Laius

Laius or Laios (gr. Λαΐος). was one of the mythical founders of the tradition of pederasty, though in his case by counterexample – instead of practicing pedagogic pederasty he raped his student, Chrysippus. As a result of his crime, known throughout antiquity as "the crime of Laius" (hybris, or "violent outrage") he and his people were punished by the gods. Hera sent the Sphinx against the Thebans, and Laius was forbidden to have children. His transgression of that command eventually resulted in his death at the hand of his own son, Oedipus, and in the sufferings that Oedipus and his own descendants were to bear.

After the rape of Chrysippus, Laius married Jocasta and (disobeying the divine command in a drunken stupor) fathered Oedipus on her. Discovering Jocasta was pregnant, Laius consulted the Delphic oracle. The oracle claimed the child was destined to kill his father and marry his own mother. Laius ordered the baby, Oedipus, left out in the woods to die, but he was taken by a shepherd and given to King Polybus and Queen Merope (or Periboea) of Corinth who raised him to adulthood.

Oedipus fulfilled his destiny, killing Laius and marrying Jocasta, not realizing they were his natural parents. When this was discovered, Oedipus tore out his own eyes and Jocasta hung herself.

Images

Crossroad on the route to Delphi, Mount Parnassus in the background where Oedipus killed Laius.

Links

Story of Laius and Chrysippus






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