P. 516

Sophokles, Antigone 141-43

For the seven captains, stationed against an equal number at the seven gates, left behind their brazen arms in tribute to Zeus the turner of battle. Greek Text

Euripides, Hiketides (Supplices, Suppliants) 857-931

Listen then. For in giving this task to me you find a willing eulogist of friends, whose praise I would declare in all truth and sincerity. Do you see that handsome man, transfixed by Zeus’s bolt? That is Capaneus; though he had ample wealth, yet he was the last to boast of his prosperity; nor would he ever vaunt himself above a poorer neighbor, but shunned the man whose sumptuous board had puffed him up too high and made him scorn mere competence, for he held that virtue lies not in greedy gluttony, but that moderate means suffice. He was a true friend to his friends, present or absent; of such the number is not great. His was a guileless character, courteous in his speech, that left no promise unperformed either towards his own household or his fellow-citizens. The next I name is Eteoclus, a master of other kinds of excellence; young, lacking in means to live, yet high in honor in the Argive land…. Greek Text

Euripides, Phoinissai (Phoinician Women) 1104-38

First to the Neitian gate, Parthenopaeus, son of the huntress, led a company bristling with thick rows of shields, and he had his own device in the centre of his shield: Atalanta slaying the Aetolian boar with an arrow shot from far. To the gates of Proetus came the prophet Amphiaraus, bringing the victims on a chariot; he had no boastful sign, but weapons chastely plain.

Next lord Hippomedon came marching to the Ogygian gates with this device in the middle of his shield: Argus the all-seeing dappled with eyes on the watch, some open with the rising stars, others hiding when they set, as could be seen after he was slain.

At the Homoloian gates Tydeus had his post, a lion’s skin with shaggy mane upon his shield, while the Titan Prometheus bore a torch in his right hand, to fire the town.

Your own Polyneices led the battle against the Fountain gate; upon his shield for a device were the colts of Potniae galloping at frantic speed, revolving by some clever contrivance on pivots by the handle, so as to appear distraught.

At Electra’s gate Capaneus brought up his company, bold as Ares for the battle; this device his shield bore upon its iron back: an earth-born giant carrying on his shoulders a whole city which he had wrenched from its base, a hint to us of the fate in store for Thebes.

Adrastus was at the seventh gate; a hundred vipers engraved on his shield, [ as he bore on his left arm the hydra] the boast of Argos, and serpents were carrying off in their jaws the sons of Thebes from within our very walls. Greek Text

Sophokles, Oidpous at Kolonos 1311-25

My allies, who now with seven armies behind their seven spears have set their blockade around the plain of Thebes. One such is swift-speared Amphiaraus, a matchless warrior, and a matchless diviner; then comes the son of Oeneus, Aetolian Tydeus; Eteoclus is third, of Argive birth; the fourth, Hippomedon, is sent by Talaos, his father; while Capaneus, the fifth, boasts that he will burn Thebes to the ground with fire; and sixth, Arcadian Parthenopaeus rushes to the war. He is named for that virgin of long ago from whose marriage in later time he was born, the trusty son of Atalanta. Last come I, your son—or if not yours, then the offspring of an evil fate, but yours at least in name—leading the fearless army of Argos to Thebes. Greek Text

Diodorus Siculus 4.65.4-5

And having decided to restore Polyneices first, he sent Tydeus as an envoy to Eteocles in Thebes to negotiate the return. But while Tydeus was on his way thither, we are told, he was set upon from ambush by fifty men sent by Eteocles, but he slew every man of them and got through to Argos, to the astonishment of all, whereupon Adrastus, when he learned what had taken place, made preparations for the consequent campaign against Eteocles, having persuaded Capaneus and Hippomedon and Parthenopaeus, the son of Atalantê, the daughter of Schoeneus, to be his allies in the war. Polyneices also endeavoured to persuade the seer Amphiaraüs to take part with him in the campaign against Thebes; and when the latter, because he knew in advance that he would perish if he should take part in the campaign, would not for that reason consent to do so, Polyneices, they say, gave the golden necklace which, as the myth relates, had once been given by Aphroditê as a present to Harmonia, to the wife of Amphiaraüs, in order that she might persuade her husband to join the others as their ally. Greek Text

Statius, Thebais 32-250

Now, Fame of olden time, and thou, dark Antiquity of the world, whose care it is to remember princes and to make immortal the story of their lives, recount the warriors, and thou, Calliope, queen of the groves of song, uplift thy lyre and begin the tale, what troops of arms Gradivus roused, what cities he laid waste of their peoples; for to none comes loftier inspiration from the fountain’s draught. The king Adrastus, sick with misgiving beneath the burden of his cares, and drawing nigh his life’s departure, walked scarce of his own will amongst the applauding people, content to be girt but with his sword; attendants bear his arms behind him, his charioteer tends the swift horses close by the city gates, and already is Arion struggling against the yoke…. Latin Text

ApB 3.6.3 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Having mustered an army with seven leaders, Adrastus hastened to wage war on Thebes. The leaders were these: Adrastus, son of Talaus; Amphiaraus, son of Oicles; Capaneus, son of Hipponous; Hippomedon, son of Aristomachus, but some say of Talaus. These came from Argos; but Polynices, son of Oedipus, came from Thebes; Tydeus, son of Oeneus, was an Aetolian; Parthenopaeus, son of Melanion, was an Arcadian. Some, however, do not reckon Tydeus and Polynices among them, but include Eteoclus, son of Iphis, and Mecisteus in the list of the seven. Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 70

SEVEN KINGS WHO SET OUT FOR THEBES: Adrastus, son of Talaus by Eurynome, daughter of Iphitus, an Argive. Polynices, son of Oidipus by Jocasta, daughter of Menoeceus, a Theban. Tydeus, son of Oineus by the captive Periboea, a Calydonian. Amphiaraus, son of Oicleus, or, as other writers say, son of Apollo by Hypermnestra, daughter of Thestius, from Pylos. Capaneus, son of Hipponous by Astynome, daughter of Talaus, sister of Adrastus, an Argive. Hippomedon, son of Mnesimachus by Metidice, daughter of Talaus, sister of Adrastus, an Argive. Parthenopaeus, son of Meleager by Atalanta, daughter of Iasius, from Mount Perthenius, an Arcadian. All these leaders died at Thebes except Adrastus, son of Talaus. Latin text

ApB 1.9.13 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Bias and Pero had a son Talaus, who married Lysimache, daughter of Abas, son of Melampus, and had by her Adrastus, Parthenopaeus, Pronax, Mecisteus, Aristomachus, and Eriphyle, whom Amphiaraus married. Greek Text

IIiad 2.566

And with them came a third, Euryalus, a godlike warrior, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus. Greek Text

Iliad 23.678

Euryalus alone uprose to face him, a godlike man, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus, who on a time had come to Thebes for the burial of Oedipus. Greek Text

Hdt 5.67.3 – Herodotos

Now the reason why Cleisthenes brought in Melanippus, a thing which I must relate, was that Melanippus was Adrastus’ deadliest enemy, for Adrastus had slain his brother Mecisteus and his son-in-law Tydeus. Greek Text

Pausanias 9.18.1

The road from Thebes to Chalcis is by this Proetidian gate. On the highway is pointed out the grave of Melanippus, one of the very best of the soldiers of Thebes. When the Argive invasion occurred this Melanippus killed Tydeus, as well as Mecisteus, one of the brothers of Adrastus, while he himself, they say, met his death at the hands of Amphiaraus.he grave of Melanippus is on way to Chalcis from Thebes. Some say he was killed by Tydeus and Mecisteus while he says it was Amphiaraus. Greek Text

Pausanias 10.10.3

Near the horse are also other votive offerings of the Argives, likenesses of the captains of those who with Polyneices made war on Thebes: Adrastus, the son of Talaus, Tydeus, son of Oeneus, the descendants of Proetus, namely, Capaneus, son of Hipponous, and Eteoclus, son of Iphis, Polyneices, and Hippomedon, son of the sister of Adrastus. Near is represented the chariot of Amphiaraus, and in it stands Baton, a relative of Amphiaraus who served as his charioteer. The last of them is Alitherses. Greek Text


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

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