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The Progeny (Epigonoi) is an ancient Greek tragedy written by the Greek playwright Sophocles in the 5th century BC and based on Greek mythology.

According to myth, Polynices and six allies (the Seven Against Thebes) attacked Thebesmarker because Polynices' brother, Eteocles, refused to give up the throne as promised. All but one (Adrastus) of the seven would-be conquerors were killed. Their children swore vengeance and attacked Thebes. This was called the war of the Epigonoi ("the offspring, the next generation"); the story had been told, before Sophocles, in the lost epic Epigonoi. These Epigonoi defeated and killed (or drove out) Laodamas, son of Eteocles, and conquered Thebes, installing Thersander on the throne. All of the Epigonoi but Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus, or else Alcmaeon, son of Amphiaraus, survived this battle.

The play was lost for centuries, but in April 2005, classicists at Oxford Universitymarker, employing infrared technology previously used for satellite imaging, discovered fragments of it. The fragment translates to the following:

Speaker A: … gobbling the whole, sharpening the flashing iron.
Speaker B: And the helmets are shaking their purple-dyed crests, and for the wearers of breast-plates the weavers are striking up the wise shuttle's songs, that wakes up those who are asleep.
Speaker A: And he is gluing together the chariot's rail.


  1. A second renaissance?, The Independent on Sunday, 17 April 2005.
  2. David Keys and Nicholas Pyke, Decoded At Last: The 'Classical Holy Grail', The Independent, 19 April 2005.

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