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[271] The story of Oedipus, as related here, appears in its simplest and probably earliest form. The incest and the parricide, and Epicaste's suicide are the only events recorded. Perhaps the marriage with Epicaste (in later times Iocaste) may be taken as implying the legend of the Sphinx and the solving of her riddle. But a real divergence is apparent in the words ἄφαρἀνθρώποισιν, which can have no other meaning than that the union had but just taken place, when its incestuous nature was revealed, and that Epicaste, instead of living many years in wedlock with Oedipus and bearing children to him, at once put an end to her life; while Oedipus still continued king at Thebes, though haunted by the avengers of his mother's wrong. No allusion is made to his self-inflicted blindness, nor of his wandering to Athens to find a grave; and it is not unlikely that the connection of the king of Thebes with Theseus was the later invention of an Attic poet or rhapsodist. Indeed, Homer makes it evident ( Il.23. 679) that Oedipus died at Thebes, and that his funeral games were held there. The manner of his death is not recorded, but the expression “δεδουπότος Οἰδιπόδαο” has been supposed to imply that he fell in war, or, at any rate, by violence; for it seems too artificial to interpret it of his sudden fall from prosperity. The Attic tragedians represent the discovery of his relationship to his mother as long deferred, and his four children as all born to him by Jocasta. But Grote (vol. 1. chap. 14) reminds us that the ‘ancient epic called Oedipodia, treading more closely in the footsteps of Homer, represented him as having after her death married a second wife Euryganeia, by whom the four children were born to him; and that the painter Onatas adopted this story in preference to that of Sophocles.’ See Pausan. 9. 5. 5. In the old narrative of the Cyclic Thebais, Oedipus does not appear to be described as blind; nor, as far as can be known, is the blindness mentioned in the narrative of Pherecydes (Schol. Eur. Phoen.52), though it forms part of the narrative of Hellanicus (ib.).

Οἰδιπόδαο. This form occurs in Il.23. 679; Hesiod, Opp. et Di. 163; cp. Pind. Pyth.4. 263.If the nom. “Οἰδιπόδης” exists, it may be compared with “ἑπταπόδης Il.15. 729.This universally received account makes the name of Oedipus a reminiscence of his exposure on Cithaeron, when his ‘feet were swoln’ with the cords that bound them; ‘forata ferro gesseras vestigia,

tumore nactus nomen et vitio pedum’ Senec. Oed.812.It is more likely that the story formed round the name, and was suggested by the apparent etymology. No allusion is made to the circumstance in Homer; and Döderlein, n. 964, seeks to derive the name simply from “οἰδεῖν”, as it were ‘tumidus ira,’ regarding “-πους” as a mere termination. Schneidewin (Einleit. zum Tyr.s. 25), with greater probability, refers the word to “οἶδα”, as though Oedipus were par excellence the insipiens sapiens; cp. O. T.397 μηδὲν εἰδὼς Οἰδίπους”, where the jingle can hardly be unintentional.
Ἐπικάστη, from root “καδ”, as in “κέκασμαι”, meaning ‘brightness.’

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 52
    • Hesiod, Works and Days, 163
    • Homer, Iliad, 15.729
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.679
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 397
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
    • Seneca, Oedipus, 812
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