Antiope (daughter of Nykteus)

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Franz Anton Maulbertsch , Jupiter and Antiope (around 1780 )

Antiope ( Greek  Ἀντιόπη ) is in Greek mythology the beautiful daughter of the river god Asopos or the king Nykteus of Thebes and the Polyxo . With her Zeus fathered the twins Zethos and Amphion .

Antiope's charms not only had an effect on the father of the gods, but also on Epopeus , the king of Sicyon, who kidnapped and violated the young woman (according to another variant, Antiope knew that she was pregnant from Zeus and fled to Epopeus). In the war that Nykteus waged against Epopeus, both rulers were badly wounded and died shortly afterwards. Antiope gave birth to twins, who were seen as the fruit of the rape by Epopeus and were abandoned in the mountains. On his deathbed Nykteus appointed his brother Lykos to be his heir to the throne and guardian of his daughter, so that Antiope fell into the uncle's house and into the hands of the violent dirke , the wife of Lykos. Dirke tortured Antiope until Zeus intervened and freed the former lover. While fleeing into the mountains, Antiope came to her sons Zethus and Amphion without recognizing them. Only when the vengeful Dirke caught up with Antiope and asked the twins to tie Antiope to a bull and drag him to death did their foster father intervene and reveal their origins. The found mother was saved in this way, the aunt tied to the bull instead of her.


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