ADRASTUS, in Greek legend, was the son of Talaus, king of Argos, and Lysianassa, daughter of Polybus, king of Sicyon. Having been driven from Argos by Amphiaraus, Adrastus fled to Sicyon, where he became king on the death of Polybus. After a time he became reconciled to Amphiaraus, gave him his sister Eriphyle in marriage, and returned to Argos and occupied the throne. In consequence of an oracle which had commanded him to marry his daughters to a lion and a boar, he wedded them to Polyneices and Tydeus, two fugitives, clad in the skins of these animals or carrying shields with their figures on them, who claimed his hospitality. He was the instigator of the famous war against Thebes for the restoration of his son-in-law Polyneices, who had been deprived of his rights by his brother Eteocles. Adrastus, followed by Polyneices and Tydeus, his two sons-in-law, Amphiaraus, his brother-in-law, Capaneus, Hippomedon and Parthenopaeus, marched against the city of Thebes, and on his way is said to have founded the Nemean games. This is the expedition of the “Seven against Thebes,” which the poets have made nearly as famous as the siege of Troy. As Amphiaraus had foretold, they all lost their lives in this war except Adrastus, who was saved by the speed of his horse Arion (Iliad, xxiii. 346). Ten years later, at the instigation of Adrastus, the war was renewed by the sons of the chiefs who had fallen. This expedition was called the war of the “Epigoni” or descendants, and ended in the taking and destruction of Thebes. None of the followers of Adrastus perished except his son Aegialeus, and this affected him so greatly that he died of grief at Megara, as he was leading back his victorious army.
Apollodorus iii. 6, 7; Aeschylus, Septem contra Thebes; Euripides, Phoenissae, Supplices; Statius, Thebais; Herodotus v. 67.
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