Laius was, in Oedipus Rex(Also known as Oedipus the King) the king of Thebes. He and his wife Jocasta consulted the Oracle of Delphi. The Oracle provided a horrible prophecy that their child would grow to kill his father and marry his mother.

In reaction to this, Laius ordered the baby left for dead in the high pastures. A neighboring king found the babe and raised him as his own child.

Many years later, Laius became involved in a dispute on a road far from Thebes. The young man opposing him inadvertently killed the older king. That young man was Oedipus, who went on to become the king of Thebes by solving the Riddle of the Sphinx.


The son of Labdacus, the king of Thebes, and the great-grandson of Cadmus and the father of Oedipus (Table 3 and Table 29). Labdacus died while Laius was still young and Lycus, the brother of Nycteus, became regent, but Lycus was killed by Zethus and AMPHION to avenge their mother ANTIOPE; then they seized the kingdom of Thebes. Laius fled and took refuge with Pelops. There he developed a passion for young Chrysippe, a son of Pelops, so introducing, at least according to some writers, the practice of 'unnatural love'. He abducted the young man and was cursed by Pelops.

When Amphion and Zethus disappeared in their turn - Amphion after the disaster of the Niobides, Zethus from sorrow at the death of his son - Laius was recalled as king by the Thebans. Laius married the daughter of Menoeceus, Jocasta (or Epicaste) or EURYCLEIA, the daughter of Ecphas, the future mother of OEDIPUS. In this second version, Jocasta was Laius' second wife, so Oedipus only married his mother-in-law and not his real mother. Other names were given to Oedipus' mother and Laius' wife such as EURYGANIA, a daughter of Hyperphas, Euryanassa, also a daughter of Hyperphas, and finally ASTYMEDUSA, daughter of Sthenelus (see also EPICASTE).

See Oedipus for the circumstances of his conception and birth. Laius could not escape what the oracle had predicted, namely that he would be killed by his son. He was killed by Oedipus not far from Delphi, at the crossing of the roads to Daulis and Thebes.


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