In Greek mythology, King Laius, or Laios of Thebes was a divine hero and key personage in the Theban founding myth. Son of Labdacus, he was raised by the regent Lycus after the death of his father.
Abduction of Chrysippus
While Laius was still young, Amphion and Zethus usurped the throne of Thebes. Some Thebans, wishing to see the line of Cadmus continue, smuggled Laius out of the city before their attack, in which they killed Lycus and took the throne. Laius was welcomed by Pelops, king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. Laius abducted and raped the king's son, Chrysippus, and carried him off to Thebes while teaching him how to drive a chariot, or as Hyginus records it, during the Nemean games. This abduction was the subject of one of the lost tragedies of Euripides. With both Amphion and Zethus having died in his absence, Laius became king of Thebes upon his return.
After the rape of Chrysippus, Laius married Jocasta or Epicasta, the daughter of Menoeceus, a descendant of the Spartoi. Laius received an oracle from Delphi which told him that he must not have a child with his wife, or the child would kill him and marry her. One night, however, Laius was drunk and fathered Oedipus with her. On Laius's orders the baby, Oedipus, was exposed on Mount Cithaeron with his feet bound (or perhaps staked to the ground), but he was taken by a shepherd, who did not have the resources to look after him, so he was given to King Polybus and Queen Merope (or Periboea) of Corinth who raised him to adulthood.
When Oedipus desired to know more about his parentage, he consulted the Delphic Oracle, only to be told that he must not go to his home or he would kill his father and marry his mother. Thinking that he was from Corinth, he set out toward Thebes to avoid this fate. At the road called 'Cleft Way,' he met Laius, who was going to Delphi to consult the oracle because he had received omens indicating that his son might return to kill him. Oedipus refused to defer to the king, although Laius's attendants ordered him to. Being angered, Laius either rolled a chariot wheel over his foot or hit him with his whip, and Oedipus killed Laius and all but one of his attendants, who claims it was a gang of men. Laius was buried where he died by Damasistratus, the king of Plataea. Later, Thebes is cursed with a disease because his murdeor has not been punished.
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