Tydeus

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In Greek mythology, Tydeus (Greek: Τυδεύς, Tūdeus) was an Aeolian hero of the generation before the Trojan War. He was one of the Seven Against Thebes and was mortally wounded by Melanippus before the walls of the city. The goddess Athena had planned to make him immortal but refused after Tydeus in a rage devoured the brains of the defeated Melanippus. He was the father of the Greek warrior Diomedes, who is frequently known by the patronymic Tydides.

Contents

Exile

Tydeus was a son of Oeneus and either Periboea, Oeneus's second wife, or Gorge, Oeneus's daughter. He was the husband of Deipyle, the mother of Diomedes.

Tydeus was banished from Calydon by his uncle Agrius, because he killed either his brother or a different uncle or six of his cousins. He travelled to Argos, where he married Deipyle, daughter of king Adrastus. The king agreed to help Tydeus regain the rule of Calydon, but chose to first help Polynices regain kingship of Thebes.

Seven against Thebes

One night Adrastus, the king of Argos, heard strange voices in his palace. He came closer to the source of the noise, and he saw two young men fighting for the guest's room in his palace. It was Tydeus and Polyneices, son of Oedipus, who was co-reigning in Thebes with his brother Eteocles before he was expelled by the latter. A prophecy had told Adrastus to marry his daughters with the lion and the boar, and watching these two princes fighting like wild beasts he decided to keep them in Argos as sons-in-law. Time passed, Tydeus and Polyneices became princes of Argos, had children and generally lived well, but neither one of them forgot his homeland. So now, having the support of their father-in-law, king Adrastus, they decided to claim what was theirs. They chose to go first to Thebes, and, aided by Adrastus, they raised an army from Argolis (the area around Argos). Many heroes came, like the diviner Alcmeon, the son of Atlanta Parthenopeos and the fearless Capaneus, so they begin for Thebes, with the largest army had ever appeared in Greece till that time.


The 7th century poet Mimnermus attributes the murder of Ismene, the sister of Antigone, to Tydeus. No other Classical writer mentions the story, but the scene is represented on a 6th century Corinthian black-figure amphora now housed in the Louvre.[1]

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