Royal house of thebes
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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).

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Royal House of Thebes

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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 GraveRed Figure, 4th century BCMusáe 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


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