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Greek Gods and Goddess: Tydeus

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Introduction to Tydeus

The ancient Greek Gods and Goddess contain a wealth of stories and legends, wrapped in Myths which typically provide a story with a morale code designed to influence the reader into behaviour as fitting Greek culture of the era.

In this article, we look at Tydeus and the myths and legends surrounding Tydeus, Tydeus relationship to and with other Greek Gods and Goddess and key events and stories which relate to ancient astrology and the changing seasons.

About Tydeus

The king of Argos, Adratus, had two beautiful daughters, Deipyla [hostile gates] and Aegeia [bright], for whom there we many suitors, but Adrastus was afraid to make a choice between any of them, as those rebuffed might turn against him, thus, he consulted the Delphic oracle. 'yoke the boar and the lion that fight in your palace to a two-wheeled chariot' was Apollo's reply. Among the contenders was the son of Oeneus and Periboea [surrounded-restriction], called Tydeus of Calydon (the city's emblem was a boar) who it was reported killed his brother Melanippus (I cannot find any other source that records he had a brother by such a name, he had a sister called Melanippe?) by accident while they were out hunting, however, the Calydonians did not believe him for it was known that it had been prophesied by the oracle that Melanippus would kill him, and the banished him, suspecting he had tried to avoid his destiny, at length he turned up at Adrastus' palace seeking to marry one of his daughters. Another contender was Polyneices [much strife] who along with his brother Eteocles [true, glorious] had been appointed joint rulers of Thebes (emblem the Lion), after their father Oedipus was banished, but they agreed to rule a year each alternately. But Eteocles refused to give up the throne, saying that Polyneices had evil tendencies and was therefore unfit to rule and he exiled him. Polyneices then went to see his father to get his blessing to raise a force and attack Thebes, however, both brothers had deeply upset Oedipus previously, and he had appealed to Zeus, that the brothers should both die by the others hand. At this point Polyneices went to Argos hoping to marry one of Adrastus's daughters. Tydeus and Polyneices came face to face in the king's palace, each boasting of the riches and glories of their own city; the argument soon became heated and they clashed shields and bandied their swords around, on Polyneices shield was the lion, on Tydeus's the boar, Adrastus hearing the clamour rushed to them and parted, and reconciled them, getting them to agree that in the future he would judge any dispute arising between them. The Adrastus seeing the lion and the boar on their shields rememdered the words of Apollo and thus, he gave his daughter Aegeia to Polyneices and his other daughter Deipyla to Tydeus, thus the Lion and the Boar were successfully yoked to a two-wheeled chariot. Adrastus also promised them that he would help them both regain their kingdoms, but that they would attack Thebes first as it was closer than Calydonia. Adrastus mustered a great army was all over his kingdom; under Hippomedon, Capaneus, Argive chiefs, his Arcadian ally Parthenopaeus, Tydeus and Polyneices, himself and his reluctant brother-in-law Amphiaraus the seer, who could forsee that the only one who would survive this enterprise was Adrastus. Amphiaraus at first refused to join Adrastus because the pair of them had nearly come to fatal blows, over the affairs of the state, indeed only because Eriphyle, Adrastus's sister and wife of Amphiaraus had jumped between them and knocked their swords upwards were mortal blows avoided. Then she made them swear an oath, that she would judge over any future disputes; meanwhile Tydeus hearing of the oath they had sworn, persuaded Polyneices to offer Eriphyle the sacred magic, or cursed necklace Aphrodite, mother of his ancestress Harmonia the wife of Cadmus as a wedding gift. Polyneices offered Tydeus the necklace if she would use her power over her husband Amphiaraus, to get him to accompany Adrastus in the war against Thebes, this she did without the slightest hesitation, for apparently felt she was losing her goodlooks, something that somehow Tydeus had noticed, which was why he suggested the bribe in the first place to Polyneices. Amphiaraus bound by solemn oath to abide by her judgement was compelled to join the fated expedition. It is not known what powers the necklace possessed, but it was certainly not good news for Eriphyle or those involved. Amphiaraus suspecting, or knowing his wife had been bribed asked his young sons to kill her if he did not return from the battle alive. The forces now massed and ready departed heading towards Thebes, soon enough they came to pass through the kingdom of Lycurgus [work of wolves] called Nemea, and asked they could water the forces there. Lycurgus granted their request and asked his slave woman Hippsipyle [high gate] a Lemnian princess, and nursemaid to his son Opheltes.

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