World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Laius

Article Id: WHEBN0000084278
Reproduction Date:

Title: Laius  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Theban kings in Greek mythology, Labdacus, Creon
Collection: Greek Mythology, Mythological Kings, Mythological Rapists, Theban Kings
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Laius

In Greek mythology, King Laius (pronounced ), or Laios (Greek: Λάϊος) of Thebes was a divine hero and key personage in the Theban founding myth. Son of Labdacus, he was raised by the regent Lycus after the death of his father.

Contents

  • Abduction of Chrysippus 1
  • Later misfortunes 2
  • References 3
  • Modern sources 4

Abduction of Chrysippus

While Laius was still young, Amphion and Zethus usurped the throne of Thebes. Some Thebans, wishing to see the line of Cadmus continue, smuggled Laius out of the city before their attack, in which they killed Lycus and took the throne.[1] Laius was welcomed by Pelops, king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus.[2] According to some sources, Laius abducted and raped the king's son, Chrysippus, and carried him off to Thebes while teaching him how to drive a chariot, or as Hyginus records it, during the Nemean games. This abduction is thought to be the subject of one of the lost tragedies of Euripides. With both Amphion and Zethus having died in his absence, Laius became king of Thebes upon his return.

Later misfortunes

After the rape of Chrysippus, Laius married Jocasta or Epicasta, the daughter of Menoeceus, a descendant of the Spartoi. Laius received an oracle from Delphi which told him that he must not have a child, or the child would kill him and marry his wife; in another version, recorded by Aeschylus, Laius is warned that he can only save the city if he dies childless. One night, however, Laius was drunk and fathered Oedipus with her. On Laius's orders, the baby, Oedipus, was exposed on Mount Cithaeron with his feet bound (or perhaps staked to the ground), but he was taken by a shepherd, who did not have the resources to look after him, so he was given to King Polybus and Queen Merope (or Periboea) of Corinth who raised him to adulthood.[3]

When Oedipus desired to know more about his parentage, he consulted the Delphic Oracle, only to be told that he must not go to his home or he would kill his father and marry his mother. Thinking that he was from Corinth, he set out toward Thebes to avoid this fate.[3] At the road called 'Cleft Way,' he met Laius, who was going to Delphi to consult the oracle because he had received omens indicating that his son might return to kill him.[4] Oedipus refused to defer to the king, although Laius's attendants ordered him to. Being angered, Laius either rolled a chariot wheel over his foot or hit him with his whip, and Oedipus killed Laius and all but one of his attendants, who claims it was a gang of men. Laius was buried where he died by Damasistratus, the king of Plataea.[4] Later, Thebes is cursed with a disease because his murderer has not been punished.

Many of Laius's descendants met with ill fortune, but whether this was because he violated the laws of hospitality and marriage by carrying off his host's son and raping him, or because he ignored the oracle's warning not to have children, or some combination of these, is not clear. Another theory is that the entire line of Cadmus was cursed, either by Ares, when Cadmus killed his serpent, or else by Hephaestus, who resented the fact that Cadmus married Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, Hephaestus's straying wife. Certainly many of Cadmus's descendants had tragic ends.

References

  1. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece, 9.5.6.
  2. ^ Apollodorus. Library, 3.5.5.
  3. ^ a b Apollodorus. Library, 3.5.7.
  4. ^ a b Tripp, p. 337.

Modern sources

  •  
  •  
  • Pequigney, Joseph (2002). "Classical Mythology".  
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Amphion and Zethus
Mythical King of Thebes Succeeded by
Oedipus
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.