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[122] matricide and incest and begetting of children by sons with their own mothers; feasting of a father on the flesh of his own sons, plotted by those nearest of kin; exposure of infants by parents, and drownings and blindings1 and other iniquities so many in number that no lack of material has ever been felt by those who are wont each year to present in the theatre2 the miseries which transpired in those days?

1 Most of these horrors are taken from the Argive legend of the house of Pelops and the Theban story of the house of Labdacus: from the former, Thyestes feasting unwittingly upon the flesh of his own sons, served up to him by his brother, Atreus; from the latter, Oedipus exposed as a child by his parents to perish in the mountains, the slaying of Laius, his father, by Oedipus, the marriage of Oedipus to his own mother, Jocasta, the death at each other's hands of the sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, who were born of that incestuous union, and the blinding of Oedipus.

2 These stories furnished largely the themes of the tragic poets.

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