previous next


Ἐπίγονοι, “descendants”). The sons of the Grecian heroes who were killed in the First Theban War. (See Polynices.) The War of the Epigoni is famous in ancient history. It was undertaken ten years after the first. The sons of those who had perished in the first war resolved to avenge the death of their fathers. The god, when consulted, promised them victory if led by Alcmaeon , the son of Amphiaraüs. Alcmaeon accordingly took the command. Another account, however, given by Pausanias (ix. 9, 2), makes Thersander, son of Polynices, to have been at the head of the expedition. The other leaders were Amphilochus, brother of Alcmaeon ; Aegialeus, son of Adrastus; Diomedes, of Tydeus; Promachus, of Parthenopaeus; Sthenelus, of Capaneus; and Eurypylus, of Mecisteus. The Argives were assisted by the Messenians, Arcadians, Corinthians, and Megarians. The Thebans obtained aid from the neighbouring States. The invaders ravaged the villages about Thebes. A battle ensued, in which Laodamas, the son of Eteocles, slew Aegialeus, and fell himself by the spear of Alcmaeon. The Thebans then fled; and, by the advice of Tiresias, they secretly left their city, which was entered and plundered by the Argives, and Thersander was placed on the throne.

With the exception of the events of the Trojan War and the return of the Greeks, nothing was so closely connected with the Iliad and Odyssey as the War of the Argives against Thebes, since many of the principal heroes of Greece, particularly Diomedes and Sthenelus, were themselves among the conquerors of Thebes, and their fathers before them, a bolder and wilder race, had fought on the same spot, in a contest which, although unattended with victory, was still far from inglorious. Hence, also, reputed Homeric poems on the subject of this war were extant, which perhaps really bore a great affinity to the Homeric time and school. The second part of the Thebaïs, which related to the exploits of the Epigoni, was, according to Pausanias (ix. 9, 2), ascribed by some to Homer himself. The Epigoni was still commonly ascribed to Homer in the time of Herodotus (iv. 32). See Homerus.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: