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[9] When the secret afterwards came to light, Jocasta hanged herself in a noose,1 and Oedipus was driven from Thebes, after he had put out his eyes and cursed his sons, who saw him cast out of the city without lifting a hand to help him.2 And having come with Antigone to Colonus in Attica, where is the precinct of the Eumenides, he sat down there as a suppliant, was kindly received by Theseus, and died not long afterwards.3


1 Compare Hom. Od. 11.277ff.; Soph. OT 1235ff. According to Seneca, in one passage (Sen. Oedipus, 1034ff.), Jocasta stabbed herself to death on the discovery of her incest. But Euripides makes Jocasta survive her two sons and stab herself to death on their dead bodies. See Eur. Ph. 1455-1459. Herein he was perhaps followed by Seneca in his tragedy, for in the fragments of that play ( Seneca, Oedipus 443ff.) Seneca represents Jocasta attempting to make peace between Eteocles and Polynices on the battlefield; but the conclusion of the play is lost. Similarly Statius describes how Jocasta vainly essayed to reconcile her warring sons, and how she stabbed herself to death on learning that they had fallen by each other's hands. See Statius, Theb. vii.474ff., xi.634ff.

2 A curious and probably very ancient legend assigned a different motive for the curses of Oedipus. It is said that his sons used to send him as his portion the shoulder of every sacrificial victim, but that one day by mistake they sent him the haunch (ἰσχίον) instead of the shoulder, which so enraged him that he cursed them, praying to the gods that his sons might die by each other's hands. This story was told by the author of the epic Thebaid . See Scholiast on Soph. OC 1375; Zenobius, Cent. v.43. A different cause of his anger is assigned by Athenaeus xi.14, pp. 465ff., also on the authority of the author of the Thebaid .

3 The coming of Oedipus and Antigone to Colonus Hippius in Attica, together with the mysterious death of Oedipus, are the subject of Sophocles's noble tragedy, Oedipus Coloneus. As to the sanctuary of the Eumenides, see that play, Soph. OC 36ff. The knoll of Colonus is situated over a mile from Athens, and it is doubtful whether the poet intended to place the death and burial of Oedipus at Colonus or at Athens itself, where in later times the grave of Oedipus was shown in a precinct of the Eumenides, between the Acropolis and the Areopagus (Paus. 1.28.7). See Frazer, notes on Paus. i.28.7, i.30.2, vol. ii. pp. 366ff., 393ff.; R. C Jebb on Soph. OC pp. xxx.ff.

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