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Anno Urbis - The Roman Empire Online

Bulfinch's Age of Fable

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AMPHION

Amphion was the son of Jupiter and Antiope, queen of Thebes. Withhis twin brother Zethus he was exposed at birth on MountCithaeron, where they grew up among the shepherds, not knowingtheir parentage. Mercury gave Amphion a lyre and taught him toplay upon it, and his brother occupied himself in hunting andtending the flocks. Meanwhile Antiope, their mother, who had beentreated with great cruelty by Lycus, the usurping king of Thebes,and by Dirce, his wife, found means to inform her children oftheir rights and to summon them to her assistance. With a band oftheir fellow-herdsmen they attacked and slew Lycus, and tyingDirce by the hair of her head to a bull, let him drag her till shewas dead. Amphion, having become king of Thebes, fortified thecity with a wall. It is said that when he played on his lyre thestones moved of their own accord and took their places in thewall.

See Tennyson's poem of "Amphion" for an amusing use made of thisstory.


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