Son of the mythical King Laios of Thebes (in central Greece), but brought up by a shepherd and ignorant of his true identity. He inadvertently killed his father and married his mother Jocasta. On discovering what he had done, he blinded himself in a frenzy of grief and left Thebes. He went to Athens where he was succoured by his daughters. As a newcomer to Thebes he confronted the Sphinx and solved her riddle, thus freeing the city from a monster that was consuming her young men.
Above: Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay cup, about 470 BC. Rome, Musei Vaticani 569. © Musei Vaticani Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 174