Oedipus, the tragic mother fucker

Oedipus, the tragic mother fucker

Let’s see another example of Zeus actually keeping his pants on. This is considered tragic, probably because it is a mortal’s story. The beginning of the curse in the dynasty of Thebes (δυναστεία των Λαβδακιδών).

It all began when Oedipus’ (Οιδίποδας) father, Laius (Λάιος) fell in love with young prince Chrysippus (Χρύσιππος) who taught him how to ride the chariot. The rapped prince rejected Laius’ “feelings” and killed himself so his father, king Pelopas (Πέλοπας) cursed Laius. The curse was granted by Apollo who was enraged by Laius crime and for ignoring the prophecy of prophet Pythia (Πυθία) on this matter.

Lauis then went on to marry Jocasta (Ιοκάστη). As they could not conceive, they asked for the help of Delphus (Δελφοί), the prophets of Apollo, who told them that Laius should not have a child because he will be the cause of his doom. This child would kill him and marry Jocasta, drowning his family in blood and disgrace. However, when night came, orgies were held in the palace and in the burning of their passions they conceived a boy. The parents, aware that the child should not have been born, decided to leave it up the mountain. Therefore, they pierced his feet with metal sticks, which cause them to swell and hung him over a tree. The abandoned child was found by sheppards who named him Oedipus because of his swollen feet (οίδημα=swelling, πόδας=foot).

He was taken to the king of Corinthus (Κόρινθος), Polivus (Πόλυβος) and his wife Meropi (Μερόπη) who took him in and raised him as their own since they were childless. The years passed and Oedipus grew up to be a sturdy and clever young man. However, when the matter of his origin came up, his foster parents refused to answer him clearly so he went to the oracle of Delphus where they told him that he should not return home as he would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus though still thought that Polivus and Meropi were his natural parents so he decided against going back to Corinthus.

He headed towards Thebes (Θήβα), the kingdom of Laius, and on his way there met the king himself who he did not recognize. There was a misunderstanding between the two men who quarreled and finally fought. As predicted by the prophets, Oedipus killed his father then and there and headed again towards Thebes. There a hero was in need to kill the beast of the Sphinx (σφίγγα), who would ask passengers a riddle and would kill them if their answer was wrong. Witty Oedipus solved the riddle of “What creature first has four legs, then two and finally three” with his answer “Man, who first crawls, then walks and finally needs a staff as a support to move”. When the Sphinx heard the correct answer, she fell off the cliff she was standing on.

Creon who was now king of Thebes, gave his widow sister as a reward to Oedipus for he had defeated the beast that consumed the citizens of Thebes. So the prophesy was once again fulfilled as Oedipus married his mother, Jocasta. Together they had four children, Polynices (Πολυνίκης) , Eteocles (Ετεοκλής), Ismene (Ισμήνη) and Antigone (Αντιγόνη). However, big famine fell upon the kingdom and the prophet Teireseus (Τειρεσίας) was the one to explain its cause. He revealed that as long as the killer of the previous King was left unpunished the kingdom would suffer. Lastly he unveiled the truth about Oedipus crimes of killing his father and marrying his mother. Oedipus then cursed his children that were seeds of such hideous crimes and blinded and cast himself to exile.  Once Jocasta found out about her dishonorable marriage she hung herself.

What? Do you think that was it for Oedipus? Of course not! While Jocasta hung herself for her shame, our Oedipus found himself a nice virgin in the mountain he “exiled” himself, who bared many children for him… ο κάφρος.
I know what you’re thinking: didn’t Zeus do the same? Didn’t he kill his father, Cronos (who also knew a son would be a threat to him) and marry his sister Hera? Why do we see Oedipus story as tragic but Zeus is the great God and father of all?

I feel that if I don’t mention Zeus’s pants in every post I’m losing the essence of Greek mythology haha…

Source: Ρίσπεν Ζ., Ελληνική Μυθολογία, Εκδόσεις Τριήρης, Τόμος 5ος, σ.739-744

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Greek Mythological Beasts: 1) Sphinx

Greek Mythological Beasts: 1) Sphinx

The Sphinx lived on the mountain Φίκιο and was a monster who spread panic all over the area. She had the head and the breasts of a woman, legs and tail of a lion (in other versions: of a dragon) and wings of a eagle.  Her parents were Τυφωέα and Έχιδνα. She was sent by Hera or Apollo to Thebes to punish the city for the crime of Laius.

Other versions say that Sphinx was actually the female leader of thieves that lived near Thebes. These rogues would assault and kill the citizens who crossed them, leaving no survivors to pinpoint them or even describe them to others. The riddles of the Sphinx were actually traps that the thieves would set up… But this is a boring version so I’ll stick to the Sphinx being a horrid monster who ate and killed whoever answered her wrong.

Source: Ρίσπεν Ζ., Ελληνική Μυθολογία, Εκδόσεις Τριήρης, Τόμος 5ος, σ.742