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Tiresias

In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet.

As a young man, he found two snakes mating and hit them with a stick. He was then transformed into a woman. Seven years later, Tiresias did the same thing again and became a man once more. As a result of his experiences, Zeus and Hera asked him to settle the question of which sex, male or female, experienced more pleasure during intercourse. Zeus claimed it was women; Hera claimed it was men. When Tiresias sided with Zeus, Hera struck him blind. Since Zeus could not undo what she had done, he gave him the gift of prophecy.

An alternative story has it that Tiresias was blinded by Athena after he stumbled onto her bathing naked. His mother, Chariclo, begged her to undo her curse, but Athena couldn't; she gave him prophecy instead.

During the Seven Against Thebes, Megareus killed himself because Tiresias prophesied that a voluntary death from a Theban would save Thebes.

After the Seven Against Thebes battle, King Creon of Thebes refused to allow Polynices to be buried. His sister, Antigone, defied the order and was caught; Creon decreed that she was to be buried alive. The gods expressed their disapproval of Creon's decision through Tiresias. However, Antigone had already hanged herself rather than be buried alive. When Creon arrived at the tomb where she was to be interred, his son, Haemon, attacked him and then killed himself. When Creon's wife, Eurydice, was informed of their death she, too, takes her own life.

Tiresias died after drinking the water from the spring Tilphussa[?].

After Tiresias died, he was visited in the underworld by Odysseus, to whom he gave valuable advice concerning the rest of his voyage, specifically concerning the cattle of Apollo, which Odysseus' men do not follow.

See also Epigonoi



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