics are by the OEDIPUS PAINTER
3 versions of Oedipus fate, 2 from Homer, 1 from Sophocles
CREON declared that whoever got rid of the sphinx became the new
king of thebes and gets to marry the queen.
SOPHOCLES VERSION IS BEST KNOWN:
● Oedipus marries Jocasta. has 4 kids: 2 daugters: ANTIGONE,
ISMENE, two sons: POLYNICES, ETEOCLES.
● thebes begins experiencing a plague, cause the killer of
the king had never been caught and prosecuted
● oedipus says as soon as i find the killer, I'LL EXILE HIM
● Tiresias (blind seer) and Creon (interim king whenever
rulers MEROPE and POLYBUS in thebes) think Oedipus killed
the king. Oedipus just thinks they are plotting to
● Messenger from Corinth comes and says Father died, we need
you to come back and rule as King.
● Shepherd returns and reveals the truth.
● with the truth revealed, JOCASTA hangs herself,
● OEDIPUS blinds himself,
● thebans drive him out of town.
● he leaves the city with his one daughter, ANTIGONE, who
guides him around now that he is blinded
● Creon takes over Thebes
● they find their way to a city town called COLONUS in
Attica (near athens, sophocles is athenian, so lots of
plays will lead ot athens or involve athena etc)
● inhabitants of colonus don't want him there ● they inform him that he is on the GROVE OF EUMENIDES,
these were previously the ERINYES / FURIES, the ones who
hunt down and torment and get justice against those who
commit crimes agains their own family members.
● the Colonus people fetch Theseus, the great hero of
athens, to help them get rid of Oedipus.
● then sophocles begins justifying oedipus and his actions,
has him saying it is not his fault, it is the gods' fault.
if he had known, he would not have done these things. he
acted honourably according to the info he had.
● it is impossible to know the will of gods and fates
● if he had known, he would not have done it.
● when Theseus shows up, Oedipus asks for his protection,
which he does. so theseus doesn't beat his ass like
colonusians wanted, but befriends him.
● THESEUS PROTECTS OEDIPUS
● he is taken to athens, an honourable democratic city that
focuses on justice
ANTIGONE cmoes into play again later.
● eventually Creon shows up in Thebes and says come back to
Thebes so we can prosecute you for killing the king
● he says fuck no
● his daughters are kidnapped to make him come back
● theseus rescues the daughters
● then Oedipus asks for protection of the Eumenides (who are
supposed to punish him. builds on his innosence)
● his two sons show up and ask for help deciding who should
rule Thebes. He disowns them. they didn't help him. DISOWNS
● at this point, it is time for his death. theseus guides
him to a secret location and no one knows where it is.
amongst lighting and thunder, he just disappears. only theseus knows where he has gone and what has happened.
● because of his proven innocense, he becomes a Hero and a
cult is established in his honour.
- he subconsciously wanted to marry his mother and kill his
father. this myth was created to explain unconscious desires.
sophocles writes that oedipus becomes a hero cause he has
strength to accept the truth and situation. he wins personal and
SEVEN AGAINST THEBES
- all oedipus family members have problems
- this deals primarily with the sons of oedipus
- the sons had been cursed by their father 3 times
1. cursed when they served him with the wrong dishes
2. cursed for being served a small peice of meat
3. cursed when they come to ask for his help
curse was always the same: that they would divide thebes, always
fight each other, and eventually kill each other.
what happens to them comes from AESCHYLUS
the two brothers exchanged rules, a year at the time, and during
the year, the other would leave the city.
ETEOCLES went first
POLYNICES goes to Argos. he marries the king's daughter there,
Argea, making him next in line for the throne in Argos.
after a year, Polynices goes back to Thebes and Eteocles is
like, NAH, I'M GONNA STAY KING ALL THE TIME. Polynices brings his homies from argos to depose Eteocles
the city is said to have SEVEN GATES. seven heroes of argos are
brought to attach each gate of thebes. this is why it is called
the Seven gates of thebes.
one was a prophet named AMPHIARAUS who realized that six of the
seven would die in the attack, including himself. only ANDRASTUS
survives. naturally, amphiaraus didn't wanna go.
POLYNICES turns to AMPHIARAUS' wife, gives her the NECKLACE OF
HARMONIA (which brings th eowner bad luck) and she convinces him
to go to battle, knowing he'll die.
before he leaves he gets his sons to promise to attack thebes
when they are over for i foresee that you will be successful.
secondly, kill your mom for me.
the seven go to Thebes
JOURNEY TO THEBES
*in greek myth, when you are sent somewhere, it is never a to b,
there are many adventures along the way. ie heracles, jason
the seven stop off in a place called NEMEA. the infant son of
the local king just died by snake bite. they go and kill the
snake. in honour of the king's son, the NEMEAN GAMES, equivalent
to olympics, are established in their honour.
after, the Argives try to solve the problem diplomatically with
thebes. the send TYDEUS, one of the seven, to Thebes to convince
Eteocles to compromise with Polynices.
but he competes in the athletic events there and beats everyone,
ticked off, teh thebans try to kill him. they send 50 guys to
ambush him as he makes his way back.
Tydeus kills all but one of the 50. the last guy runs back to
thebes and tells them. Eteocles realizes that the father's curse is coming true.
Tiresius also looks into the future and realizes the thebans
will win the war if one of the thebans sacrificed himself for
the benefit of the city.
Creon's son MENOECEUS and sacrifices himself ('DEVOTIO')
the seven warriors fight at each of the gates.
the two brothers meet at one of the gates
the two brothers simultaneously kill each other
initially, two men escape. ADRASTUS with a super horse named
AXION. but AMPHIARAUS also is escaping surprisingly, but he
stops at the water for a drink and the earth swallows him cause
you aren't supposed to escape the fates. but a cult is erected
at the site of his death celebrating him.
after bros kill each other, eteocles is properly buried. but the
body of Polynices is not, and a Creon issues an edict that he
cannot be properly buried. those who do will be stoned.
ANTIGONE wants to bury his brother. she goes to the corpse and
gives it a symbolic burial by taking a handfull of dirt and
throwing it on the corpse.
she is caught. she defied the king, so she's brought before
Creon to explain herself.
in this long explanation she claims it is a natural law and it
is the responisibility of family members to bury. it is the law
of the gods! it is my right and responsibility and the gods
themselves demand it.
Tiresias, old blind seer, agrees with her. Creon doesn't care. he decrees that Antigone is to be walled up
in a cave where she can starve to death.
Tiresias reiterates that Antigone is right, and if Polynices is
not properly buried, terrible things will happen to creon and
fearing that he might be right, creon buries polynices real
quick. then he runs to free antigone, but it is too late. she
this starts a chain reaction of suicides.
● Haemon, son of Creon, who was engaged to Antigone, kills
● then the mother of Haemon commits suicide in sadness.
so the family members of creon begin dying by their own hand.
frequently depicted in art is Antigone's defense before the
king, rather than the dirt motion.
AMPHIARAUS' sons kill mom and grow up and go to thebes to take
Tiresias foresees it so everyone flees thebes
they sack thebes
TIRESIAS: saw athena nude so she blinds him but gives him gift
of prophesy. said to have lived seven generations.
around from Cadmus to sons of Amhiaraus.
even after he dies, people (like Odysseus) go to see Tiresias in
the underworld to ask him questions.
most important prophet in ancient world (as opposed to delphi as
famous center for prophesy) THE MYCENAEAN SAGA
much weirder family
family tree in the slides.
when he was alive, gods and humans hung out togetehr. he would
cheat the gods and take advantage of them. he would steal the
nectar and ambrosia of the gods.
On one occassion he invites the gods and goddesses over for
dinner and makes them his son Pelos as the meal as a "test of
divinity" like lacaon.
- some scholars are there to account for early cannibalism in
greek society. it was a way to understand and discuss the
problem. there is no evidence for it in the greeks. there is
child sacrifice in the minoans but that is it.
DEMETER has a taste for it because Persephone had just been
kidnapped. the other gods and goddesses don't eat cause they
Because of this, Tantalos is sent to underworld with punishment
of everlasting thirst and hunger
His son PELOPS is resurrected.
the peice demeter chowed down on is replaced by an ivory
his name is given to the Pelloponnesus. Pelops becomes heroic
figure. he is associated with Olympic Games. one of his myths is
on the temple of zeus: the race of Pelops race of pelops
dangerous race. he goes to Pisa (in greece not italy).
Pisa is ruled by OENOMAUS who has fallen love wiht his own
daughter, HIPPODAMIA. because he can't have her, he will creat
an impossible race for the hand of his daughter.
anyone interested in the daughter must beat Oenomaus in a
chariot race. the rules: race to Corinth. Suitor gets a
headstart with daughter in chariot. if oenomaus caught up with
you, he would stab you in the back with a spear then cut your
head off then nail it to his palace door. by the time PELOPS
shows up, there are 13 heads on the door. the reason he always
catches the suitors is cause Oenomaus has horses sired by the
PELOPS CHALLENGES OENOMAUS
he prays to his lover, POSEIDON for tireless winged horses.
Poseidon gives them.
pelops has a back up plan too. goes to Oenomos' charioteer named
MYRTILOS, who agrees to remove the linchpins of the king. the
reward what that myrtilos gets primae noctus.
the next day, Oenomaos chariot falls apart and the king is
dragged to death.