Eteocles | King of Thebes

Eteocles Greek Mythology

Ethocles (Greek: Ἐτεοκλῆς), in Greek mythology, was a king of Thebes, son of Oedipus and Jocasta. And father of Laodamante. Brother of Polynices, Antigone and Ismenia. He participated in the episode known as Seven against Thebes.

When Oedipus, his father, discovered that he had married his own mother, he pierced his eyes, so that he would no longer see and witness the misfortunes of his life, and exiled himself from Thebes. Only Antigone accompanied her father. Oedipus, disgusted by his sons turning their backs on him, threw a curse that both brothers would kill each other.

It was decided that Ethocles would reign in Thebes. Polynices, angered, exiled himself from the city and joined with King Adrasto of Argos, a rival city to Thebes, and went to Argos, where he was received by King Adrasto.

There Polynices meets Tideus, son of Enneus, they fall out and end up fighting. The confusion created by the two caught the attention of Adrastus, who when he saw the animals stamped on the shields of both decided to give his daughters' hands to each, for he had received an oracle that he should give his daughters' hands to a lion and a boar.

Tideus married Deipile and Polynices married Argeia. Besides giving his daughter's hand to Polynices, Adrasto also collaborates for Polynices to regain the throne of Thebes.

Seven against Thebes

The attack against Thebes was led by Adrasto and six other princes. During the fight Aetheocles and Polynices faced each other hand to hand and ended up killing each other, thus fulfilling the curse employed by their father. With the death of Polynices the army of Argos abandons the battle giving the victory to the Thebans. Adrasto was the only one of the seven princes who survived.

The Death

With the death of Aetheocles, Creon becomes king again, now as regent. Creon considered Aetheocles a hero, since he had died to defend the fatherland, and Polynices a traitor who caused the destruction of the city. As punishment Creon forbade Polynices' body to be buried.

Antigone was outraged and still buried her brother's body. After learning this, Creon ordered that she be arrested and that she could no longer live before the living. Soon after Antigone is arrested she kills herself, hanging by a rope. When Hemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiancé, finds out that Antigone has killed herself, he cannot bear it and kills himself as well.

Soon afterwards, Eurydice, Creon's wife and mother of Hémon, learns of the misfortune that has befallen her son and also kills herself. Creon, after learning of so many disgraces that had happened to him, thinks of killing himself, but changes his mind because he will leave this to fate.