Seven against Thebes
In Greek mythology, the Seven against Thebes, were seven champions who made war on Thebes. They were chosen by Adrastus, the king of Argos, to be, along with himself, the leaders of an Archive army whose purpose was to restore Oedipus' son Polynices to the Theban throne. Adrastus appointed one of the champions for each of the seven gates in the walls of the city of Thebes. In addition to Adrastus himself, and Polynices, the Seven were: Amphiaraus, Capaneus, Tydeus, Parthenopeus, and a seventh champion variously given as Mecisteus, Eteoclus, or Hippomedon. They tried and failed to take Thebes, and all but Adrastus died in the attempt.
The war of the Seven against Thebes, occurred in the generation prior to that of the Trojan War. According to Hesiod's Works and Days, these two wars were the two great events of the fourth age, the age of heroes. The Seven's war against Thebes, was the first of two Theban wars, the second was fought, and won, ten years later, by the Seven's sons, the Epigoni.
The war against ThebesEdit
After Oedipus had vacated the throne of Thebes, his sons Eteocles and Polynices quarrelled over the succession. The quarrel resulted in Eteocles on the throne of Thebes, and the exiled Polynices married to the daughter of Adrastus the king of Argos. There Polynices was able to enlist the support of his father-in law for an expedition against Thebes.
Adrastus proceeded to assemble a large army to attack Thebes, appointing seven champions, who became known as the Seven against Thebes, to be its leaders. One of those chosen, the seer Amphiaraus, had foreseen that the expedition was doomed to fail, and that all of the champions but Adrastus would die, and so refused to join. But when Polynices bribed Adrastus' wife Eriphyle to tell Amphiaraus to go, he was forced to obey because of a promise he had made to allow his wife, who was also Adrastus' sister, to settle any disputes between the two men.
Death of OpheltesEdit
As the army of the Seven marched toward Thebes, they passed through Nemea. There they encountered Hypsipyle, the nursemaid of Opheltes, the infant son of Lycurgus. Needing water, the Seven ask Hypsipyle to direct them to a spring. But while doing this she sets Opheltes down, and the unattended child is killed by a serpent. The Seven kill the serpent, and intercede on Hypsipyle's behalf, as she is being threatened with death for her negligence. Amphiaraus, renames the child Archemorus, meaning the "Beginning of Doom", interpreting the child's death as a harbinger of the Seven's own impending doom at Thebes. The Seven hold funeral games in the child's honor, which become the origin of the Nemean Games.
Embassy of TydeusEdit
As the Archive army was nearing Thebes, Tydeus was sent ahead alone, on an embassy to the city, to try to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the succession dispute. As recounted in the Iliad (4.382–398), Tydeus found the Theban leaders feasting at the house of Eteocles, and challenged them all to many contests, and (with Athena's help) won every one. In anger, fifty Thebans, led by Maeon, Haemon's son, and Polyphontes, Autophonus' son, ambushed Tydeus as he was returning to his army. But Tydeus killed them all, sparing only Maeon, whom he sent home in obedience to the gods.
Assault on ThebesEdit
When the army of the Seven reached Thebes, they managed to drive the Thebans back inside their walls. The Seven then proceeded to launch an attack on the walls of the city. Capaneus impiously boasted that not even Zeus could keep him from burning the city. But, as he was scaling the walls, Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt. Tydeus was mortally wounded by Melanippus, the son of Astacus. A favorite of Athena, the goddess intended to make Tydeus immortal, but the seer Amphiaraus, knowing this, and hating Tydeus, cut off Melanippus' head and gave it to Tydeus, who proceeded to eat the brains of his killer. As was Amphiaraus's intention, Athena was so appalled that she changed her mind and let Tydeus die. Amphiaraus was chased from the battlefield by Periclymenus, who had already killed Parthenopeus. About to be killed by Periclymenus' spear in his back, Zeus intervened, causing the earth to open and swallow up Ampiaraus, along with his chariot and charioteer. At some point in the battle, Polynices and Eteocles met in single combat, and killed each other. The rest of the Seven were also killed, accept for Adrastus, who managed to escape, carried from the battlefield by his divine horse Areion.
According to accounts first occurring in fifth-century BC Greek tragedy, after the failed assault of the Seven, Creon, who, with the death of Eteocles, became the new ruler of Thebes, forbids the burial of the dead attackers. In Sophocles' tragedy Antigone, Polynices' sister Antigone, in defiance of Creon's decree, tries to bury her brother, an action that leads to the deaths of Antigone, and Creon's son Haemon. In Euripides' Suppliants, Theseus, the king and founder-hero of Athens, agrees to assist Adrastus in recovering the bodies of his fallen comrades, which Theseus does after defeating the Thebans in battle. According to some accounts Polynices was buried at Thebes, the rest being buried at Eleusis. The Iliad (14.114) has Tydeus buried at Thebes, while Pindar (Nemean 9.24, Olympian 6.15) mentions seven funeral pyres there. In the Suppliants (980–1072), Capaneus' wife Evadne throws herself on her husband's burning pyre.
Principal sources through the fifth century BCEdit
In Book 4, Agamemnon says that Tydeus and Polynices came to Mycenae to recruit additional allies for their war on Thebes. The Mycenaeans agreed to join the expedition, and began assembling an army. But they changed their minds when Zeus sent ill omens. Agamemnon also says that—when Tydeus and Polynices left Mycenae, "and were with deep reeds, that coucheth in the grass" (that is had reached the Asopos River in Boetia)—Tydeus was sent alone on an embassy to Thebes. There he found the Thebans feasting at the palace of Eteocles. Tydeus challenged all of them to "feats of strength" and was easily victorious in every one, "such a helper was Athene to him." The Thebans were so angry that they sent fifty men, led by Maeon, the son of Haemon, and Polyphontes, Autophonus' son, to ambush Tyedeus on the way back to his army. Tydeus killed all of these but Maeon, whom he spared and sent home "in obedience to the portents of the gods".
In Book 5, Athena mentions Tydeus' embassy, saying that although she "bade him feast in their halls in peace", Tydeus challenged the Thebans and easily won everything, "so present a helper was I to him." In Book 10, Tydeus' son Diomedes refers to his father's mission, calling Tydeus a "messenger" who brought a "gentle word" to the Thebans, and about the ambush says that Tydeus devised "terrible" deeds, with Athena's help. From Sthenelus the son of Capaneus, and comrade of Diomedes, we hear that at Thebes "of the seven gates", their fathers "perished through their own blind folly". And finally in Book 14, we learn from Diomedes that Tydeus was buried at Thebes.
In Homer's Odyssey, we hear of a fifth member of the Seven, Amphiaraus betrayed by his wife Eriphyle. Book 11 mentions the "hateful Eriphyle, who took precious gold as the price of the life of her own lord". While in Book 15 we learn of Amphiaraus, "the rouser of the host", who, though loved by Zeus and Apollo, died at Thebes, "because of a woman's gifts."
Besides those found in Homer, there are few surviving mentions of the Seven, and their war against Thebes, before the fifth century BC. Polynices is named in a fragmentary passage from Hesiod's Catalogue of Women (Hesiod fr. 136 Most = fr. 193 MW), where he seems to be receiving aid from someome. According to the geographer Pausanias, the brothers Polynices and Eteocles were depicted fighting each other, in the presence of a Ker (a goddess of death) on the Chest of Kypselos at Olympia (late seventh to early sixth century BC).
The Cyclic Thebaid (early sixth century BC?) was a Greek epic poem whose entire subject was the Seven's Theban war, however only a few fragments have survived. The poem's first line (fr.1) began "Sing, goddess, of thirsty Argos, from where the lords ..." We learn that Polynices and Eteocles, were cursed by their father Oedipus, and so doomed to their fatal dispute (frs. 2, 3). There is also evidence for the appearance in the poem of other of the Seven, already found in Homer: Adrastus (frs. 4*, 7*, 11), Amphiaraus (frs. 6, 7*, 8*), and possibly also Tydeus eating Melanippus' brains (fr. 9*). Finally we hear of a new member of the Seven, Parthenopaeus, who is said to have been killed by Periclymenus (fr. 10). Parthenopaeus is also mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus.
Fifth century BCEdit
In contrast to the few early sources which reveal only scattered traces of the story, in the fifth century BC, there are many sources, which taken together complete the story. These include the lyric poets Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar, and in particular, tragedies from each of the three great tragic poets, Aeschylus: Eleusinians, and Seven Against Thebes, Sophocles: Antigone, and Oedipus at Colonus, and Euripides: Hypsipyle, The Phoenician Women, and The Suppliants.
Simonides and BacchylidesEdit
Perhaps the earliest surviving reference to the Seven's stop in Nemea, and the death of the infant Opheltes, occurs in a fragment of Simonides (c. 556–468 BC), who says that "they" (the Seven?) mourned the child's death. A more complete account of the event ocurrs in a mid-fifth-century BC poem by Bacchylides. The poem refers to the Seven as "the heroes with red shields, the best of the Argives", and says that they established the Nemean Games in honor of "Archemorus", whom a "monstrous" serpent had killed. According to Bacchylides, the death was a "sign of the slaughter to come" (i.e. the disaster awaiting at Thebes). It calls the Archive deaths a "powerful fate", which could not be avoided even though Amphiaraus tried to "persuade them to go back", saying that it was hope, rather than good sense, that sent Adrastus and Polynices to Thebes. Bacchylides also knew the story that Athena intended to make Tydeus immortal.
We learn several more details of the story in a poem of Pindar (Nemean 9). We are told of a dispute between Adrastus and Amphiaraus, and Adrastus giving Amphiaraus, in marriage, Adrastus' sister "man-subduing Eriphyle as a faithful pledge". After which:
- ... they led an army of men to seven-gated Thebes
- on a journey with no favorable omens, and Cronus’ son brandished his lightning and urged them not to set out
- recklessly from home, but to forgo the expedition.
- But after all, the host was eager to march, with bronze
- weapons and cavalry gear, into obvious disaster,
Pindar also alludes to the founding of the Nemean Games, by Adrastus (so also in Nemean 8 and 10). In the fighting at Thebes, Pindar says that, just as Amphiaraus is about to be struck in the back by the spear of Periclymenus, to save him from a warrior's "disgrace", Zeus split the earth with his thuderbolt, and buried Amphiaraus along with his horses. As for the rest of the expedition:
- they laid down their sweet homecoming and fed the white-flowering smoke with their bodies,
- for seven pyres feasted on the men’s young limbs.
In another poem (Olympian 6) Pindar says that after "the corpses of the seven funeral pyres had been consumed", that Adrastus lamented Amphiaraus' death saying: "I dearly miss the eye of my army, good both as a seer and at fighting with the spear."
The prohibition of the burial of the expeditions' dead at Thebes, is first attested for Aeschylus' lost tragedy Eleusinians (c. 500–475 BC). According to Plutarch, Aeschylus' play dealt with the story of the recovery of the dead at Thebes by Theseus, as a favor to Adrastus. Here Theseus recovers the bodies through negotiation, rather than by defeating the Thebans in battle, as in later accounts, such as Euripides' Suppliants (c. 420 BC). The tombs of the Seven, that the geographer Pausanias reports seeing on the road leading out of Eleusis, possibly already existed when Aeschlus' play was written.
The battle at Thebes is the subject of Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes (467 BC). This play is the first certain source for the number of the champions being seven. Aeschylus pairs a champion with each of the seven gates of Thebes, each of which is defended by a corresponding Theban champion. Aeschylus has each of the Seven saying a last goodbye to Ardastus—who although present at the battle is not considered by Aeschylus to be one of the Seven champions—and entrusting him with mementos to be given to their families.
Each of the Seven is described in order. The description includes the devices on their shield, their assigned gate, and the gate's Theban defender.
1. Tydeus, on his shield the moon and stars, is assigned the Proetid Gate defended by Melanippus. But he is held back by the seer Amphiaraus because the sacrifies are giving bad signs. "Lusting madly for battle", Tydeus screams insults at Amphiaraus, calling him a coward.
2. Capaneus, on his shield a man holding a torch, with the inscription "I will burn the city", is assigned the Electran Gate defended by Polyphontes. He boasts that he will sack Thebes, and that "not even the weapons of Zeus crashing down to earth will stand in his way or hold him back."
3. Eteoclus, on his shield a man climbing a siege-ladder, is assigned the Neïstan Gate, defended by Megareus, son of Creon.
6. Amphiaraus, on his shield no image (since, it's said, he prefers reality over appearance) is assigned the Homoloïd Gate defended by Lasthenes. Described as a "man of the highest virtue and an excellent fighter", he yells insults back at Tydeus, calling him "murderer, wrecker of your city, Argos’ great instructor in evil, arouser of a Fury, high priest of Carnage" and blames him for being "Adrastus’ counsellor in these crimes" of attacking Thebes. He also rebukes Polynices for attacking and his own city with a foreign army, and devasting his homeland, saying that for his part he "will enrich this land by becoming a prophet buried in the soil of the enemy."
No details of the actual fighting are given in the play. A messenger simply reports that the city wall has held, and that at the first six gates the city's champions have all won in single combat. But that, at the seventh gate, Polynices and Eteocles, the sons of Oedipus, have killed each other, "in accordance with their father’s curse".
Near the end of the play, as the text has come down to us, it is announced that the burial of Polynices is forbidden, and Antigone announces her intention to defy this prohibition. However this scene is generally thought not to have been written by Aeschylus, and to have been added to the play some time after the production of Sophocles's Antigone, which dealt with the same theme.
Sophocles' tragedy Antigone (c. 441 BC), picks up the story of the Seven where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes left off. Just as in Aeschylus' play, Sophocles has seven champions face seven defenders at the seven gates of Thebes—with Polynices and Eteocles killing each other—but with no names or other details:
- For seven captains posted against seven gates, man against man, left behind their brazen weapons for Zeus the god of trophies, except for the unhappy two, who, sprung of one father and one mother, set their strong spears against each other and both shared a common death.
Without naming him, Sophocles describes Capaneus' death:
- For Zeus detests the boasts of a proud tongue, and when he saw them advancing in full flood, with the arrogance of flashing gold, with the fire he hurls he flung down him who was already hastening to shout forth his victory on the topmost ramparts. And he fell upon the hard ground, shaken down, the torchbearer who in the fury of his mad rush breathed upon us with the blast of hateful winds.
Creon, who with the death of Eteocles is now the ruler of Thebes, has forbidden, on pain of death, the burial of Polynices. Polynices' sister Antigone announces her intention to defy Creon and bury her brother, begins the burial, is discovered by guards and arrested, sentenced to death by Creon, and hangs herself. Discounting the probably spurious scene in Aescyhlus' Seven Against Thebes, Sophocles' play is our earliest source for any involvement of Antigone in the story of the Seven.
Euripides, in his tragedy The Suppliants (c. 420 BC) deals with the recovery of the expedition's dead warriors at Thebes. Adrastus has come to Eleusis, along with the mothers (the Chorus of suppliants) and sons of the Seven, to seek help from the Athenians in the recovery of their dead. In an initial interview Theseus, the king of Athens, asks Adrastus whether he consulted seers and the gods before making war on Tbebes, and Adrastus answers that, not only did he go to war "without the gods’ good will", he also "went against the wish of Amphiaraus."
Theseus, having finally been persuaded to help Adrastus, leads an Athenian army to Thebes where—unlike in Aeschlus' Eleusinians in which he is able to accomplish his mission through diplomacy—he must defeat the Thebans in battle in order to bring back to Eleusis the bodies of the fallen warriors. Five of the Seven are brought back, all except Amphiaraus, of whom it is said that "the gods by snatching him away alive, chariot and all, into the depths of the earth openly praise him", and so could not be brought back, and Polynices, who presumably was buried at Thebes. The rest of the Seven's army was buried by Theseus at Eleutherae a small village on the Attic side of Mount Cithaeron.
Adrastus gives a eulogy for the five of the Seven brought back to Eleusis. Here we learn that the Arcadian Parthenopaeus is the son of Atalanta, that Eteoclus is the son of Iphis, and that Iphis' daughter Euadne is married to Capaneus. The complete list given by Euripides is the same list of Seven given by Aeschylus: Tydeus, Capaneus, Eteoclus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeus, Amphiaraus and Polynices. As for the recovered corpses, Theseus says that Capaneus, who was "struck down by the fire of Zeus", will be burned apart, on a separate funeral-pyre from the rest, who will be burned together on a single pyre. Capaneus' wife Euadne throws herself on his burning pyre. The ashes of the Seven are carried back to Argos by their sons, who vow to avenge their fathers deaths.
The Phoenician WomenEdit
Euripides' The Phoenician Women (c. 410–409 BC), like Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes, deals with the battle at Thebes. Euripides gives the same list of seven champions as he did in The Suplliants, and as Aeschylus did, with the exception that here Euripides counts Adrastus as being one of the Seven, in place of Eteocles. And, like Aeschylus, he pairs each of the Seven with a gate. Five of the gate names are the same: Homoloïd, Electran, Neïstan, Proetid and Seventh, and one of the pairings: Capaneus at the Electran Gate. Otherwise Euripides has Tydeus at the Homoloïd Gate, Hippomedon at the Ogygian Gate, Parthenopeus at the Neïstan Gate, Amphiaraus at the Proetid Gate, Polynices at the Crenaean (i.e. Fountain) Gate, and Adrastus at the Seventh Gate.
Eteocles chooses seven Theban captains (unnamed), to oppose the Seven champions at the seven Theban gates. The Theban seer Tiresias prophecises that the city can only be saved if Creon's son Menoeceus sacrifices himself, which Menoeceus does.
During the battle, Parthenopeus is killed by Periclymenus. Capaneus, boasting that not even Zeus could stop him, is killed by Zeus' thunderbolt, and Adrastus, seeing that "Zeus was his army's enemy", withdraws his forces. Then Eteocles offers to fight Polynices in single combat, with the winner ruling Thebes. The offer is accepted by Polynices, and both armies swear to abide by its terms. The two brothers fight a duel, and kill each other. Since the two armies cannot agree on who won the duel, the battle resumes, and the Thebans are victorious.
Euripides' partially preserved play Hypsipyle (c. 411–407 BC), dramatized the Seven's stop at Nemea, and the death of the infant Opheltes. This play is the earliest source to involve Hypsipyle in Opheltes' story, which may well have been a Euripidean invention. Here Hypsipyle, the former queen of Lemnos and lover of Jason, has come to be a slave, and nursemaid of the infant Opheltes, who is the son of Lycurgus, the priest of Zeus at Nemea, and his wife Eurydice.
The Seven, having just arrived at Nemea, encounter Hypsipyle. Amphiaraus tells her that they need water for a sacrifice, and she leads the Seven to a spring. Hypsipyle brings Opheltes with her, and somehow, in a moment of neglect, Opheltes is killed by a serpent. Eurydice is about to have Hypsipyle put to death, when Amphiaraus arrives, tells Euridice that the child's death was destined, and proposes that funeral games be held in Opheltes' honor. Amphiaraus is able to convince Euridice to spare Hypsipyle's life, and the games are held.
Only the anticipation of the Seven's war at Thebes is dealt with in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus (401 BC). Sophocles gives the same list of Seven as given in Aescylus' Seven Against Thebes, and Euripides' The Suppliants: Tydeus, Capaneus, Eteoclus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeus, Amphiaraus and Polynices. Eteoclus is said to be Archive, and Hippomedon is said to be the son of Talaus, and thus the brother of Adrastus.
- Hard, pp. 317–321; Gantz, pp. 510–519; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes; Parada, s.v. SEVEN AGAINST THEBES.
- Hard, p. 317.
- Hard, pp. 319–321.
- Gantz, p. 510; West, p. 4; Hesiod, Works and Days 156–165.
- Hard, p. 325; West, pp. 4–5; Gantz, p. 522.
- Hard, pp. 315–316; Gantz, pp. 502–506; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes A; Apollodorus, 3.6.1.
- Hard, pp. 317–318; Gantz, pp. 508, 510; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes B; Apollodorus, 3.6.2.
- Hard, p. 318; Gantz, p. 510; Homer, Iliad 4.376–381.
- Hard, p. 318; Gantz, pp. 510–512; Tripp, s.vv. Opheltes, Seven against Thebes C; Apollodorus, 3.6.4.
- Hard, pp. 318–319; Gantz, pp. 502, 510, 512–513; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes C; Homer, Iliad 4.382–398; Apollodorus, 3.6.5.
- Hard, pp. 319–320; Gantz, pp. 517–519; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes D; Apollodorus, 3.6.7–8.
- Hard, pp. 321–322; Gantz, pp. 296–297, 519–522; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes E; Apollodorus, 3.7.1; Homer, Iliad 14.114; Pindar, Nemean 9.24, Olympian 6.15; Euripides, The Suppliants 980–1072.
- Gantz, pp. 502, 506–507.
- Gantz, p. 510; Hard, p. 318; Homer, Iliad 4.376–381.
- Gantz, pp. 512–513; Hard, p. 319; Homer, Iliad 4.382–398. Compare with Apollodorus, 3.6.5, and Diodorus Siculus, 4.65.4.
- Gantz, p. 513; Hard, pp. 318–319; Homer, Iliad 5.803–808.
- Gantz, p. 513; Homer, Iliad 10.285–290.
- Homer, Iliad 4.401–410.
- Gantz, p. 522; Homer, Iliad 14.114.
- Gantz, p. 507.
- Homer, Odyssey, 11–326–27.
- Homer, Odyssey 15.243–247.
- Gantz, p. 510; Hard, p. 322.
- Most 2018a, pp. 222, 223.
- Gantz, p. 510; Pausanias, 5.19.6. For the Chest's dating, see Frazer 1898b, pp. 600–601.
- West, p. 7.
- Gantz, p. 502; Pausanias, 9.9.5. For a discussion of the Thebaid and the surviving fragments see West pp. 6–9, 43–53.
- West, pp. 6, pp. 44, 45 (fr. 1); Gantz, p. 502.
- West, pp. 6, pp. 44–47 (frs. 2, 3); Gantz, pp. 505–503.
- West, pp. 46–51; Gantz, p. 510.
- West, pp. 52, 53 (fr. 10 = Pausanias, 9.18.6); Gantz, p. 510.
- Gantz, p. 510; Fowler, pp. 411–412.
- Gantz, p. 510 (who assumes that "they" are the Seven); Bravo III, p. 104, (for whom "they" being the Seven is "plausible but not actually in evidence"); Simonides, fr. 553 PMG.
- Gantz, p. 510; Bravo III, pp. 104–106; Bacchylides, 9.10–24.
- Gantz, p. 518; Fowler p. 412.
- Gantz, p. 507; Pindar, Nemean, 9.16–17.
- Pindar, Nemean, 9.18–22.
- Gantz, pp. 510–511; Bravo III, p. 106; Pindar, Nemean 8.50–51, 9.8–9, 10.26–28.
- Gantz, p. 518; Pindar, Nemean, 9.24–27. See also Pindar, Nemean 10.7–9.
- Gantz, p. 296; Pindar, Nemean, 9.23–24.
- Pindar, Olympian 6.13–17.
- Hard, p. 322; Gantz, p. 296; Sommerstein 2009, pp. 56–57; Plutarch, Theseus 29.4–5.
- Sommerstein 2009, p. 57 n. 1; Gantz, p. 522; Pausanias, 1.39.2.
- Gantz, pp. 514–515; Hard, pp. 317, 321; Fowler, pp. 412–413.
- Gantz, p. 515; Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 42–56.
- Gantz, p. 515; Hard, p. 321.
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 375–396, 414 (Melanippus).
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 423–436, 449 (Polyphontes).
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 458–471, 474 (Megareus).
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 486–500, 504 (Hyperbius).
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 527–549, 555 (Actor).
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 568–596, 620 (Lasthenes).
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 631–648, 672–673 (Eteocles).
- Gantz, pp. 518–519; Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 792–819.
- Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 1005–1054.
- Sommerstein, p. 147; Gantz, p. 520; Hard, p. 323.
- Gantz, p. 516
- Sophocles, Antigone 141–147.
- Sophocles, Antigone 127–140.
- Sophocles, Antigone 21–38.
- Hard, pp. 322–323; Gantz, p. 520; Sophocles, Antigone 45–99 (intention to bury Polinices), 384–443 (arrested), 568–943 (sentenced to death), 1221–1223 (hangs herself).
- Gantz, p. 520; Hard, p. 323.
- Gantz, pp. 296, 522. For a discussion of the play see Kovacs 1998, pp. 3–11.
- Kovacs 1998, p. 4.
- Kovacs 1998, p. 4.
- Kovacs 1998, pp. 5–6.
- Euripides, The Suppliants 925–927.
- Kovacs 1998, p. 6.
- Frazer 1989a, p. 518; Euripides, The Suppliants 755–759. Such graves are reported by Plutarch, Theseus 29.5 as being "shown at Eleutherae".
- Gantz, p. 516; Euripides, The Suppliants 857–909.
- Euripides, The Suppliants 934–936.
- Hard, p. 322; Kovacs 1998, pp. 6–7; Gantz, p. 522; Euripides, The Suppliants 990–1071.
- Kovacs 1998, p. 7; Sommerstein 2009, p. 57 n. 1; Euripides, The Suppliants 1114ff..
- Kovacs 2002, p. 203. For a discussion of the play see Kovacs 2002, pp. 203–211.
- Gantz, p. 516; Euripides, The Phoenician Women 1104–1138.
- Kovacs, p. 207; Euripides, The Phoenician Women 740–752.
- Kovacs, pp. 207–208; Hard, p. 330; Gantz, p. 519; Tripp, s.v. Seven against Thebes D; Euripides, The Phoenician Women 903–1018. Compare with Apollodorus, 3.6.7; Hyginus, Fabulae 68.
- Euripides, The Phoenician Women 1153–1162.
- Euripides, The Phoenician Women 1172–1186.
- Euripides, The Phoenician Women 1217–1239.
- Euripides, The Phoenician Women 1356–1424.
- Euripides, The Phoenician Women 1356–1424.
- Gantz, p. 511; Collard and Cropp, p. 251; Bravo III, pp. 106–110. For the extant fragments of the play with introduction and notes see Collard and Cropp, pp. 250–321.
- Gantz, p. 511; Collard and Cropp, p. 251; Bravo III, pp. 109–110.
- Gantz, p. 511; Collard and Cropp, p. 251; Euripides, Hypsipyle test. iiia (Hypothesis) [= P. Oxy. 2455 frs. 14–15, 3652 cols. i and ii.1-15] (Lycurgus as father), fr. 752h.26–28 (Lycurgus as priest of Zeus), fr. 757 (Eurydice as mother), fr. 757.41–44 (Hypsipyle as nurse). Although Lycurgus is a king in later accounts, there is no indication of that here, see Bravo III, p. 107.
- Euripides, Hypsipyle fr. 757.41–44.
- Euripides, Hypsipyle fr. 752h, fr. 753.
- Euripides, Hypsipyle fr. 753d, fr. 754, fr. 754a.
- Euripides, Hypsipyle fr. 757.37–68 (Collard and Cropp, pp. 294–297).
- Euripides, Hypsipyle fr. 757.69–144 (Collard and Cropp, pp. 297–303. The seer Amphiaraus describing his defense of Hypsipyle as relying "on piety", (fr. 757.73) is suggestive of the child's death having been ordained by the gods.
- Euripides, Hypsipyle fr. 759a.58–110.
- Gantz, p. 516; Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 1301–1325.
- Aeschylus, Persians. Seven against Thebes. Suppliants. Prometheus Bound. Edited and translated by Alan H. Sommerstein. Loeb Classical Library No. 145. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-674-99627-4. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Collard, Christopher and Martin Cropp, Euripides Fragments: Oedipus-Chrysippus: Other Fragments, Loeb Classical Library No. 506. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-674-99631-1. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Diodorus Siculus, Diodorus Siculus: The Library of History. Translated by C. H. Oldfather. Twelve volumes. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1989. Online version by Bill Thayer.
- Euripides, The Phoenician Women in Euripides. Helen. Phoenician Women. Orestes, Edited and translated by David Kovacs, Loeb Classical Library No. 11. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2002. Online version at Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-99600-7.
- Euripides, The Suppliants, Edited and translated by David Kovacs, Loeb Classical Library No. 9, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1998. Online version at Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-99566-6.
- Fowler, R. L., Early Greek Mythography: Volume 2: Commentary, Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0198147411.
- Frazer, J. G. (1898a), Pausanias's Description of Greece. Translated with a Commentary by J. G. Frazer. Vol II. Commentary on Book I. Macmillan, 1898. Internet Archive, Internet Archive.
- Frazer, J. G. (1898b), Pausanias's Description of Greece. Translated with a Commentary by J. G. Frazer. Vol III. Commentary on Books II-V, Macmillan, 1898. Internet Archive.
- Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3 (Vol. 2).
- Hard, Robin, The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology: Based on H.J. Rose's "Handbook of Greek Mythology", Psychology Press, 2004, ISBN 9780415186360. Google Books.
- Homer, The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Homer, The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Hyginus, Gaius Julius, Fabulae in Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabuae: Two Handbooks of Greek Mythology, Translated, with Introductions by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma, Hackett Publishing Company, 2007. ISBN 978-0-87220-821-6.
- Most, G.W. (2018a), Hesiod: The Shield, Catalogue, Other Fragments, Loeb Classical Library, No. 503, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2007, 2018. ISBN 978-0-674-99721-9. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Most, G.W. (2018b), Hesiod, Theogony, Works and Days, Testimonia, Edited and translated by Glenn W. Most, Loeb Classical Library No. 57, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2018. ISBN 978-0-674-99720-2. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Parada, Carlos, Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, Jonsered, Paul Åströms Förlag, 1993. ISBN 978-91-7081-062-6.
- Pindar, Nemean Odes. Isthmian Odes. Fragments, Edited and translated by William H. Race. Loeb Classical Library No. 485. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-674-99534-5. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Pindar, Olympian Odes. Pythian Odes. Edited and translated by William H. Race. Loeb Classical Library No. 56. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-674-99564-2. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Pausanias, Pausanias Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pindar, Olympian Odes. Pythian Odes. Edited and translated by William H. Race. Loeb Classical Library No. 56. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-674-99564-2. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Plutarch. Lives, Volume I: Theseus and Romulus. Lycurgus and Numa. Solon and Publicola. Translated by Bernadotte Perrin. Loeb Classical Library No. 46. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1914. ISBN 978-0-674-99052-4. Online version at Harvard University Press. Theseus at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Sommerstein, Alan H., Aeschylus: Fragments, Edited and translated by Alan H. Sommerstein, Loeb Classical Library No. 505. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-674-99629-8. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Sophocles, Antigone in Sophocles. Antigone. The Women of Trachis. Philoctetes. Oedipus at Colonus Edited and translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Loeb Classical Library No. 21, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1994. Online version at Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-99558-1.
- Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus in Sophocles. Antigone. The Women of Trachis. Philoctetes. Oedipus at Colonus Edited and translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Loeb Classical Library No. 21, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1994. Online version at Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-99558-1.
- Statius, Thebaid, Volume I: Thebaid: Books 1-7, edited and translated by D. R. Shackleton Bailey, Loeb Classical Library No. 207, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-674-01208-0. Online version at Harvard University Press.
- Tripp, Edward, Crowell's Handbook of Classical Mythology, Thomas Y. Crowell Co; First edition (June 1970). ISBN 069022608X.
- West, M. L., Greek Epic Fragments: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC, edited and translated by Martin L. West, Loeb Classical Library No. 497, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-674-99605-2. Online version at Harvard University Press.