Seven against Thebes

When King Oedipus of Thebes abdicated, his sons Polynices and Eteocles agreed to alternately rule the city for one year. Eteocles, however, did not want to relinquish the throne when his year had finished and he banished Polynices from the city. Polynices took refuge at the court of king Adrastus of Argos, his father-in-law. There he gathered around him six heroes — Adrastus, Amphiaraus, Capaneus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeus, and Tydeus — with the intent to retake the city.

The seven marched against Thebes, the city with the seven gates, to restore Polynices to power. This war ended as unfortunately as Amphiaraus had predicted, and of the seven heroes, Adrastus alone survived.

Ten years later, the sons of the Seven avenged the deaths of their fathers in the second Theban war (see Epigoni).

The tragic poets Aeschylus and Euripides dramatized the legend.



  • Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.