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The punishment of Dirke. Wall painting from the house of the Vettier

Dirke ( Greek  Δίρκη , Latin Dirce ) is the wife of King Lycus , who is described in Greek mythology as very violent and torments her widowed niece Antiope .


After the death of her father Nykteus, Antiope was taken in by his brother Lykos. Nykteus died when he freed his beautiful daughter from the hands of the kidnapper Epopeus , who, however, had already violated the maiden. When she later gave birth to the twins Zethos and Amphion , the supposed fruit was exposed to desecration in the mountains - it was only later that it was recognized that Zeus was the father of the boys.

Antiope ended up in the household of Lycus and his wife Dirke. Dirke, gnawed by jealousy, locked the beautiful Antiope in a cellar, let her spin with bread and water and sleep chained on a stone. She also burned the curls of her niece with a red-hot iron and hit her face with her fist. Only Zeus redeemed Antiope by opening chains and gates. When Antiope then fled into the mountains, she suddenly fell into the care of her sons, who, however, neither recognized her, nor were she recognized. Only when the rushed Dirke asked the twins to tie the runaway to a bull and dragged to death, and that they were also ready to obey the queen, a shepherd and foster father of the twins, who came hurried up, revealed the family relationships and saved Antiope from Dirke . Instead, the two twins tied the angry aunt to the bull and brought her to death.


Web links

Commons : Dirce  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dirke's mosaic of punishment at istria-culture.com, accessed on May 27, 2018.
  2. Dirke, Mythologie bei books.google.de, accessed on May 27, 2018.