(Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonos, Antigone)
(Details and references in: Tripp, Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology)
- LAIUS is left an orphaned minor by his father Labdacus
- AMPHION AND ZETHUS rule Thebes (Build the Cadmeia) and exile Laius
(B. Powell, Classical Myth p. 475)
- Laius goes to live in Elis (PISA) with King Pelops (son of Tantalus son of Zeus)
- Laius becomes very good friends with young Chrysippus, youngest child of King Pelops
- Laius and Chrysippus run away together (or Laius rapes Chrysippus). Pelops curses Laius. (Powell, 475)
- Laius returns to Thebes and becomes King
- Laius marries his cousin (?) Jocasta, but they are childless
- Laius goes to Delphi and intends to ask Apollo's advice; Apollo announces that Laius will have a child
who will kill him (B. Powell, p. 475)
- Laius and Jocasta have a baby son (Oedipus) whom they plan to kill. The royal shepherd is ordered to
dispose of the child on Mt. Cithaeron. Instead he gives Oedipus to the royal Corinthian shepherd.
- The Royal Corinthian Shepherd takes the child back to the childless king and queen of Corinth (Polybus and Merope), who adopt him.
- At about the age of 18, at a dinner party, one of Oedipus' friends makes a rude remark about his not being a real Corinthian but only adopted. Oedipus is shocked and shamed, and goes off to Delphi to
ask Apollo about the truth.
- Apollo tells Oedipus he is doomed to kill his father and sleep with his mother. (Powell, p. 476)
- Oedipus kills his father (within hours, at The Three Ways)
- Oedipus kills the SPHINX on the way from the Three Ways to Thebes
- Oedipus is received at Thebes as a national hero, and invited to marry the recently widowed queen
- Oedipus and Jocasta have four children: Eteocles and Polyneices, Antigone and Ismene.
- As the first Oedipus play (Oedipus Tyrannos) opens, there is sterility and a plague at Thebes; Oedipus sends to Delphi to ask Apollo what is wrong. Apollo sends a reply that they should find King
Laius' murderer and then either kill him (retaliation, vengeance) or expel him from Theban territory.
- A messenger arrives from Corinth to announce that the King of Corinth is dead. Oedipus learns that he is not the son of the King of Corinth but a Theban. The Royal Theban Shepherd (who gave Oedipus to the Royal Corinthian Shepherd) is summoned and tells Oedipus who his parents really are. (Powell, p. 478).
- As this is happening, Jocasta runs off stage and hangs herself in her bedroom (like Phaedra). Oedipus runs after her, to kill her, but is too late. Shamed at his ancestry and predicament, he blinds
himself. (Powell, p. 479)
- After consultation, it is decided to expel Oedipus from Thebes. His two sons agree, as does his brother-in-law (Uncle) Creon. Daughter Antigone goes with Oedipus.
- It is decided that the brothers will share the throne of Thebes, alternating one year each. Eteocles goes first, and is supported by Uncle Creon. (Powell, p. 482)
- Oedipus comes to COLONUS in Attica, to a Grove of the Furies. He is given hospitality by King
Theseus. (Powell, p. 482-483)
- The elder brother Eteocles refuses to resign the kingship to Polyneices at the end of the first year of the Royal Condominium. A civil war breaks out, with Polyneices trying to recruit an army from
Argos (Aeschylus, The Seven against Thebes).
- Apollo reveals to the Thebans that whoever possesses the person of Oedipus is fated to win a war at
- Eteokles, king of Thebes, sends Uncle Creon to get Oedipus back.
- Polyneices, King-elect of Thebes (in exile in Argos), comes looking for Oedipus
- OEDIPUS IS GIVEN SANCTUARY AT COLONUS (a country district in Athens, about ten miles outside of town along the main road to Eleusis). At Colonus there is a Grove of the Furies, a shrine of Demeter, and a shrine of Poseidon. King Theseus, who happens to be coming to the shrine of Poseidon to sacrifice, personally intervenes when Uncle Creon tries to kidnap Oedipus.
- Oedipus curses his sons for their callousness and self-interest..
- Polyneices, who accepts the curse and the inevitability of his death, asks his sister Antigone (who is also his aunt) to be sure that he is given a proper burial. She takes an oath to do so.
- Thunder and portents are heard from the sky: Oedipus knows that it is his last moment on earth.
- Death (?) of Oedipus (B. Powell, p. 484)
- The war at Thebes (Hesiod, Five Ages of Humanity; Powell, p. 126-127) THE SEVEN AGAINST THEBES results in (a) the self-sacrifice of Creon's son Menoecius; (b) the deaths in combat of both of Oedipus' sons. (Powell, p. 486-489)
- ANTIGONE returns to Thebes to fulfill her oath and family obligations.
- But in the meantime Uncle Creon has been made tyrannos of Thebes (in some versions he is only
Regent, for Eteocles' infant son Laodamas), and he issues an edict that he will punish with
burial alive anyone who dares to bury the body of the traitor Polyneices (an act of hybris on his
part, as well as taking an oath without realizing its consequences).
- Protests come from the Theban elders and from Creon's own son Haemon. (Powell, p. 490)
- Antigone and Haemon (who were betrothed a long time before) fall in love.
- Antigone buries Polyneices, and is found out by Creon.
- Antigone is buried alive. Haemon hides in the cave ahead of time, intending to break out when the
walling-in is done, and then to run away with Antigone and live happily ever after. Antigone
has not been so informed, and therefore hangs herself as soon as she is put in the cave. When
Haemon discovers this unhappy fact, he commits suicide too. (Powell, p. 490-491)
- King Creon has a sudden change in heart and orders Antigone released. But he finds her dead, and his son too.
- A messenger tells Queen Eurydice (Creon's wife) that her son is dead. She curses Creon, goes into the Royal Marriage chamber, and hangs herself.
- Theseus invades Thebes and forces Creon to allow the burial of the various Argive dead.
- Creon's daughter Megara marries the son of Alcmene and Amphitryon (really of ZEUS) HERAKLES.
- Creon is assassinated by LYKOS the Younger, a descendant of the Lykos of Thebes who was the
successor in the kingship immediately after LABDACUS. Lykos was killed by HERAKLES.
Laodamas ruled Thebes until it was destroyed by the EPIGONOI. Creon's son Lycomedes
served in the Trojan War.
©John P. Adams Revised: 7/22/1996, 08/01/2006
January 24, 2010 8:29 PM
John Paul Adams, CSUN