Online Encyclopedia

CREON

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 409 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CREON, in Greek legend, son of Menoeceus, king of Thebes after the death of Laius, the husband of his sister Jocasta. Thebes was then suffering from the visitation of the Sphinx, and Creon offered his crown and the hand of the widowed queen to whoever should solve the fatal riddle. Oedipus, the son of Laius, ignorant of his parentage, successfully accomplished the task and married Jocasta, his mother. By her he had two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, who agreed after their father's death to reign in alternative years. Eteocles first ascended the throne, being the elder, but at the end of the year refused to resign, whereupon his brother attacked him at the head of an army of Argives. The war was to be decided by a single combat between the brothers, but both fell. Creon, who had resumed the government during the minority of Leodamas, the son of Eteocles, commanded that the Argives, and above all Polyneices, the cause of all the bloodshed, should not receive the rites of sepulture, and that any one who infringed this decree should be buried alive. Antigone, the sister of Polyneices, refused to obey, and sprinkled dust upon her brother's corpse. The threatened penalty was inflicted; but Creon's crime did not escape unpunished. His son, Haemon, the lover of Antigone, killed himself on her grave; and he himself was slain by Theseus. According to another account he was put to death by Lycus, the son or descendant of a former ruler of Thebes (Euripides, Herc. Fur. 31; Apollodorus iii. 5, 7; Pausanias ix. 5).
End of Article: CREON
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