In some versions of the Greek Oedipus myth, the source of Laius' curse—that his son will kill him and sleep with his wife—comes from an earlier sin. The stories vary in detail, but the main plot goes thus:

Laius was the son of Labdacus, the king of Thebes. Labdacus passed away while Laius was still young, and regency was given to the evil Lycus. Lycus was soon overthrown, however, by the twins Amphion and Zethus. To save his life, Laius was sent to Pelops, the ruler of Pisa, a kingdom near Olympia. Laius was welcomed there, but as he grew up he was consumed with lust for Chrysippus (Chrysippe), the illegitimate son of King Pelops. Because of this, some say that Laius invented homosexual pederasty, or homosexuality itself.

When Amphion and Zethus died, Laius was free to return to Thebes as its rightful ruler. He kidnapped Chrysippus and took him back to Thebes, where he raped him and made him his unwilling lover. The stories vary here—Chyrsippus either died as a result of the brutal rape, killed himself in shame, was killed by Laius, or was rescued by his father.

Later, when he was married to Jocasta, Laius found that the couple could not have children. He consulted the Oracle at Delphi, and was told his curse, the punishment for his sin: his son would kill him and have children by his mother. He vowed never to have children. Drunk one night and lusting for Chrysippus, he impregnated Jocasta. Their son was the famous Oedipus.

Chrysippus was also the name of an influential Stoic philosopher. But I don't know a thing about him.

liveforever says re chrysippus: Hmm. No, the curse on the royal family of Thebes goes even further back than that. It plagued the family since their ancestor Cadmus incurred it, by slaying Ares' pet dragon (to found Thebes).

I will do some more research. Some of what I read mentioned that the curse was the result of the rape, but this may be false, or the accounts simply may vary.

Chrysippus is one of the most obscure philosophers that appears regularly in textbooks on the subject. How can this be, you ask? When, in 47 BC, the legions of Julius Caesar burnt the library at Alexandria, they destroyed the main body of his work. With this taking place approximately 160 years after his death, he has had little opportunity to explain himself to history. Evidence of his thinking still exists, but in the works of his contemporaries, and therefore we lack a comprehensive picture of his philosophy. What then do we know about him?

  • He was born circa 280 BC, and died circa 208 BC.
  • He was widely admired for his skill at logic.
  • He appears to have been the first thinker to establish truth-conditions for conditional statements. Put simply, he used the formulation "If... Then...", for example: "If I drop this glass to the ground, then it will shatter".
  • He was the third most prominent figure in the Stoic school of thinking, after Zeno and Cleanthes.
  • He believed in a recurring universe. The entirety of existence begins, plays out and then ends, and repeats doing so indefinitely He therefore predated some very interesting science by a couple of thousand years.
  • As a good stoic, he promoted the value of wisdom, rationality and virtue as the ingredients of a happy life.

He was, it would seem, a very clever man. It is a shame that due to some careless Roman arson, I am unable to conclude by quoting him.

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