Oedipus Found Exposed on Mount Cithaeron. AM. 2712.

WAG 7678


This is part of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. Oedipus was the son of Laius and Jocasta, King and Queen of Thebes. Because of a prophecy that his son would kill him, Laius abandoned the child to die on Mount Cithaeron. A shepherd saved him and Oedipus was eventually brought to King Polybus and Queen Merope, who raised him as their own. Oedipus learned from the Delphic Oracle that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother and, not knowing he had been adopted by Polybus and Merope, fled his home and travelled to Thebes. On his journey Oedipus quarelled with and killed an elderly man. Arriving at Thebes, Oedipus learned that the king had recently been killed and that the city was in the thrall of the Sphinx. He visited the Sphinx and because he was able to answer the riddle presented to him, freed the city and won the throne and the queen. Many years later, in order to end a plague in Thebes, Oedipus searched out the killer of King Laius and discovered that he himself was responsible. Queen Jocasta realised she had married her own son and hanged herself. Oedipus blinded himself with two pins from her dress.