Paraleipomena to the Reconstruction of Aeschylus’ Laïos


In Logeion 6, 2016, 11–29, the author claimed that a number offrs. of P.Oxy. 2256 constitute the Hypothesis and the opening of Aeschylus’Laïos. The titular character is returning to Thebes as king, at the same timeintroducing the worship of two new deities. It is proposed, in the present art­icle, that the introduction of the two deities must have been advised to the king,prior to the opening of the play, through a divination of the Delphic oracle,which was situated on Laius’ way back from Peloponnesus and where Laiusmust have sought an oracle about the success of his kingship. The same oraclemust have advised him that, for keeping the city safe, he should stay childless.In the course of the play, the king makes the decision to marry Jocasta, sisterof Creon, while king and Chorus waver between observance or defiance of theoracle. A portent shows up, which is interpreted by Teiresias as indicating thebirth of Oedipus, his exposure, survival, and homecoming, and eventually themurder of Laius. Teiresias’ prophecy enkindles the denouement of the play,with the Chorus expressing anxiety about the fate of the royal genos but mainlyabout the city’s future.