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In Greek mythology, Epigoni (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 Greek 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.

According to Apollodorus,[1] they were:

  • 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[2] also adds:

  • Polydorus son of Hippomedon

The war

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.[1] Aegialeus was killed by Laodamas, son of Eteocles, but Alcmaeon killed Laodamas.[3] The Thebans were defeated and, by the counsel of the seer Teiresias, fled their city. However, Pausanias says that Thersander was their leader,[4] that Laodamas fled Thebes with the rest of the Thebans,[5] and that Thersander became king of Thebes.[6]

As a poetic theme

Epigoni (in Greek, Επίγονοι; "The Progeny") is the title of an early Greek epic on this subject;[7] 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 (Epigonoi or "The Progeny") 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.[8]

In art

There were statues of the Epigoni at Argos[2] and Delphi.[9]

In 2010, writer/director/actor Rudi Jilberto independently released his feature film The Epigone, about an artist struggling to create something original and achieve immortality through his work. The film, which began with the first (and only known) line of Homer's epic poem, grappled with the idea of being "brought into the world too late, after all great deeds had already been done."


  1. 1.0 1.1 Apollodorus, 3.7.2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pausanias, 2.20.5.
  3. Apollodorus, 3.7.3.
  4. Pausanias, 7.3.1, 9.9.4.
  5. Pausanias, 9.5.13, 9.9.5.
  6. Pausanias, 9.5.14.
  7. Herodotus, 4.32.1.
  8. "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.
  9. Pausanias, 10.10.4.


  • 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.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Epigoni. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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