Antiope, Amphion, and Zethos (page 486)

Chapter 14: Thebes

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ApB 3.5.5 – Apollodorus, Bibliotheke (Library)

Antiope was a daughter of Nycteus, and Zeus had intercourse with her. When she was with child, and her father threatened her, she ran away to Epopeus at Sicyon and was married to him. In a fit of despondency Nycteus killed himself, after charging Lycus to punish Epopeus and Antiope. Lycus marched against Sicyon, subdued it, slew Epopeus, and led Antiope away captive. Greek Text

Nonnos 7.123

Greek Text

Σ AR 4.1090 (Scholia to Apollonius Rhodius)

Greek Text

Pausanias 9.17.6

Dionysus was angry with Antiope. For some reason extravagant punishments always arouse the resentment of the gods. They say that Antiope went mad, and when out of her wits roamed all over Greece; but Phocus, son of Ornytion, son of Sisyphus, chanced to meet her, cured her madness, and then married her. Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 8

ANTIOPA OF EURIPIDES (WHICH ENNIUS WROTE): Antiopa was the daughter of Nycteus, king in Boeotia; entranced by her great beauty, Jupiter made her pregnant. When her father wished to punish her on account of her disgrace, and threatened harm, Antiopa fled. By chance Epaphus, a Sikyonian, was staying in the place to which she came, and he brought the woman to his house and married her. Nycteus took this hard, and as he was dying, bound by oath his brother Lycus, to whom he left his kingdom, not to leave Antiopa unpunished. After his death, Lycus came to Sikyon, and slaying Epaphus, brought Antiopa bound to Cithaeron. She bore sons, and left them there, but a shepherd reared them, naming them Zetus and Amphion. Antiopa had been given over to Dirce, Lycus’ wife, for punishment. When opportunity presented itself, she fled, and came to her sons. But Zetus, thinking her a runaway, did not accept her. Dirce, in the revels of Liber, was brought to the same place. There she found Antiopa and was dragging her to death. But the youths, informed by the shepherd who had reared them that she was their mother, quickly pursued and rescued their mother, but slew Dirce, binding her by the hair to a bull. When they were about to kill Lycus, Mercurius forbade them, and at the same time ordered Lycus to yield the kingdom to Amphion. Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 7

ANTIOPA: Antiopa, daughter of Nycteus, was by a trick violated by Epaphus, and as a consequence was cast off by her husband Lycus. Thus widowed, Jupiter embraced her. But Lycus married Dirce. She, suspecting that her husband had secretly lain with Antiopa, ordered her servants to keep her bound in darkness. When her time was approaching, by the will of Jove she escaped from her chains to Mount Cithaeron, and when birth was imminent and she sought for a place to bear he child, pain compelled her to give birth at the very crossroads. Shephers reared her sons as their own, and called one Zetos, from “seeking a place,” and the other Amphion, because “she gave birth at the crossroads, or by the road.” When the sons found out who their mother was, they put Dirce to death by binding her to an untamed bull; by the kindness of Liber, whose votary she was, on Mount Cithaeron a spring was formed from her body, which was called Dirce. Latin Text.

Odyssey 11.260-65

“And after her I saw Antiope, daughter of Asopus, who boasted that she had slept even in the arms of Zeus, and she bore two sons, Amphion and Zethus, who first established the seat of seven-gated Thebe, and fenced it in with walls, for they could not dwell in spacious Thebe unfenced, how mighty soever they were.” Greek Text

Pausanias 2.6.4 = fr 1 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci, p. 127, ed.  A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987

On this matter Asius the son of Amphiptolemus says in his poem:

—“Zethus and Amphion had Antiope for their mother,
Daughter of Asopus, the swift, deep-eddying river,
Having conceived of Zeus and Epopeus, shepherd of peoples. Greek Text

Hesiod, fr 17a MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 10-11, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2020

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