Antigone and Oedipus are two of the most famous family trees in history. Each has a long, colorful history that is rich in character. This article will examine how these two families developed their own set of rules for creating family trees. As you read this article you will discover some details about the development of their legends. You can use these details to create your own family trees.
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Antigone’s family tree begins with her birth and her mother’s death. The entire household was mourning the death of their daughter, Antigone. When Antigone’s brother, Polyneices, found out that his wife was actually his sister Antigone deciding to play with her memory by burying her own bones and burying Polyneices as well. As time went on the two women worked together to form the family tree.
The two women did not simply create a name for each daughter, they also put names to their children. Of course it is important to know who the first daughter was since she was the most famous. In Greek mythology, Antigone was the daughter of Zeus and Nike. She was born while her husband was away tending to his sheep. When her father returned, she murdered her brother, killed Nike’s lover, killed her lover’s son and returned to Mount Antigone where she was hailed as the new mistress of the gods.
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Antigone’s sister Polyneices was not far behind. Just as she killed her brother Polyneices, she killed her own children, which caused much grief in the household. Her family tree continued with her mother, a ruler, her children and so on until she came into her own. She fathered Antigone with Anchises and changed her name to Eurydice.
This shows how important family connections are to the ancient world. These were not just names on a list, but biological ties to people. If one daughter had a husband, that wife was entitled to a share of the inheritance and thus it was passed from father to daughter. This line of ancestry continued with Eurydice and her two daughters who married into another royal dynasty. Antigone’s daughter Orestes married Metis and became the mother of Bacchus and Orestes’ son Ascanius married Arebellis, the founder of the Lydian Dynasty.
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In the Greek system of family structure, the strongest male usually succeeded the weaker ones. Antigone’s two daughters, Orestes and Metis, out of fear of their father’s anger, decided to kill themselves rather than let Antigone suffer. This act transformed them into the most powerful characters in the story. Orestes’ suicide attempts ended in his being thrown from a horse and Metis’ murder being announced to the men of the city. The two daughters managed to escape and were very careful to make sure no men knew of their activities until Antigone herself made the news known.
The other daughters helped bury Antigone and her father and sister Agroclus, but not before Agroclus’ sister Polyneices offered her own daughter, Therane, as a concubine in order to placate Antigone for her grief. In the Greek city-state of Crete, Agroclus and Polyneices founded the city of Agrionitis. This family tree is one of the most complete in any language because of the carefully documented actions of all involved. The daughters married into other dynasties and fought against their former husbands for supremacy over their father’s family. This conflict resulted in the creation of the household of a king, Antigone.
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In modern times, antiseries, like the ones in ancient Egypt and Greece, have been written to illustrate the violent and bloody histories that occurred. But with the exception of Antigone’s family tree, which was probably composed hundreds of years after her death, the historical accounts of many families are written only years later, when the victors of conflicts are often forgotten. The story of Antigone and her rise to power is almost as interesting to modern historians as the reasons for her rise to power. The family trees will remain incomplete without the stories of the other members of Antigone’s household who played a part in her rise to power. The search for the family history of Antigone can be much easier if more members of her household were interviewed during archaeological digs.
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