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date: 06 December 2022



  • A. Schachter


Tiresias, legendary seer whose ghost was consulted by *Odysseus (Od. 10. 490–5, 11. 90–9). He was the resident mantis (seer) of the Cadmeans of *Thebes (1), surviving from the time of *Cadmus (when he was, according to *Euripides, Bacchae, already old) to that of the *Epigoni, that is, seven full generations. He was a pivotal figure in the Theban plays of *Sophocles(1) and Euripides, and is presented by *Pindar as an outstanding interpreter of the will of *Zeus (Nem. 1. 60–1).A tradition which goes back at least to *Pherecydes (2) links Tiresias closely to the Theban legendary aristocracy, making him a descendant of Udaeus, one of the *Spartoi (FGrH 3 F 92). This same source tells how he was blinded because he caught sight of *Athena bathing: his mother Chariclo was a favourite of the goddess, and he was with her at the time. At her entreaty, Athena granted Tiresias the gift of prophecy (see divination, Greek) in compensation.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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