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Seven Against Thebes

"Seven Against Thebes" is a play by Aeschylus concerning the battle between Eteocles and the army of Thebes and Polynices and his supporters, traditional Theban enemies.

When Oedipus stepped down as King of Thebes, he gave the kingdom to his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, who both agreed to alternate the throne every year. After the first year, Eteocles refused to step down and Polynices attacked Thebes with his supporters (the eponymous seven against Thebes). Both brothers died in the battle. King Creon, who ascended o the throne of Thebes decreed that Polynices is not to be buried. Antigone, his sister, defied the order, but was caught. Creon decreed that she was to be buried alive, that in spite of the fact that she was betrothed to his son, Haemon. The gods, through the blind prophet Tiresias, expressed their disapproval of Creon's decision, which convinced him to rescind his order, and he went to bury Polynices. However, Antigone had already hanged herself rather than be buried alive. When Creon arrived at the tomb where she was to be interred, his son, Haemon, attacked him and then killed himself. When Creon's wife, Eurydice, was informed of their death she, too, takes her own life.

Also during this battle, Capaneus was killed by a lightning bolt from Zeus as punishment for his arrogance. His wife, Evadne, threw herself on his funeral pyre. Also, Megareus killed himself because Tiresias prophesied that a voluntarily death from a Theban would save Thebes.

The Seven Against Thebes were

  1. Adrastus
  2. Amphiaraus
  3. Capaneus
  4. Hippomedon
  5. Parthenopeus
  6. Polynices
  7. Tydeus
  1. Adrastus

The defenders of Thebes included
  1. Creon
  2. Megareus
  3. Poriclymenus

Unknown side
  1. Capaneus

See also Epigonoi