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Notebook
Notebook, 1993-

ANCIENT GREEK CULTURE

[From: Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]

Demigods and Heros - Achilles - Aegisthus - Agamemnon - Ajax the Locrian - Ajax the Telamonian - Alcestis - Amphiaraos - Amphitrite - Antigone - Atalanta - Belerophon - Cadmus - Clytemnestra - Daedalus - Danae - Dioscuri - Electra - Europa - Eurydice - Ganymede - Hector - Hecuba - Helen - Heracles - Hippolytus - Icarus - Io - Iphigenia - Jason - Leda - Menelaus - Minos - Nestor - Niobe - Odysseus - Oedipus - Orestes - Medea - Orpheus - Paris - Pasiphae - Pelops - Penelope - Perseus - Phaedra - Phaethon - Phrixus - Priam - Telemachus - Theseus - Triptolemus

Oedipus

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The most tragic of all stories conceived by the Greek mind was that of Oedipus, the son of Laius, king of Thebes, and Jocasta. When Oedipus was born, his parents, having been warned by Apollo that their son would kill his father, had pins driven through his feet [hence Oedipus which means 'swollen feet'] and he was exposed on Mt. Cithaeron. There a shepherd found him and he was taken to Polybus, king of Corinth, who [p. 71]brought him up as his own son. Later, being taunted with being no true son of Polybus, and having received no satisfactory reply from the king, he inquired at the Delphic Oracle concerning his parentage, but was told only that he would slay his father and wed his mother. Believing this referred to Polybus he determined never to see Corinth again and set on the road to Phocis. At the place where three roads met, he encountered Laius and following an argument for the right of way, Oedipus killed Laius and his company except for an old man. He then went on to Thebes but before reaching that city he slew a mythical monster named the Sphinx after solving the riddle which was posed to all passersby before they were devoured by the monster. When he reached Thebes he married his mother Jocasta and became king. The double crime of patricide and incest brought the wrath of the gods upon Thebes. The earth ceased yielding crops, children died before birth, and animals failed to deliver living young. The Thebans appealed to the Oracle for advice and it announced that these disasters would cease only if the slayer of Laius were punished and expelled from the city. The Thebans thereupon sought the advice of Tiresias who finally unfolded the mystery. The consequences of the discovery of the truth were tragic. Jocasta hanged herself, and Oedipus blinded himself with pins. When Oedipus was deposed and banished by the Thebans, he put a curse on his sons on the grounds that they had not protected him. Oedipus, attended by his daughter Antigone, wandered to Colonus in Attica where he died in a wood sacred to the Eumenides. Sophocles wrote two tragedies using the Oedipus story. The Oedipus Rex is considered his finest work, and in the [p. 72] Oedipus at Colonus he strives to resolve the moral and religious problems that emerge from the previous tragedy, proposing a mystical purification of the hero who sinned and suffered terrible agonies because of his ignorance. [pp. 72-73]

[Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]




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