Oidipous (page 493)

Chapter 14: Thebes

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 OT 774-813 – Sophokles, Oidipous Tyrannos

My father was Polybus of Corinth, my mother the Dorian Merope. I was considered the greatest of the folk in that town, until a chance event befell me, worthy, indeed, of wonder, though not of my overreaction regarding it. At a banquet, a man drunk with wine cast it at me that I was not the true son of my father. And I, vexed, restrained myself for that day as best as I could, but on the next went to my mother and father and questioned them. They were angry at the one who had let this taunt fly. So I had comfort about them, but the matter rankled in my heart, for such a rumor still spread widely. I went to Delphi without my parents’ knowledge, and Phoebus sent me forth disappointed of the knowledge for which I had come, but in his response set forth other things, full of sorrow and terror and woe: that I was fated to defile my mother’s bed, that I would reveal to men a brood which they could not endure to behold, and that I would slay the father that sired me. When I heard this, I turned in flight from the land of Corinth, from then on thinking of it only by its position under the stars, to some spot where I should never see fulfillment of the infamies foretold in my evil fate. And on my way I came to the land in which you say that this prince perished. Now, lady, I will tell you the truth. When on my journey I was near those three roads, there I met a herald, and a man in a carriage drawn by colts, as you have described. The leader and the old man himself tried to thrust me rudely from the path. Then, in anger, I struck the one pushing me aside, the driver, and the old man, when he saw this, watched for the moment I was passing, and from his carriage, brought his double goad straight down on my head. Yet he was paid back with interest: with one swift blow from the staff in this hand he rolled right out of the carriage onto his back. I slew every one of them. Greek Text

Pho 32-45 – Euripides, Phoinissai (Phoinician Women)

When my son had become a man, with tawny beard, either because he had guessed or learned it from another, he set out for the shrine of Phoebus, wanting to know for certain who his parents were; and so did Laius, my husband, seeking to learn if the child he had exposed was dead. And the two of them met at the branching road of Phocis. And Laius’ charioteer ordered him–: “Stranger, make way for the king!” But he walked on without a word, in his pride. The horses with their hoofs drew blood from the tendons of his feet. Then—why need I speak of matters outside these evils?—son slew father, and taking his chariot gave it to Polybus, his foster-father. Greek Text

♠ Σ Pho 44 – Scholia to Euripides, Phoinissai (Phoinician Women) – Scholia in Euripidem, vol. 1, p. 254-55, ed. E. Schwartz. Berlin 1887.

Greek Text

Pho 45-50 – Euripides, Phoinissai (Phoinician Women)

Now when the Sphinx was oppressing and ravaging our city, after my husband’s death, my brother Creon proclaimed my marriage: that he would marry me to anyone who should guess the riddle of the crafty maiden. Greek Text

Aischylos fr 387a R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 3, p. 434, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1985.

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

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