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To shun unholy pride;
Great words of boasting bring great punishments,

And so to gray-haired age
Teach wisdom at the last.

§ 164 a. The Epigoni.? — Such was the fall of the house of Labdacus. The bane of Cadmus expires with the family of (Edipus. But the wedding gear of Harmonia has not yet fulfilled its baleful mission. Amphiaraus had, with his last breath, enjoined his son Alcmæon to avenge him on the faithless Eriphyle. Alcmæon engaged his word; but before accomplishing the fell purpose, he was ordered by an oracle of Delphi to conduct against Thebes a new expedition. Thereto his mother Eriphyle, influenced by Thersander, the son of Polynices, and bribed this time by the gift of Harmonia's wedding garment, impelled not only Alcmæon, but her other son, Amphilochus. The descendants (Epigoni) of the former Seven thus renewed the war against Thebes. They levelled the city to the ground. Its inhabitants, counselled by Tiresias, took refuge in foreign lands. Tiresias, himself, perished during the flight. Alcmæon, returning to Argos, put his mother to death, but in consequence repeated in his own experience the penalty of Orestes. The outfit of Harmonia preserved its malign influence until, at last, it was devoted to the temple at Delphi, and removed from the sphere of mortal jealousies.

1 Sophocles, Antigone, closing chorus. 2 Pausanias 9:9, $$ 2, 3; Herodotus 5:61; Apollodorus.

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CHAPTER XXIV.

HOUSES CONCERNED IN THE TROJAN WAR.

$ 165. Three Houses Concerned. — Before entering upon the causes of the war against Troy, we must notice the three Grecian families that were principally concerned, — those of Peleus, Atreus, and Tyndareus.

§ 165 a. Peleus? was the son of Æacus and grandson of Jove. It was for his father Æacus, king of Phthia in Thessaly, that, as we have seen, an army of Myrmidons was created by Jupiter. Peleus joined the expedition of the Argonauts; and on that journey beheld and fell in love with the sea-nymph Thetis, daughter of Nereus and Doris. Such was the beauty of the nymph that Jupiter himself had sought her in marriage ; but having learned from Prometheus, the Titan, that Thetis should bear a son who should be greater than his father, the Olympian desisted from his suit, and decreed that Thetis should be the wife of a mortal. By the aid of Chiron, the Centaur, Peleus succeeded in winning the goddess for his bride. In this marriage to be productive of momentous results for mortals, the immortals manifested a lively interest. They thronged with the Thessalians to the wedding in Pharsalia ; they honored the wedding feast with their presence, and reclining on ivory couches, gave ear while the three Sisters of Fate, in responsive strain, chanted the fortunes of Achilles, – the future hero of the Trojan War, — the son that should spring from this union of a goddess with a mortal. The following is from a translation of the famous poem, The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis :

1 Ovid, Metam. 11:221-265; Catullus, LXIV.; Hygin. Fab. 14; Apollon. Rhod., Argon, 1:558; Val. Flaccus, Argon.; Statius, Achilleid.

... Now, on the day foreset, Aurora forsaking the ocean 1
Crimsons the orient sky: all Thessaly, seeking the palace,
Fares to the royal seat, in populous muster exultant,
Heavy of hand with gifts, but blithesome of cheer for the joyance.
Scyros behind they leave, they leave Phthiotican Tempe,
Crannon's glittering domes and the battlements Larissæan,
Cumber Pharsalia, throng the abodes and the streets of Pharsalus.
Fields, meanwhile are untilled, grow tender the necks of the oxen,
None with the curving teeth of the harrow cleareth the vineyard,
None upturneth the glebe with bulls and the furrowing ploughshare,
None with gardener's knife lets light through the branches umbrageous;
Squalid the rust creeps up o'er ploughs forgotten of ploughmen.

Bright is the palace, ay, through far retreating recesses
Blazing for sheen benign of the opulent gold and the silver :
Ivory gleams on the thrones, great goblets glint on the tables,
Glitters the spacious home, made glad with imperial splendor,—
Ay, but most — in the hall midmost - is the couch of the goddess,
Glorious, made of the tusks of the Indian elephant - polished -
Spread with a wonder of quilt empurpled with dye of the sea-shell.

On this coverlet of purple were embroidered various scenes illustrating the lessons of heroism and justice that the poet would inculcate : to the good falleth good; to the evil, evil speedily. Therefore, the story of Theseus and Ariadne, which has already been recounted, was here displayed in cunning handiwork. For, Theseus, the false lover, bold of hand but bad of heart, gained by retributive justice undying ruth and misery ; whereas Ariadne, the injured and innocent, restored to happiness, won no less a reward than Bacchus himself. Gorgeously woven with such antique and heroic figures was the famous quilt upon the couch of Thetis. For a season the wedding guests feasted their eyes upon it :

Then when Thessaly's youth, long gazing, had of the wonder
Their content, they gan give place to the lords of Olympus.
As when Zephyr awakes the recumbent billows of ocean,

1 Catullus, LXIV. From The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis : translated into hexameters, by Charles Mills Gayley.

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