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Lecture%2019[1] - The Seven Against Thebes Thebes War and...

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The Seven Against The Seven Against Thebes Thebes 03/09/09
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War and Society in the Greek World Historically – war endemic in the Greek world Campaign season Most wars before 5 th century BC last under a week No standing armies Hoplite warfare (army of citizens) vs. Homeric warfare (individual champions) VERY few casualties in hoplite battle Unofficial rules/laws of war
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War and Society in Greek Myths Major wars: the war of the Seven against Thebes; the Trojan War Showcase champions/individual heroes Show worst-case scenarios – violations of rules/laws of war Paradox – war is presented as horrific, and yet is also essential for heroes Glory in war glory in poetry immortality because of memory
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The War of the Seven against Thebes Set in the generation before the Trojan War Root of the war – four curses 1. Family curse on the Theban royal house 2. Curse of Pelops on Laius down to third generation 3. Curse of Oedipus on the murderer of Laius 4. Curse of Oedipus on his sons for disrespecting him
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Background to the War Oedipus’ sons, Eteocles and Polynices, take power Decide to rule in alternate years Eteocles refuses to step down after his year is up Polynices gathers six more heroes, and together they attack Thebes the Seven Significance of 7 – Thebes has 7 gates
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The Seven Champions Polynices Tydeus – father of Diomedes Adrastus – father-in-law of Polynices and Tydeus; duel of Polynices and Tydeus (the Lion and the Boar) Amphiaraus – had an oracle at Thebes; prophet during his lifetime – predicted failure of the war Parthenopeus Hippomedon Capaneus
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Duel of Tydeus and Polynices
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Oracle predicting Death of Amphiaraeus
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Aeschylus (ca. 525-456/5 BC) Earliest of the three great Athenian tragedians; “Father of tragedy” Fought at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) Wrote over 90 plays; 7 survive Wrote his plays as thematically-connected trilogies: e.g., Oresteia , Prometheia , Dionysus trilogy: Semele , Bacchae , Pentheus Oedipus trilogy ( Laius , Oedipus , and Seven against Thebes ), produced in 467 BC
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Seven against Thebes : Characters Eteocles Eteocles’ spy (also doubles as an adviser in all things military) Chorus of highly hysterical Theban women Antigone Ismene Herald (only present in later version)
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Seven against Thebes : Plot Eteocles announces that he is prepared to lead his city into war Spy arrives, describes the terrible oath of the Seven, and urges Eteocles to find a fitting Theban champion to face each of the enemy champions The chorus goes hysterical
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