A beautiful young girl, Europa, is kidnapped by Zeus.
Europa's brothers, including Cadmos, are sent to find her. They fail.
In the process of looking for Europa, the brothers all found cities.
Cadmos is told to follow a cow and to found his city where the cow stops to rest.
After the cow does stop to rest, Cadmos sends his men to get water.
The men are killed by a dragon.
Cadmos kills the dragon, but now he's got no men to help him in founding a city.
Athena tells Cadmus to sow the dragons' teeth in the earth. He does, and armed men spring up out of the ground.
The men--called "spartoi" (meaning "sown")--begin fighting one another.
Only five of the spartoi survive to help found the city, Thebes.
Cadmus has a son, Polydoros, who has a son, Labdacos, who has a son, Laius.
Laius was the son of king Labdacus of Thebes. He had been only a boy when his father died, and reigned through a regent. Laius chose Jocasta to be his wife, but when the marriage proved childless he sought the advice of the Delphic Oracle. Pythia recommended that he resign himself to his state, since otherwise any child he might bring into the world would kill him and cause great sorrow to all his house. Laius thus gave up all hope of having a successor-but not so Jocasta. One evening she made her husband drunk, lay with him and got herself with child. When the boy was born Laius was overcome with terror when he remembered the oracle. So he bound the baby's legs with chains and gave it to a shepherd to expose on the slopes of Mt. Cithaeron, in the sacred grove of the goddess Hera, so that it
might die as soon as possible.
The fate of this boy, called Oedipus, because of his swollen feet, had already been determined and was to be quite different. The shepherd commanded to expose the babe took pity on it, and at the last moment entrusted it to some servants of king Polybus of Corinth who happened to be passing. The servants presented the child to the king, whose wife Merope suggested that since they had no children of their own they should adopt it. And so Oedipus grew up in Corinth, believing Polybus and Merope to be his parents.
One day, during a feast, a drunken youth taunted Oedipus with not being the legitimate son of the king. Since no one in the palace would tell him what the truth of the matter was, Oedipus, too, made his way to Delphi. The oracle Pythia gave him was a terrible one: he was destined to kill his father, lie with his mother and be the founding father of a terrible house. Bitter and angry, Oedipus left his home and wandered in the surrounding country-side, determined to do everything he could to prevent the prophecy from coming true.
One day, however, as he approached a place where three roads crossed in Phocis - the spot called Schiste - he met a chariot bearing Laius. The Theban king was on his way to Delphi in order to ask what had happened to his son, for he had a bad dream and was seriously worried. Without recognizing each other, the two travelers got into argument about which of them had right of way, and the argument led to a fight in which Oedipus slew his father, thus fulfilling that part of the prophecy.
The death of Laius was not the only disaster to strike Thebes at that time. The Sphinx, a monster with the body of a lion, wings and a female head had settled near the city on a pass that led across Mt Phicium, and was spreading death and destruction among the local people. It was the practice of the Sphinx to ask passers-by a riddle: "What is that which at dawn walks on four legs, at midday with two and in the evening with three?", putting to death all those who failed to find the right answer. For a long time no one had succeeded in answering correctly, and so Jocasta's brother Creon, who was ruling provisionally in Thebes, put up the throne of the city and his sister's hand in marriage to anyone who could solve the riddle and drive away the Sphinx. Oedipus, who happened to be famous for his wisdom, decided to take part in the contest and face the Sphinx.
As soon as the monster, sure that Oedipus too, would fail, had put her question, Oedipus replied confidently, "Why, man: when he is born he crawls on all four feet, then he stands on his own two feet, and at the end of his life he has a stick like a third leg". This was the first time anyone had found the right answer and Sphinx, mortally disappointed, flung herself off the rock where she sat and was killed. Oedipus was crowned king of Thebes and married Jocasta, without suspecting, needless to say, that she was his own mother. The children of their union were Antigone, Ismene, Polynices and Eteocles.
Some time later, a terrible pestilence struck Thebes and Oedipus, deeply concerned, sent to the oracle of Apollo. The god told the Thebans to find the murderer of Laius and exile him, for otherwise they would not be free of the epidemic. Oedipus personally undertook responsibility for the investigation, but no one in the city could say how Laius had met his end. Eventually, Oedipus called in the soothsayer Tiresias; he was unwilling to speak to begin with, but ultimately revealed that it had been Oedipus who took Laius' life. This was confirmed by what Jocasta could tell about the killing at the Schiste crossroads. Oedipus, crushed by the revelation, was willing to leave the town in order to save its inhabitants, but he did not wish to return to Corinth and run the risk of killing his father Polybus and marrying his mother Merope, as he believed the oracle had forecast.
But his destiny was far beyond his control now. A messenger sent to Thebes to announce the death of Polybus confided to Oedipus that the Corinthian king had not been his real father. He himself, he told Oedipus, had found him with bound feet in the arms of a shepherd on Mt Cithaeron and had taken him to Corinth. The tragic revelation struck the unfortunate monarch like a thunderbolt, yet he could hardly have imagined that much worse was to come. Now he sought out the shepherd on Cithaeron, to discover whose child he truly was. As soon as the shepherd revealed the truth, Jocasta, unable to shoulder the burden of the sin she had committed, hanged herself from the roof of the palace. Oedipus, gathering together the shattered fragments of his soul, drew the brooches out of his dead mother's (and wife's) dress and with them put out his own eyes, so that he might cease to see the terrible sins he had committed.
After saying farewell to his children, Oedipus prepared to leave Thebes, accompanied on his wanderings only by his daughter Antigone. No land would give him shelter, for now the gods had set their curse upon him. In the end, he came as a suppliant to the sanctuary of the Furies in Attica, and Theseus, taking pity on his sufferings, persuaded the Athenians to let him stay in their city. In the meantime, back in Thebes Polynices and Eteocles were in open confrontation with each other over the question of succession to the throne, causing Creon to seek out Oedipus and try - by imploring him, but also more forcefully - to make him return home. But Oedipus refused to countenance any talk of going back to Thebes, and pronounced heavy curses on his sons for failing to honor him as was their duty.
Exhausted and in despair, Oedipus felt his end was nigh. He called Theseus to him and announced that he himself would choose the spot of his death, somewhere in the Colonus area. Only Theseus would know where he was buried and no other Athenian must ever find the place, so as to make absolutely sure that the curse died with Oedipus. However, shortly before his own death Oedipus was to reveal the secret to his eldest son and it would then pass from generation to generation, with only one Athenian knowing it at any time. In the end, he said farewell to Antigone and Ismene (who had arrived shortly before, as an emissary from Creon) approached the place he had selected and gave up the ghost. A chasm in the earth suddenly opened up, and the tragic hero vanished into it.
Oedipus and Jocasta's twin sons, Eteocles and Polynices, go to war against each other. The twins kill each other.
Eteocles, loyal to Oedipus's successor, is given a proper burial. Polynices is not.
The sister of the twins, Antigone, buries Polynices herself.
Antigone is sentenced to die, but she hangs herself first.