Boeotia comes next to Argolis and takes the second place in the richness both of its myths and of its Mycenaean remains. There we find two important Mycenaean cities; though the perversity of Fate has left less than elsewhere of past splendor, there is enough to prove that they once were mighty and populous. We find the large and strong fortress of Gla and the extensive works for the improvement of cultivation by the draining of the lake of Copais, which better than anything prove the high standard of Mycenaean civilization in peaceful work; they are far superior to the roads radiating from Mycenae, and I shall recur to them in a later place.
But if we take a survey of the province as a whole in regard to Mycenaean remains, they do not appear to be so numerous as might be expected from these outstanding examples, 1 in fact, elsewhere in Boeotia both Mycenaean habitations and isolated finds seem to be scarce. 2 Not to speak of Argolis, Attica is
much more thickly strewn with Mycenaean sites, tombs, and finds. This state of things is only partly due to the lack of exploration and knowledge of Mycenaean remains in Boeotia. This province has not been so thoroughly searched as have Argolis and Attica, but much attention has been paid to Boeotia also, and it is hardly likely that such an explanation would cover the whole truth. It seems as if Boeotia had been a kind of new land of the Mycenaean civilization which, coming of course from the south, occupied two great centers and penetrated less into the country. The draining of the lake of Copais, which provided a vast area of arable land for the profit of the town doing the work corroborates this view.
This is of course only a suggestion and it may be judged on its own merits. For our purpose the important fact is the existence of Mycenaean centers. I begin with Thebes, postponing the mention of the others until I treat their myths. Extensive remains of a Mycenaean palace have been found at Thebes; unhappily it was possible to excavate them only partly, because they are situated in the midst of the modern town. 3 This was the emplacement of ancient Thebes also, and this continuous habitation of the site was of course catastrophic to the Mycenaean remains. In spite of this, enough is left to show the outstanding importance of Mycenaean Thebes. Especially remarkable are fragments of wall paintings belonging to an earlier period than
those of Orchomenus, 4 a potter's kiln, and a number of big stirrup jars or fragments of such jars with painted short inscriptions. 5 Further, a great number of tombs with rich contents has been found, 6 proving that Thebes had a prosperous and numerous population in the Mycenaean age.
Thus, though the later ages have been fatal to the Mycenaean remains of Thebes, enough is left to show that the city was a most important center of Mycenaean civilization; and the myths attached to Thebes are of a corresponding richness and importance. It would perhaps be sufficient to point to the well-known Theban cycles of myths, but they show some peculiar features which make it a duty to enter upon them more closely, in spite of the uncertainty which is inevitably bound up with research of this kind.
The Theban cycles were treated in post-Homeric epics of which we have some slight knowledge and were especially taken up and favored by the great tragic poets. The chief figure is Oedipus. Professor Robert has treated his myths exhaustively and has given a model piece of mythographical research in his great work Oidipus; here we must try to get
behind the traditional myths and see what their origin and their connections with the Mycenaean age may be. I cannot share Professor Robert's opinion that Oedipus is an old depossessed god. 7 From the fact that three of the tombs and cult places ascribed to Oedipus are certainly late, Professor Robert draws the conclusion that the fourth, the tomb at Eteonus in Boeotia, was the original and old one. Oedipus is, however, no old vegetation god but simply a Märchen-hero, a folk-tale personage who, by vanquishing the sphinx won the hand of the queen and the kingdom, although this simple and common motif was complicated by the addition of a great many others. That his name is a descriptive one, corroborates this view. Such a mythical personage has of course no tomb; even that at Eteonus is a late creation. 8 Nor can I side with Professor Rose who takes Oedipus to be a historical personage, a prince who had been exposed as a child and who at the head of a Corinthian army conquered Thebes, slew King Laius, and wedded Queen Epikaste, his mother. 9 He fully recognizes the folk-tale elements but thinks that Oedipus is a nickname. In view of the fact that it is one of the few characteristic Märchen names in Greek mythology, I am persuaded that the origin of Oedipus is to be found not in history but in folk-tales.
The myth was localized at Thebes; consequently Oedipus became king of Thebes and was inserted in the genealogy of the kingly Theban house. A detailed analysis of the Oedipus cycle is out of place here, but I am bound to point to certain circumstances of importance for our subject. To begin with I remark that the reception of folk-tale motifs in this cycle, just as, e.g., in the Perseus cycle, shows its popularity and age.
Concerning the ancestors of Oedipus a few words will suffice. His grandfather Labdacus is an empty name, and if the guess deriving his name from the name of the letter, labda, Λ, hits the mark, he is of very late origin. On the other hand, the myth in its developed form implies an important rôle for Oedipus' father.
If the myth of Oedipus told only that he guessed the riddle of the sphinx, or simply that he slew her and in reward won the hand of the queen and with her the kingdom, it would have been a very simple folk-tale of a well-known kind. But other motifs were added, drawn from the conflicts in family and ethical life of an early people: the queen was his mother and the man he slew his father. The addition of these motifs created the real Oedipus myth and its essential greatness. In a later chapter 10 we shall treat the naming of the mythical personages and we shall see that the name Oedipus belongs to a class of names, rare in Greek mythology but of frequent occurrence in folk-tales, in which the hero's name is descriptive of certain peculiar characteristics which he possesses. Oedipus signifies "the man with
the swollen feet." The formation of the name is of great antiquity, showing a kind of derivation which was obsolete in the Greek language of the historic age. 11 The feature that his feet were pierced, though irrational as has been said, is bound up with the story that as a newborn child he was exposed to die, but was saved, and when grown up was recognized by his parents. This motif is on the other hand essential only in connection with the myth telling that Oedipus married his mother. That is to say, in this case, because of the formation of the name, we are able to state that the tale of the exposure of Oedipus and of his marrying his mother was joined in an age which long preceded the historical age with the folk-tale of the young man who by guessing the riddle of the sphinx won the queen and the kingdom. I confidently ascribe the origin of this myth complex to the Mycenaean age.
Folk-tales have a logic of their own which sometimes is rather penetrating, though it may seem
puzzling to us. When it was asked how the queen became a widow, the myth answered by applying another motif of the same kind: Oedipus had without knowing it killed his father. Thus the terrific logic of events was still more emphasized. The slaying of his father is not so essential for the myth and may have been added later; but this motif also is certainly very old, 12 and with it the cycle is established in all its essential parts. Other features are more loosely bound up with it and must be passed over here. 13 The history of Greek literature proves that this myth was perhaps the most dramatic of all Greek myths. I venture to think that in its essential parts it was already created in the Mycenaean age and attached to Thebes. The reasons for its localization at Thebes we are of course unable to discover or to guess--they may have been quite fortuitous, as often happens in localizing current tales--but a necessary condition for the recognition of this localization was that Thebes in this age was a famous town.
The second part of the Theban cycle is from our point of view perhaps of still greater interest. This cycle resembles the cycle of Mycenae in that the kernels of the first part of each--the Oedipus and the Perseus myth respectively are closely linked up with folk-tales; whereas the second parts--the myths of the Atreidae and of the Seven against Thebes respectively--belong to those myths which have a historical aspect and kernel. With certain scholars I have assumed this historical kernel in the case of
the Atreidae, and in making the same assumption in regard to the War of the Seven against Thebes I only follow the footsteps of Wilamowitz, Ed. Meyer, and Robert, who take this myth to be a historical reminiscence of a war waged against Thebes by a confederation of Argive princes. 14
But the matter is not so simple as it may appear. Difficulties arose when the myth of the war was joined with the myth of Oedipus, and we must try to grasp these. The common form of the myth is well known. The two sons of Oedipus, Eteocles and Polyneices, quarreled about the throne; Polyneices was driven out by his brother, and collected with the help of the Argive prince Adrastus the great army of the Seven, but failed to conquer Thebes; he and his brother slew each other in the battle, the army was routed, and the other leaders were killed, except Amphiaraus, who was swallowed alive by the earth. The sons of the Seven marched a second time against Thebes with an army, conquered, and destroyed the town. This complex form of the myth was known to Homer, for in the fifth book of the Iliad 15 it is related that Tydeus, one of the Seven, went to Thebes as a messenger, and that he challenged and vanquished all the Cadmeans in athletic contests. In a later passage in the preceding book, 16 the same adventure is told more fully; it is added that Tydeus came to Mycenae accompanied by Polyneices in
order to collect soldiers, and in his reply to Agamemnon, Sthenelus, the comrade of Tydeus' son Diomedes, says that he and his fellows conquered Thebes of the Seven Gates.
On the other hand, it is told in another passage of the Iliad that Mecisteus, who according to later sources was a brother of Adrastus, went to Thebes after the fall of Oedipus, to his funeral games, and vanquished all the Cadmeans. 17 Moreover, a passage in the Nekyia 18 says that Oedipus ruled at Thebes, enduring many evils, even after the discovery of his crimes. Professor Robert is quite right in rejecting the attempts to harmonize this version with the usual ones. 19 We have to admit frankly that the last-quoted Homeric version tells that Oedipus, even after having recognized the frightful deeds of which he was guilty, ruled as king at Thebes and eventually met his death in a war. This version recurs in Hesiod, 20 where it is said that Zeus destroyed the generation of the heroes in two great wars, some of them beneath Thebes of the Seven Gates, warring because of Oedipus' sheep, and others whom he conducted in the ships oversea to Troy because of the fair-haired Helen.
Professor Robert argues conclusively that in this version Oedipus lives, is king and leader in a great war; and this must be admitted; but when he tries to point out the war in question I cannot follow him. He reminds us of the many wars which the
[paragraph continues] Thebans waged, according to the myths, with their traditional foes the Minyans, the Teleboans, and others, and concludes that the war in which Oedipus fell, according to the Iliad, cannot be the War of the Seven against Thebes. 21 This last-mentioned was only one of the many wars which the Thebans fought with their neighbors in the mythical age. He thinks that the epos called the Thebais fused all these wars into one Great War.
This solution of the difficulty is only seemingly easy. For the passages quoted from Homer and Hesiod, which differ from the usual version, refer evidently, as Professor Robert admits, to the same war, and if the war because of Oedipus' sheep was one of the many casual wars which myths attribute to Thebes, how was it possible that Hesiod puts it on the same footing as the most famous war of mythology, that against Troy, and counts it as the second in which the generation of the heroes perished? This being so, it is established beyond possible doubt that the war in which Oedipus fell was the one Great War of Thebes, just as there was one Great War of Troy, although mythology knew other wars of the Trojans too. That is to say, Professor Robert's theory is no real solution of the dilemma and another way must be found.
From the standpoint of principles Professor Robert's view of the Theban war is the same as that advanced by Professor Bethe in regard to the Trojan war. 22 He thinks that of old only scattered elements of myths existed, although he admits that the War
of the Seven has a historical kernel going back into the Mycenaean age. But it was only one of many wars, he says. He tries to demonstrate this opinion by proving that the two foremost of the Seven, Tydeus and Amphiaraus, were not Peloponnesians by origin but were brought into connection with Adrastus, being made his sons-in-law. He thinks that emigrants to Ionia from Euboea, Boeotia, and Argos brought their myths with them and that these separate myths originating in different provinces of the mainland coalesced in Ionia into the cycle of the War of the Seven, and that the myth of the hostile brothers was invented in order to give a cause for this war. 23 In a following chapter he attempts to reconstruct the epos which created this cycle, the Thebais. I pass over his reconstruction and his criticism of the earlier reconstruction of this epos by Professor Bethe. 24
Here also I am unable to embrace the opinion that the great mythical ideas were conceived in a later age, say in the seventh century B.C. Of course Thebes may have waged many wars in the prehistoric age, but popular recollection was unable to keep them apart in the lapse of the centuries, and one war became at an early date more prominent than others. Consequently I consider it as granted that old mythology knew one great war against Thebes, as it knew one great war against Troy, and these two wars were the most famous wars of the mythical age. This is the kernel of the question. The simple mythical fact stated above was of course
not sufficient, the myth had to tell details too, and we may surmise that these were likely to be varied and enlarged. It is only natural that the most famous king of Thebes was made the leader in this war. The cause of the war does not take hold on popular fancy. Cattle-lifting is a very common pastime among early peoples, who breed cattle and value them highly, as the Greeks did, and it is accordingly very frequently given as the cause of wars in the myths just as is the abduction of a woman.
On the other hand, the Theban cycle was distinguished by the reception of motifs, already mentioned above, 25 which were derived from the ethical conflicts and family life of an early people. Still another familiar motif of this kind is that of the hostile brothers. Mythology knows plenty of such pairs, e.g., Proetus and Acrisius, Romulus and Remus, and many others. The hostility of the brothers gave a very good reason for the war: one brother had been expelled by the other and tried to regain his throne. It may moreover be surmised that an accident of this kind happened more than once in the heroic age. When such a quarrel was given as the cause of the war, Oedipus was out of place: not he but another, Eteocles, must be made king and leader of the Thebans in the Great War.
It seems to me to be difficult to decide what was the original form of the myth in this respect, whether Oedipus himself or one of the hostile brothers was the Theban leader in the Great War. Oedipus is manifestly an intrusive personage in the myth of the War, for he belongs originally to a different
cycle; but because of his mythological fame he was connected with the Great War also. For the same reason he was introduced into the story of the hostile brothers, and made their father. This led to quite a series of difficulties which mythical fiction did not succeed in solving in a probable manner. These difficulties appear in the two questions: who was the mother of the brothers, and what happened in the time between the discovery of the crime of Oedipus and the Great War? I do not enter upon these questions, which are of no importance for this discussion. 26
We turn to the other side, to the foes of the Thebans, who also are essential to the myth. We are wont to regard the Theban war from the stand-point of the besieged, whilst we regard the Trojan war from the standpoint of the besiegers. There is a certain reason for these different standpoints, because, unlike the Trojan war, the Theban war ended in the failure of the besiegers; but this point of view ought not to be so overemphasized as to make the foes of Thebes of only incidental importance. On the contrary, the myth, as we know it, takes a far greater interest in the leaders of the hostile party than in the Theban leaders; the latter are, except for Eteocles, rather insignificant mythical personages. There is not the least reason for supposing that the rôles have been reversed in importance.
The foes too belong to the original myth, but in such a series of heroes, names are apt to be changed, left out, or added. How old the canonical number of seven may be, is of course uncertain, although it is
intimately bound up with the myth as we know it. But this number may have determined the number of the gates of Thebes, for, as it has been observed, the historical city of Thebes never had, seven gates. There is, however, one personage who is essential and hardly can have been subject to a change; namely, the leader of the hostile army, Adrastus; and this is in fact acknowledged by the scholars who think that the historical kernel of the myth is an expedition of Argive princes against Thebes. The myth of the War of the Seven was not created at Thebes but like other myths was a product of the general creative genius of the Greeks and was told everywhere. This inference follows from the localization of Adrastus.
Adrastus belongs to the northeastern Peloponnese, but as to the town where he ruled mythological sources differ. He is commonly said to be king of Sicyon, and the special reason for this is Herodotus' account of how Cleisthenes, the tyrant of Sicyon, managed to get rid of his cult by introducing the cult of his death-foe Melanippus. 27 Herodotus says that Adrastus had a heroön on the market place of Sicyon, but a learned Hellenistic author contends that this heroön was a cenotaph and that his real tomb was at Megara. 28 Such localizations must always be regarded with a certain diffidence, because well-known hero names were applied to nameless tombs and cults, or ousted less known names. Thus it may be understood that a hero might have two or more tombs, no one of which was necessarily the
real one. 29 The story of how Adrastus became king of Sicyon gives grounds for suspicion. He is said to be the son of Talaus, the king of Argos, and of the daughter of Polybus, the king of Sicyon. Expelled from Argos because of a quarrel, he went to Sicyon and inherited the kingdom from his mother's father. Talaus is said to be the son of Bias, a brother of Melampus, the seer who, during the reign of King Anaxagoras, cured the women stricken with frenzy by Dionysus. This is a later version of the myth of the daughters of Proetus, which belongs to Tiryns, and may be dismissed. Adrastus was not king of the city of Argos, though he is genealogically annexed to the kingly house of Argos. We may safely say that he ruled as king somewhere in the province of Argos, but we cannot tell for certain which Argive city was his.
That Adrastus was king in some other Argive town and leader of the expedition against Thebes is not incompatible with the overlordship of the king of Mycenae as it is described in Homer. Myths and monuments prove that Mycenae was the richest and mightiest city, but they prove also that there were several other rich and mighty cities in Argolis. We have taken their rulers to be vassals of the king of Mycenae, but we have also emphasized the facts that the power of the suzerain depended on his personal energy and that the vassals strove to assert their independence, a goal which was attained at last at the breakdown of Mycenaean power and civilization. There is place for many changes and
vicissitudes in the half-millenium, more or less, during which the Mycenaean age lasted. We know now, e.g., that the great constructions at Tiryns belong to a very late period of the Mycenaean age, about 1200 B.C. This flourishing of Tiryns seems to imply a decline of the power of Mycenae. When the suzerain's power was decaying, an energetic and successful prince of some other city may have tried to play politics in his own interests. He may have collected soldiers and appeared as leader of an expedition for the purpose of establishing a dominion of his own in a neighboring province, just as William the Conqueror did. Adrastus seems to have been such a personage, using certain circumstances in order to make himself ruler of Thebes.
The series of the Seven heroes was, as we have observed, subject to changes, but some of the heroes, especially Amphiaraus and Tydeus, appear in all versions as more important than the others. Amphiaraus is already in the Odyssey inserted into the genealogy of the seer Melampus and of the kingly house of Argos, and is said to be a son-in-law of Adrastus, but we have seen that this genealogy is not trustworthy. 30 The fact that Amphiaraus is at home in Boeotia is established by cults so important that they cannot be suspected to be later creations. He had a sanctuary at Oropus on the confines of Attica where, giving oracles during sleep, he cured the sick. Another oracle of his, already famous in the times of Croesus, seems, according to Herodotus, 31 to have been near Thebes. We are unable to say whether it was identical with his temple at Harma
in Boeotia mentioned by Strabo, or with his temple at Potniae between Plataeae and Thebes, mentioned by Pausanias. 32 The myth telling that he was swallowed alive by the earth is consistent and without any doubt part of the old tradition. It is of course an aetiologic myth meant to explain why Amphiaraus was thought of as living beneath the earth and why his cult place was under the ground, like that of Trophonius at Lebadeia. 33 We have to admit that a Boeotian cult hero was received into the myth of the Seven against Thebes.
The fact that Tydeus always is said to be a son of the Aetolian king of Calydon, though versions differ in regard to his mother, seems to prove that this genealogy is old and trustworthy and that Tydeus is at home in Aetolia. He also is made a son-in-law of Adrastus. Tydeus' name is one of the old type and moreover his character shows traces of a high and crude antiquity which was detested by the Homeric age. He belongs to that older generation of heroes who possessed an admirable strength and did valiant deeds but met an evil fate. 34 His violent temper and his hasty deeds are prominent characteristics. Like so many other heroes he was exiled because he had slain a relative; that is a consistent feature of the tradition, although there are variations as to the names and the number of the slain. Further, he is always represented as the special protégé of the goddess Athena. He appears as a
knight-errant, capable of valorous but also of cruel deeds, a character consistent with the stormy Mycenaean age but antiquated in the more humanized Homeric society, which set up, higher moral standards than did the Mycenaean Vikings. This character is certainly a heritage from Mycenaean times.
Of the others, Capaneus is the most interesting. His genealogy and localization are unknown. The fact that his son Sthenelus always appears in Homer as the faithful comrade of Diomedes, Tydeus' son, gives perhaps a hint at an old connection even between the fathers. His character is depicted as exactly like that of Tydeus. Striving to conquer Thebes, he defied even Zeus. The myth, first found in Euripides, that at his funeral his wife Euadne threw herself upon the flaming pyre of her husband, is very remarkable. For it is absolutely inconceivable that such a myth was invented under the conditions which we know to have existed in Greece from Homer onward; but the custom is well attested for certain Aryan peoples. Among the Thracians, the Indians, and the Scandinavians of the Viking age the wife accompanied her husband in death in this terrible manner. From the funeral of Patroclus as described in Homer we know that captives were killed in order to accompany the deceased into the Other World, and this description is recognized as a most valuable testimony of old, crude funeral customs. 35 In several cases it has been assumed that the same custom has left traces in Mycenaean burials, and though this supposition is certainly wrong in
certain cases, e.g., in regard to the shaft-graves at Mycenae, and in others is doubtful, the discovery of the untouched burials in the bee-hive tomb at Dendra proves that a similar custom actually existed. One of the sacrificial pits in the tomb contained half-burned animal and human bones which must have survived from a sacrifice at the funeral, and the king and the queen were buried at the same time. Professor Persson thinks it likely that in fact we here have an instance of the self-sacrifice of the queen at her husband's funeral. 36 At all events we have an example of human sacrifice at the funeral. The myth of Euadne's voluntary death on her husband's pyre is pre-Greek and, I venture to think, a precious testimony as to Mycenaean funeral customs.
We have, consequently, good reason to think that the three foremost of the Seven have come down from Mycenaean times; but at least two of these three were not Argives or Peloponnesians, one being a Boeotian and the other an Aetolian. Professor Robert has duly emphasized this fact, 37 and according to his point of view he draws the inference that both had waged a war of their own against Thebes, that the emigrants from Boeotia and Aetolia respectively had brought the myths of these wars with them to Ionia, and that there the wars had been fused with other wars by the Ionian epic poetry, so that the cycle of the Great War of the Seven against Thebes was formed.
I cannot see any reasonable ground for this supposition except the preconceived opinion that the great mythical cycles were first formed by the Ionian minstrels by the fusion of several minor myths into one cycle. We have found reasons to suppose that the idea of one Great War against Thebes was an old heritage from the Mycenaean age, and we have seen that the leader and the three most prominent heroes go back into the same times. Hence it is a fair inference that the cycle in its outlines also goes back into the Mycenaean age. For a great war and a few prominent personages, among them the leader, are intimately bound up with each other. Certainly one of the Seven is a Boeotian hero and another an Aetolian knight-errant, but why should not the Argive aggressor have secured the help of a valorous knight-errant and a Boeotian adversary of Thebes, or, at least, why should not the myth have presented him as doing so? In historical times it is almost a rule that discord between neighbors provides the lever for aggression by foreigners. These are of course nothing but possibilities, but they are mentioned in order to show that there is no interior improbability in drawing the inference which the myth makes likely; namely, that not only the idea of the Great War against Thebes but also its chief heroes have come down from Mycenaean times.
Concerning other parts of the cycle I am unable to proffer any well founded opinion. Eriphyle, the sister of Adrastus and the wife of Amphiaraus, and her treacherous conduct toward her husband, have a prominent place, but I see no means for reaching
any opinion as to the time when this motif was joined with the cycle, or as to the time when Amphiaraus and Tydeus were made sons-in-law of Adrastus.
The feeling that a great undertaking ought not to end with a great disaster has created the myth of the Epigonoi, the sons of the Seven, who conquered and sacked Thebes. This myth is obviously late, some scholars think very late. It may be post-Mycenaean, but cautiousness bids me to leave the question undecided. 38 One of the Epigonoi, Diomedes, derives certainly from Mycenaean times.
There is another well-known Theban myth which cannot be passed over in silence, although it is very difficult to judge and will not be of much importance for our purpose--the myth of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes. The opinion now current 39 reverses the traditional view. Cadmus is assumed to be at home at Miletus, where a noble family counted him as its ancestor. Not far from Miletus there were a mountain and a river both called Cadmus and the inhabitants of Priene were called Cadmeans. 40 At Miletus the tradition arose which ascribed the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet to Cadmus. Even the genealogy which makes Cadmus a brother of Phoenix, Cilix, and Thasos is said to point to Asia Minor. The deduction will of course be that Cadmus was at a rather late age transferred from Ionia to Thebes.
In Homer Cadmus is mentioned only once, as Ino's father; 41 in Hesiod's Theogony he occurs as husband of Harmonia and father of Semele, Ino, and others. 42 Here at last the myth seems to be fully developed. The salient point is, however, another; viz., that Homer always calls the Thebans Cadmeans; 43 the town is on the contrary called Thebe or Thebae. The names of the people, Cadmeans, and of the acropolis, Cadmea, cannot of course be separated from the hero Cadmus, and this proves the lack of foundation of the current opinion. For it is not to be believed that epic poetry would have given the inhabitants of the old town of Thebes a name derived from a hero who at the time was quite recently invented and transferred from Asia Minor to Boeotia. The names of tribes and peoples belong generally to the old epic stock, and epic poetry is quite unwilling to receive recent names, especially for old famous peoples. That the inhabitants of Thebes were called Cadmeans is one of the not uncommon cases in which a town and its inhabitants had different names; e.g., Ilios and the Trojans, Orchomenus and the Minyans, etc. It is further to be observed that Boeotia is richer than other Greek provinces in old tribal names. One of these was the name of the Cadmeans and with that Cadmus is linked inseparably. Professor Crusius came nearer to the truth than later writers, though he neglected the last mentioned argument
and argued only from the oldest, rather scanty sources. 44
If Cadmus is the old eponymous hero of the Cadmeans, the people who inhabited Thebes, we are bound to find an explanation for the mythical fact that he was made a Phoenician immigrant and that wide wanderings were ascribed to him which have found an expression in his genealogy also. It will, however, be necessary to take up another important detail of his myth before proceeding to this question.
The myth of Cadmus is the foundation myth of Thebes in the strict sense of the term. The oracle commanded Cadmus to follow a cow and to found a town on the spot where she lay down. When she did so, he intended to sacrifice her, but in fetching water for the sacrifice he encountered the dragon of Ares and slew him. He sowed the dragon's teeth, and from them men grew up, the Spartoi, who killed one another until only five were left. For expiation he had to do service to Ares for a long year; at the end of this time he received the god's daughter, Harmonia, for his bride, and the wedding was celebrated with great pomp.
It is a curious fact that this is a true foundation myth; the site of the town is determined by divine intervention, the origin of the people and of the noble families is explained. Such myths are numerous but they are almost always told of colonies or of towns, such as Rome and Carthage, put on an equality with them. It will be hard to find another true foundation myth referring to a town in Greece,
except perhaps in the case of Alos in Thessaly. 45 I do not of course take the many etymological myths into account; their late make is so transparent that it is needless to dwell upon them. 46 There are not a few myths telling how the walls of a city were built. E.g., Apollo and Poseidon built the walls of Troy for King Laomedon, the Cyclopes the walls of Tiryns for King Proetus, and Athena helped in erecting the walls of the Acropolis of Athens. But these legends are not foundation myths in the true sense of the word; the existence of the city is presupposed and they relate only how it was fortified. They are evidently late aetiologic myths.
Except for these rather doubtful or worthless instances, only one other example may be cited, and
that also concerns Thebes. It is told that this city was founded by Amphion and Zethus. The best known feature is that these twin brothers built the walls of Thebes; hence one may reasonably be inclined to consider this myth as one of the common type describing the erection of the city walls; but as early as in the Nekyia it is expressly stated that the brothers founded the city of Thebes of the Seven Gates and built the walls. 47 The well-known version of the myth occurs, however, first in the Antiope of Euripides, the earlier tradition being very meager. It has a feature which is found in true foundation myths. The twins were exposed to die but were saved by shepherds, just as were Romulus and Remus or Cyrus. But as told by Euripides the myth is not a foundation myth. The brothers recognized their mother and punished their stepmother Dirce. It is supposed that the city of Thebes existed already, for their stepfather Lycus is king of Thebes. We have no way of knowing what may have been the earlier form of the myth which Euripides used and transformed. We cannot say whether or not it was a true foundation myth. The constantly recurring fact is that Amphion and Zethus built the walls of Thebes and from this detail alone we can surmise that it is old. The statement in the Nekyia that the brothers founded the city may be deduced simply from their building its walls.
Thus Thebes has one foundation myth, or perhaps two. At all events Amphion and Zethus appear to be intrusive in the Theban cycle. They fit very badly into it. That is the reason why Professor
[paragraph continues] Robert, relying upon a passage in Apollodorus, ascribes them to another Boeotian town, Hyria. 48 But even so we do not get rid of the most embarrassing fact, that they built the walls of Thebes, for it is related only that they lived at Hyria and were exiled because of a murder; i.e., there is nothing to prove that the supposed foundation myth belongs to the town of Hyria. We should not demand consistency and sequence of myths; both these myths were attributed to one town without consideration of how they fitted together. The inconsistencies appeared when the myths were brought into a kind of pseudo-historical system by means of genealogies.
The remarkable fact is that Thebes in contrast to other Greek towns has a true foundation myth. It is very easy to understand why the colonies have foundation myths and the cities in Greece have not. The founding of a colony was a fact which was present to all; the towns in Greece, on the contrary, had very often been inhabited since immemorial times; many of them show traces of human habitation not only from Mycenaean but from pre-Mycenaean times also. Therefore foundation myths were precluded; they were out of place. Thus I am inclined to believe that the Theban foundation myth is really a reminiscence of a historical fact and that a Mycenaean tribe really founded a new town here. If this is so, it falls in with the opinion which I gave above that Boeotia was an outpost of Mycenaean civilization. The site of Thebes was of course inhabited in pre-Mycenaean times, but what has
been found from this age is not so much as to be a serious objection to this view. 49
If I am right, an old myth, of course handed down from Mycenaean times, told that Thebes was founded by the eponymous hero of the tribe which inhabited the town, the Cadmeans. The founder, Cadmus, came consequently from abroad. The old myth did not tell or had forgotten whence he came, and the field was left open for guesses. At the beginning of the historical age the foreigners who constantly visited Greece were the Phoenicians. 50 If we take these conditions into consideration, we may perhaps be able to understand why the myth hit upon the idea of making Cadmus a Phoenician. At that time other foreigners were hardly known in Greece, and as Cadmus was acknowledged to be a foreigner, he became a Phoenician. The myth of
his wanderings, which are somewhat similar to the voyages of the Phoenicians in the Aegean, and his genealogy were but consequences of his alleged Phoenician origin. The fact that his name recurs in Ionia is more probably to be explained by the theory that emigrants from Boeotia brought him with them, counted him as their ancestor, and applied his name to certain localities than by the opposite hypothesis that he came from Ionia to Boeotia, which involves unsurmountable difficulties. We know, moreover, that the immigrants in Ionia were a very mixed lot.
100:1 See D. Fimmen, "Die Besiedelung Böotiens bis in frühgriechische Zeit," Neue Jahrbücher für klass. Altertumswissenschaft, XXIX (1912), pp. 524 et seq., supplemented by his Kretisch-mykenische Kultur, pp. 5 et seq.
100:2 The Mycenaean remains unearthed at Eutresis between Thebes and Creusis on the Corinthian gulf are not numerous, but in Mycenaean times the place was fortified with a heavy Cyclopean wall. See Hetty Goldman, Excavations at Eutresis (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1927), p. 82 et seq. The like at Haliartus, Annual of the British School at Athens, XXVIII (1926-27), p. 129; the walls ibid. XXVII (1925-26), p. 82.
101:3 They were explored by Professor Keramopoullos; see Ephemeris archaiologike, 1909, p. 57 et seq.; Praktika, 1911, p. 143 et seq.; 1912, p. 85 et seq. For a summary see the American Journal of Archaeology, XXXIV (1930), p. 219 et seq.
102:4 See Tiryns, II, p. 199. Cp. G. Rodenwaldt, Der Fries des Megaron von Mykenai (1921), p. 69, n. 152; and in regard of the dating of the earlier period, W. Lamb, in the Annual of the British School at Athens, XXV (1921-23), p. 254 et seq.
102:5 For a brief mention see my Minoan-Mycenaean Religion, p. 20, n. 8. J. Sundwall discussed the script in the periodical Klio, XXII (1928-29), p. 228 et seq. A. W. Persson in his interesting attempt to decipher the Minoan-Mycenaean script reads on three of the Theban jars ku-te-me-se va-na tei-vo-e, which very much resembles Κάδμος ϝάναξ Θηβῶν (Schrift and Sprache in Alt-Kreta, Program of the Promotion of Doctors of Letters, Uppsala, 1930, p. 28 et seq.).
102:6 A. Keramopoullos, Deltion archaiologikon, III (1917), p. 25 et seq.
103:7 C. Robert, Oidipus, I (1915), p. 44 et seq. For a criticism see L. R. Farnell, Greek Hero Cults (1921), p. 332 et seq.
103:8 Cp. my review of Robert's book in Göttingischer gelehrter Anzeiger (1922), pp. 36 et seq.
103:9 H. J. Rose, Modern Methods in Classical Mythology (St. Andrews, 1930), p. 24 et seq. An analysis from the point of view of folk-tale motifs is made by S. Luria in Raccolta di scritti in onore di F. Ramorino (1930), p. 289 et seq. I prefer to leave the treasure of Thisbe out of account.
104:10 See below pp. 189 et seq.
105:11 H. Petersson in my above-quoted (p. 103 n. 8) review, p. 45. I repeat Petersson's convincing argument: It is evident that the first compound part of Οἰδίπους is connected with the stem in οἰδάω, οἰδέω, but the difficulty consisting in the difference of vowels (ι instead of α, ε) has not been overcome. There exists, however, a type of corresponding words and compounds such as κυδρός and Κυδιάνειρα, and this type is found in Sanskrit and Old Persian also. (See J. Wackernagel, "Vermischte Beiträge zur griech. Sprachkunde," Programm zur Rektoratsfeier der Universität Basel (1897), p. 8 et seq.) If we suppose that a Greek adjective *οἰδρός once existed, the formation of the name Οἰδίπους falls in with this type, and the existence of this adjective may be assumed with much probability, formations corresponding to it being found in other languages; e.g., Old German eitar, "poison," from Old Teutonic *aitra, "venomous tumor;" Indo-eur. *oid-ro, Lettish idra, "rotten marrow of a tree." Cp. P. Kretschmer, in Glotta XII (1923), p. 59, but I cannot approve of his chthonic interpretation of Oedipus.
106:12 The earliest mention is found in the Nekyia, Od., xi. v. 273.
106:13 Cp. my above-quoted (p. 103, n. 8) review.
107:14 Wilamowitz, Hermes, XXVI (1891), p. 240, and "Die griech. Heldensage, I," Sitzungsberichte der preuss. Akad. der Wissenschaften, 1925, p. 58; Robert, Oidipus, I, p. 120; Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, II, p. 189 et seq.
107:15 Il. v. v. 800 et seq.
107:16 Il. iv. v. 370 et seq.
108:17 Il. xxiii. v. 678 et seq.
108:18 Od. xi. v. 273 et seq.
108:19 Robert, Oidipus, I, p. 115.
108:20 Hesiod, Works and Days, vv. 161 et seq.
109:21 Robert, Oidipus, I. p. 121.
109:22 Cp. above p. 6 et seq.
110:23 Robert, Oidipus, I, p. 143 et seq.
110:24 E. Bethe in his brilliant book Thebanische Heldenlieder (1891).
111:25 Above p. 104.
112:26 I touched upon them in my review quoted p. 103, n. 8, pp. 43 et seq.
113:27 Herodotus, v. 67.
113:28 Dieuchidas in the Scholion to Pindarus, Nem., ix. v. 30.
114:29 think it hardly necessary to discuss the hypothesis that Adrastus originally was a name of the Lord of the Underworld. I cannot see why it should not be a purely human name.
115:30 Od. xv. v. 225 et seq.; see above p. 114.
115:31 Herodotus, viii. 134.
116:32 Paus. ix. 8, 3. Strabo, ix, p. 404.
116:33 This is a valid objection to Farnell's euhemeristic view, Greek Hero Cults, p. 58 et seq.
116:34 E.g., Meleager. This feeling seems to me to underlie the passage Il. i. v. 266 et seq. also.
117:35 By E. Rodhe, Psyche (ed. 10, 1925), I. p. 14 et seq.
118:36 A. W. Persson, Kungagraven i Dendra (1928), p. 130 et seq.
118:37 It matters little that he thinks that both Amphiaraus and Tydeus (in regard to Tydeus I cannot see why) belong to the tribe of the Graikoi, which was settled on both sides of the Euripus: Robert, Oidipus, I., p. 121.
120:38 Robert, Griech. Heldensage, p. 949 et seq.; and Wilamowitz, Hermes, XXVI (1891), p. 239, hold that it is very late.
120:39 Summarized by K. Latte in his article in Pauly-Wissowa's Realenzyklopädie der klass. Altertumswissenschaft.
120:40 The sources are quoted by O. Crusius in his able article in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie, II, p. 872 et seq.
121:41 Od. v. v. 333 et seq.
121:42 Hesiod, Theogony, v. 937 and v. 975.
121:43 Καδμείωνες or Καδμεϊοι , occurs eight times; Θηβαϊος occurs in the Odyssey, as an epithet of the seer Teiresias only.
122:44 I am glad to note that Dr. Fimmen embraces the same opinion (Neue Jahrbücher für das klass. Altertum, XXIX (1912), p. 534 et seq.).
123:45 The town of Alos in Thessaly has a foundation myth. Its founder is said to be either Aloeus (Schol. Apoll. Rhod. i. v. 482 = Hesiod, frag. 9 Rzach, ed. 3; the town is here said to be Aetolian) or Athamas (Schol. Apoll. Rhod. ii. v. 514). The myth runs: An oracle commanded Athamas to settle on the spot where he would be entertained by wild beasts. He encountered wolves devouring their prey, and as they fled he settled in that country and called it Athamania; or he founded a town on the spot and called it Alos from his wanderings (ἄλη) or from his servant maid Alos (Et. magnum, p. 70, 8; Steph. Byz. s.v. Ἀθαμανία). Though the myth differs in regard to the locality, and the usual etymological interpretation is prominent, it undeniably has features which appear to be old. It is impossible to say how old it may be, but it ought not to be forgotten that the foundation legend was implied by the mythical fact that Athamas went from Boeotia to Thessaly. Another myth tells that Ilus, the eponymous hero of the city of Ilion, went out from Phrygia with fifty youths and fifty maidens, following a cow, and founded the city of Ilion where she lay down. This myth appears only in Apollodor, ii. 12, 3, and is a late invention.
123:46 E.g. the myth that Perseus founded the city of Mycenae where he lost the chape (μύκη) of his sword, Paus., ii. 16, 3; or the myth that Coroebus founded Tripodiskos in Megara where the tripod which he carried from Delphi fell from his shoulders, Paus., i. 43, 8.
124:47 Od. xi. v. 262 et seq.
125:48 Robert, Oidipus, I, p. 398, referring to Apollodor, iii. 10, 1. 1, from Hellanicus.
126:49 Keramopoullos in Deltion archaiologikon, III (1917), p. 2 et seq. A nest of pre-Mycenaean vases mentioned in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, XLIX (1929), p. 233. In 1929 sherds of Minyan ware and some sherds of good L. H. II. pottery were found beneath a wall of the palace of the period before the reconstruction; see American Journal of Archaeology, XXXIV (1930), p. 220.
126:50 The name of the Phoenicians (Φοίνικες) signifies etymologically "the Red Men." According to a sagacious hypothesis put forth by H. R. Hall, Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, XXXI (1909), p. 282, "the Red Men" were originally Minoan colonists from Crete and the name was later transferred to the Phoenicians of the Syrian coast. Such a hypothesis would of course very well explain the special features of the myth which are treated above. But I cannot accept this explanation because there is overwhelming evidence that the Mycenaean civilization was introduced into Greece by Greek Vikings and not by Minoan colonists. A. Fick, Vorgriechische Ortsnamen (1905), p. 123 et seq. and R. Burrows, The Discoveries in Crete (1907), p. 141 advanced the opinion that this name was first applied to all the brown-complexioned people whom the Greeks met and only later restricted to the Semites of Canaan.