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Capaneus scales the city wall of Thebes, Campanian red-figure amphora, ca. 340 BC, Getty Villa (92.AE.86).

In Greek mythology, Capaneus /kəˈpæn.js/ (Greek: Καπανεύς, Kapaneús) was a son of Hipponous and either Astynome (daughter of Talaus)[1] or Laodice (daughter of Iphis),[2] and husband of Evadne, with whom he fathered Sthenelus.[3] Some call his wife Ianeira.[4]


According to the legend, Capaneus had immense strength and body size and was an outstanding warrior. He was also notorious for his arrogance. He stood just at the wall of Thebes at the siege of Thebes and shouted that Zeus himself could not stop him from invading it. In Aeschylus, he bears a shield with a man without armour withstanding fire, a torch in hand, which reads 'I will burn the city,' in token of this. While he was mounting the ladder, Zeus struck and killed Capaneus with a thunderbolt, and Evadne threw herself on her husband's funeral pyre and died.[5][6][7][8][9][10] His story was told by Aeschylus in his Seven against Thebes,[11] by Euripides,[12] and by the Roman poet Statius.[13]

Popular culture[edit]

  • In the fourteenth canto of his Inferno, Dante sees Capaneus in the seventh circle (third round) of Hell. Along with the other blasphemers, or those "violent against God", Capaneus is condemned to lie supine on a plain of burning sand while fire rains down on him. He continues to curse the deity (whom, being a pagan, he addresses as "Jove" [Jupiter]) despite the ever harsher pains he thus inflicts upon himself, so that God "thereby should not have glad vengeance."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae, 70
  2. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Phoenician Women, 189; on Pindar, Nemean Ode 9. 30
  3. ^ Bibliotheca 3. 10. 8
  4. ^ Scholia on Pindar, Olympian Ode 6. 46
  5. ^ Sophocles, Antigone, 133
  6. ^ Bibliotheca 3. 6. 6. – 3. 7. 1
  7. ^ Euripides, Suppliants, 983 ff
  8. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae, 243
  9. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9. 404; Ars Amatoria, 3. 21
  10. ^ Philostratus the Elder, Images, 2. 31
  11. ^ Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 423 ff
  12. ^ Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1172 ff
  13. ^ Statius, Thebaid, 10. 927

External links[edit]