Tydeus (TIE-deuce, "thumper"), son of King Oeneus and Gorge (or Periboea), was one of the Seven Against Thebes, the warriors gathered by King Adrastus and Polynices to reclaim the throne of Thebes for the latter. It was prophesized that his brother Melanippus would kill him, so when Melanippus turned up dead after a hunting accident (or so Tydeus claimed), Tydeus was run out of Calydon. He turned up in Argos and married Deipyla, daughter of Adrastus. Adrastus promised to restore both Polynices and Tydeus to their thrones, but Thebes was closer than Calydon, and was first on the list.

Tydeus served as herald and rode to Thebes to demand their surrender. He fought fifty chieftains, either through ambush or through his challenge, and slew forty-nine. The fiftieth was a Theban warrior named (gasp!) Melanippus, who stabbed him in the belly, thus fulfilling the prophecy. Amphiaraus cut off the head of Melanippus and prodded him to eat the brains, perhaps to get back at Tydeus for helping to get him involved in this whole mess to begin with.

For some reason, Tydeus had the affection of Athena, who was fetching an elixir or salve to fix him right up. But Athena was naturally disgusted by Tydeus’ grim feast of revenge and dumped the elixir on the ground, so Tydeus died.

Tydeus’ son Diomedes was a major badass, one of the four greatest warriors who fought on the side of the Greeks in the Trojan War. With the help of Athena, he bested Ares in single combat.

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