65. Laius and Chrysippus

Once upon a time, Pelops, the son of Tantalus, married Hippodameia, the daughter of Oenomaus, by winning a chariot race in a fraudulent way and thus, his entire house was cursed by the slain Myrtilus, his partner in the fraud.

Hephaestus purified Pelops for murdering Myrtilus, the son of Hermes. To avoid the anger of Hermes, Pelops built a temple of Hermes. Then, Pelops took possession of Pisa, Olympia, Apia, and Pelasgiotis. After his own name, he named his kingdom as Peloponnesus. Pelops and Hippodameia lived happily, and were blessed with several children. Pelops also consorted with the nymph Danais, who bore him a bastard son named Chrysippus.

Chrysippus was a fair-looking boy. Laius, the king of Thebes, was in exile and lived at Peloponnesus. Laius fell in love with Chrysippus and abducted Chrysippus, while teaching Chrysippus how to ride a chariot during the Nemean Games. Atreus and Thyestes, the legitimate sons of Pelops, gave chase and captured Laius, who appealed for forgiveness to Pelops. Refusing to punish love, Pelops accepted the mercy plea of Laius and forgave him. But Hippodameia, arguing that Chrysippus may later contest for kingship, asked her sons, to slay Chrysippus. However, both Atreus and Thyestes refused to kill their half-brother.

Therefore, at night, when Laius and Chrysippus were asleep, Hippodameia quietly entered their chamber. She took the sword of Laius and plunged it deep in the body of the sleeping Chrysippus. Hippodameia swiftly fled but the fatally wounded Chrysippus had seen the murderess. Since the sword of Laius was fixed on the body of Chrysippus, Laius was charged with murder. But before breathing out his last breath, the dying Chyrsippus told the truth. To avoid banishment, Hippodameia committed suicide.

Meanwhile, King Amphion of Thebes had killed himself and hence, the exile of Laius terminated. The Thebans restored Laius as the king of Thebes.

Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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