Antigone: Reference Appendix

Eteocles_and_Polynices_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_14994Argive Army: Argos was another city_state in Ancient Greece. The city of Argos aided Polyneices in his assault on Thebes. Wars between various city_states in Ancient Greece were common. The longest and most destructive was the war between Athens and Sparta (known as the Peloponnesian War). Different city_states had different cultures and ways of life. All of the existing Greek tragedies were performed as part of the Athenian festival honoring the god Dionysus. According to Greek mythology, Dionysus’ mother Semele was a member of the royal house of Thebes.

Choral directions: The following stage directions point to the ritual function of the chorus and to their stylized movement.

  1. Parados- Entry of the chorus, the chorus traditionally entered dancing
  2. Strophe- Dancing segment where the chorus moved from stage right to stage left while reciting their ode.
  3. Antistrophe- Dancing in the opposite direction.
  4. Exodus – Exit of the chorus

Curse of Oedipus: After Oedipus discovers that he has murdered his father and married his mother, he blinds himself. Jocaste, his wife and mother, commits suicide. Antigone and Ismene are children when this occurs. These events are plot points in Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex.

Seven Gates of Thebes: Thebes, like many ancient cities, was walled and fortified against attack. According to Greek mythology the wall had seven gates. The Argive army attacked at each of these gates simultaneously.

Dirce: A stream in Thebes named after an ancestor of the house of Thebes who was murdered and whose body was thrown into the stream. In some versions of Greek mythology Dirce was a river nymph after whom the stream was named.

Menoeceus: Creon and Jocasta’s father (see family tree).

Laios: Oedipus’ father and the former King of Thebes (see family tree). Oedipus met Laios while traveling from Corinth (where Oedipus lived as the adopted son of the Corinthian king and queen) at a crossroads where three roads met. Without knowing they were related, Oedipus killed Laios in an ancient version of road rage—neither party would yield to the other’s chariot.

Pride in a slave: Here Creon is referring to the fact that he took in Oedipus’s children after Oedipus exiled himself from Thebes. All four children were in essence orphaned and sheltered by Creon. Thus, they were dependent upon him. Slavery was a part of ancient Greek society and this phrase equates Antigone’s dependence upon Creon to the dependence of a slave upon his or her master. Pride is often considered the tragic flaw of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex and Antigone and Creon are both accused of being prideful in Antigone.

aphrodite11Aphrodite: Goddess of love
Archeron: One of the rivers that led to the underworld, Hades. In some versions of Greek mythology the rivers are connected, so Archeron is sometimes connected to the more commonly referenced River Styx. 

Niobe and Tantalus: Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus, whose father was Zeus. She married into the house of Thebes by marrying King Amphion and had six (sometimes recounted as seven) sons and six (or seven) daughters. She boasted that she was more fertile than the Titan Leto, mother of the twin gods Artemis and Apollo. As a result, Artemis killed all of her daughters and Apollo killed all of her sons.

Persephone: Goddess of the underworld, abducted by and married to Hades. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth.

Danae: Daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos. Danae was kept locked in a room because of a prophesy regarding her offspring. Zeus visited her in the form of a shower of gold and the result was the birth of the hero Perseus.

Dryas’s son: The Thracian king Lycurgus. While Lycurgus was under the spell of Dionysus, whom he had offended, Lycurgus mistakenly thought he was pruning a grape vine with an ax rather than decapitating and dismembering the body of his son.

Implacable Sisters: The muses, the nine patron goddesses of poetry, arts, music, and science. From the context of the passage, this could also be a reference to the Fates or the Furies—see definition below.

Tale of Horror: King Phineas’ second wife blinded the children of his first wife with a weaving shuttle.

Ares: God of war.

Hephaistos: A blacksmith, god of fire and the forge.

furiesFuries: Gods that punished crimes against kin, often by driving the guilty party from place to place, sometimes by driving the person insane.


God of many names: This section of the text is an appeal to Dionysus, god of wine, who is the only immortal god with a mortal mother. Dionysus is the son of Zeus, the god of thunder and lighting, and Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, founder of the city of Thebes. Cadmus slew a dragon and planted its teeth in a field near the river Ismenos. For this reason, Cadmus is often referred to as the dragon king. Dionysus is also called Iacchos (or Bacchus in Roman mythology).

Regent of Eleusis: Eleusis was a field not far from Athens where religious rites celebrating Dionysus and Demeter took place.

Spring of Castalia: site of Dionysian purification rituals.

Maenads: female worshippers of Dionysus, sometimes depicted as Asian or of eastern origin.

Amphion’s citadel: Another name for Thebes.
Pallas’s Shrine: Another name for Athena, goddess of wisdom, and patron god of Athens.

url-1Hecate: Goddess of witchcraft and sorcery.

Pluto: Another name (the Roman name) for Hades, god of the underworld.

Megareus: Haimon’s brother. In some versions, Megareus dies in battle defending the city from the invasion of the Argive army led by Polyneices. In other versions, Megareus voluntarily sacrifices himself before the battle because Tieresias has prophesied that a voluntary sacrifice will save the city. In some versions, Haimon’s brother Menoeceus sacrifices himself. There is some dispute as to whether Megareus and Menoeceus are two different characters or the same character with two different names. If they were the same figure, Creon and Eurydice would have no more male offspring after the events of Antigone. Creon and his daughter Glauce are later poisoned and killed by Medea, which ends Creon’s immediate lineage.

Collected by the Fall 2011 Theatre Heritage I class

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