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Regular version of the site

Article

The myth of the War of the Seven and Pausanias’ educational topography

Hypothekai. 2020. No. 4. P. 171-206.

The article examines the monuments of Thebes mentioned by Pausanias and related to the story of Seven against Thebes. It is claimed that these monuments were a part of the local educational practice, which reflected the Theban mythical history and fostered patriotism. Most of the monuments were located near the gates of the Kadmeia (at a distance of up to 260 m) and formed a close circle of monuments. In some cases, the monuments formed a far circle (at a distance of 300 to 500–960 m from the gates). The first of the monuments considered is the monument associated with Amphiaraos. Regarding the place where the earth swallowed Amphiaraos, there exist two traditions, namely the “Theban” and the “Tanagrian” ones. It is hypothesized that the “Tanagrian” tradition was adapted by the
residents of Oropos and, thus, reflected in Euripides’ tragedy The Phoenician Women. The educational topography of Pausanias shows that the “Theban” version is consistent with the text of Aischylos’ tragedy Seven against Thebes, while the “Tanagrian” version is consistent with the text of The Phoenician Women by Euripides. The location of the tombs of Melanippos and Tydeus near the Proitides gates also corresponds to the tradition captured by Aischylos, which presumably reflects the local, or “Theban”, version of the myth. Through Pausanias’ educational topography, the connection of the figure of Kapaneus with the Elektrai Gates and the walls of Thebes is emphasized, which is confirmed by the evidence of material culture. As a possible grave of Oidipous’ children, the largest of the chamber tombs on the hill of Megalo Kastelli is considered. A large number of monuments associated with the story of Seven against Thebes symbolized military valour and glorified Thebes in their victory over the Argives. Some of the monuments possess ambiguous symbolism, among which are the tomb of Menoikeus and the place of the duel between the sons of Oidipous. The article is equipped with a map reconstructing the probable location of the monuments, including various versions of their localization, as well as illustrations with the images on the objects of material culture associated with the War of the Seven.