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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Iokaste
I to Iolaos Iole to Ixion
Iokaste and her husband, Laius, the king of the city of Thebes, were warned by the oracle at Delphi that if they had a son, he would kill Laius and take his throne; when the son was born, Iokaste and Laius gave the infant to a shepherd with instructions to kill the child; the shepherd pierced the child’s ankles and intended to leave him in the wilderness to die; instead, the would-be killer gave the boy to another shepherd with the assumption that the boy would never be seen again and that Laius and Iokaste would never find out that he had disobeyed them.
Upon reaching manhood, Oedipus was told by the Delphic oracle that he would be the murderer of his father; Oedipus loved Polybos, who he assumed to be his natural father, and fled Korinth so that the prophecy could not be fulfilled; while traveling, Oedipus met a nobleman on the road and after suffering insults and blows, Oedipus killed the nobleman and all but one of his guards and proceeded to Thebes; he had no idea that the man he had just killed was his father, Laius.
Before he reached the city, Oedipus was stopped by the Sphinx which menaced and killed travelers on the road to Thebes; the Sphinx would ask riddles and if the travelers could not give the correct answers, she killed them; Oedipus was stopped and asked to answer a riddle; Oedipus answered the riddle correctly and the Sphinx killed herself.
When Oedipus reached Thebes he was welcomed as a hero and, since king Laius was now dead, Oedipus was made the king and allowed to unwittingly marry his mother, Iokaste.
Many years and four children later, she and Oedipus learned the truth of their unholy relationship; she hanged herself and Oedipus blinded himself and spent the rest of his life as a wanderer.
She is also referred to as Epikaste or Epicaste.
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