Amphion and Zethus

Amphion and Zethus In Greek mythology, the Boeotian Dioscuri, twin sons of Antiope by Zeus. A variant account says Zethus was the son of Epopeus. The two infants were exposed to die on Mount Cithaeron and were rescued and reared by a shepherd. When they grew up, they found their mother, who had fled from imprisonment at Thebes, where she had been mistreated by Dirce, the wife of Lycus, who governed Thebes as guardian to Laius. They avenged their mother by tying Dirce to the horns of a bull that dragged her to her death. They then threw Dirce’s corpse into a spring near Thebes, which was later renamed after her. They killed Lycus and assumed his throne, or according to a variant account, it was given to them by Lycus when the god Hermes told him to abdicate. They fortified Thebes with walls and towers. Zethus brought up the stones, while Amphion, a harper, fit them together by the music of his lyre. Zethus married Thebe, the daughter of Asopus or, according to a variant account, Aëdon, daughter of Pandareos. Amphion married Niobe. After the destruction of his family by Apollo and Artemis as punishment for a boast by Niobe, Amphion killed himself. In a variant myth, Amphion was killed by Apollo for attacking Apollo’s priests in revenge for the god’s murder of his children. Both brothers were said to be buried in one grave.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante