Seven against Thebes, in Greek legend, seven heroes—Polynices, Adrastus, Amphiaraüs, Hippomedon, Capaneus, Tydeus, and Parthenopaeus—who made war on Eteocles, king of Thebes. After the banishment of Oedipus, his sons, Eteocles and Polynices, agreed to reign alternately. When after the first year Eteocles refused to relinquish the throne, Polynices, assisted by Adrastus, king of Argos, organized the expedition known as the Seven against Thebes. All were killed except Adrastus. When Creon, Eteocles' uncle and successor to the throne of Thebes, would not permit the burial of the slain, Theseus marched against Thebes and gave them burial. Euripides' Phoenician Women and Aeschylus' Seven against Thebes are based on this legend.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.