In Greek mythology, Epigoni (//; from Greek: Ἐπίγονοι, meaning "offspring") are the sons of the Argive heroes who had fought and been killed in the first Theban war, the subject of the Thebaid, in which Polynices and six allies (the Seven Against Thebes) attacked Thebes because Polynices' brother, Eteocles, refused to give up the throne as promised. The second Theban war, also called the war of the Epigoni, occurred ten years later, when the Epigoni, wishing to avenge the death of their fathers, attacked Thebes.
- Aegialeus, son of Adrastus
- Alcmaeon, son of Amphiaraus
- Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus
- Diomedes, son of Tydeus
- Euryalus, son of Mecisteus
- Promachus, son of Parthenopaeus
- Sthenelus son of Capaneus
- Thersander son of Polynices
To this list, Pausanias also adds:
Both Apollodorus and Pausanias tell the story of the war of the Epigoni, although their accounts differ in several respects. According to Apollodorus, the Delphic oracle had promised victory if Alcmaeon was chosen their leader, and so he was. Aegialeus was killed by Laodamas, son of Eteocles, but Alcmaeon killed Laodamas. The Thebans were defeated and, by the counsel of the seer Teiresias, fled their city. However, Pausanias says that Thersander was their leader, that Laodamas fled Thebes with the rest of the Thebans, and that Thersander became king of Thebes.
As a poetic theme
Epigoni is the title of an early Greek epic on this subject; it formed a sequel to the Thebaid and therefore was grouped by Alexandrian critics in the Theban cycle. Some counted it not as a separate poem but as the last part of the Thebaid. Only the first line is now known:
- "Now, Muses, let us begin to sing of younger men ..."
Epigoni is also the title of a lost Greek tragedy by Sophocles. A few lines from this text have long been known because they were quoted in commentaries and lexica by ancient scholars. An additional fragment of several lines was discovered in 2005.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.7.2.
- Pausanias, 2.20.5.
- Apollodorus, 3.7.3.
- Pausanias, 7.3.1, 9.9.4.
- Pausanias, 9.5.13, 9.9.5.
- Pausanias, 9.5.14.
- Herodotus, 4.32.1.
- "Eureka! Extraordinary discovery unlocks secrets of the ancients", David Keys and Nicholas Pyke, The Independent on Sunday, no. 791, 17 April 2005, p. 1. Appears on website Papyrology at Oxford.
- Pausanias, 10.10.4.
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- Apollodorus, The Library, (Loeb Classical Library, No. 121, Books I–III), English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, Harvard University Press (1921), ISBN 0-674-99135-4 .
- Herodotus, The Histories, (Loeb Classical Library, No. 118, Books III–IV), English Translation by A. D. Godley, Harvard University Press (1920), ISBN 0-674-99131-1 .
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, (Loeb Classical Library, Arcadia, Boeotia, Phocis and Ozolian Locri; Books VIII–X), English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., Harvard University Press (1918), ISBN 0-674-99328-4 .
- Greek Epic Fragments ed. and tr. Martin L. West. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press) 2003.