There are several characters named Amphion (Greek: Ἀμφίων;
gen.: Ἀμφίονος) in Greek mythology:
Amphion, son of Zeus and Antiope, and twin brother of Zethus
(see Amphion and Zethus). Together they are famous for
building Thebes. Amphion married Niobe, and killed himself
after the loss of his wife and children (the Niobids) at the
hands of Apollo and Artemis. One of his surviving children was
the daughter now renamed as Chloris. However, other accounts
(including Homer, in the Odyssey) claim that Chloris was a
daughter of another Amphion, ruler of Minyan Orchomenus (see
Amphion, son of Iasus and Persephone (a mortal woman, not the
wife of Hades). This Amphion is an obscure character, said to
be a king of the Minyans of Orchomenus, in Boeotia.
Amphion, son of Hyperasius and Hypso, an Argonaut.
Amphion the Epean, who took part in the Trojan War. -
1. A son of Zeus and Antiope, the daughter of Nycteus of
Thebes, and twin-brother of Zethus. (Ov. Met. 6.110, &c.;
Apollod. 3.5.5.) When Antiope was with child by the father of
the gods, fear of her own father induced her to flee to
Epopeus at Sicyon, whom she married. Nycteus killed himself in
despair, but charged his brother Lycus to avenge him on
Epopeus and Antiope. Lycus accordingly marched againt Sicyon,
took the town, slew Epopeus, and carried Antiope with him to
Eleutherae in Boeotia. During her imprisonment there she gave
birth to two sons, Amphion and Zethus, who were exposed, but
found and brought up by shepherds. (Apollod. l.c.) According
to Hyginus (Hyg. Fab. 7), Antiope was the wife of Lycus, and
was seduced by Epopeus. Hereupon she was repudiated by her
husband, and it was not until after this event that she was
visited by Zeus. Dirce, the second wife of Lycus, was jealous
of Antiope, and had her put in chains; but Zeus helped her in
escaping to mount Cithaeron, where she gave birth to her two
sons. According to Apollodorus, she remained in captivity for
a long time after the birth of her sons, who grew up among the
shepherds, and did not know their descent. Hermes (according
to others, Apollo, or the Muses) gave Amphion a lyre, who
henceforth practised song and music, while his brother spent
his time in hunting and tending the flocks. (Hor. Ep. 1.18.
41, &c.) The two brothers, whom Euripides (Eur. Phoen. 609)
calls "the Dioscuri with white horses," fortified the town of
Entresis near Thespiae, and settled there. (Steph. Byz. s. v.)
Antiope, who had in the meantime been very ill-treated by
Lycus and Dirce, escaped from her prison, her chains having
miraculously been loosened; and her sons, on recognising their
mother, went to Thebes, killed Lycus, tied Dirce to a bull,
and had her dragged about till she too was killed, and then
threw her body into a well, which was from this time called
the well of Dirce. After having taken possession of Thebes,
the two brothers fortified the town by a wall, the reasons for
which are differently stated. It is said, that when Amphion
played his lyre, the stones not only moved of their own accord
to the place where they were wanted, but fitted themselves
together so as to form the wall. (Apollon. 1.740, 755, with
the Schol.; Syncell. p. 125d.; Horat. ad Pison. 394, &c.)
Amphion afterwards married Niobe, who bore him many sons and
daughters, all of whom were killed by Apollo. (Apollod. 3.5.6;
Gellius, 20.7; Hyg. Fab. 7, 8; Hom. Od. 11.260, &c.; Paus.
9.5.4; comp. NIOBE.) As regards the death of Amphion, Ovid
(Ov. Met. 6.271) relates, that he killed himself with a sword
from grief at the loss of his children. According to others,
he was killed by Apollo because he made an assault on the
Pythian temple of the god. (Hyg. Fab. 9.) Amphion was buried
together with his brother at Thebes (or, according to
Stephanus Byzantius, s. v. Τιθοραία, at Tithoraea), and the
Tithoraeans believed, that they could make their own fields
more fruitful by taking, at a certain time of the year, from
Amphion's grave a piece of earth, and putting it on the grave
of Antiope. For this reason the Thebans watched the grave of
Amphion at that particular season. (Paus. 9.17.3, &c.) In
Hades Amphion was punished for his conduct towards Leto.
(9.5.4.) The following passages may also be compared: Paus.
2.6.2, 6.20.8; Propert. 3.13. 29. The punishment inflicted by
Amphion and his brother upon Dirce is represented in one of
the finest works of art still extant--the celebrated Farnesian
bull, the work of Apollonius and Tauriscus, which was
discovered in 1546, and placed in the palace Farnese at Rome.
(Pliny, Plin. Nat. 36.4; Heyne, Antiquar. Aufsätze, ii. p.
182, &c.; comp. Müller, Orchom. p. 227, &c.) 2. A son of Jasus
and husband of Persephone, by whom he became the father of
Chloris. (Hom. Od. 11.281, &c.) In Homer, this Amphion, king
of Orchomenos, is distinct from Amphion, the husband of Niobe;
but in earlier traditions they seem to have been regarded as
the same person. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1684; Müller, Orchom.
pp. 231, 370.)
There are three other mythical personages of this name, one a
leader of the Epeians against Troy (Hom. Il. 13.692), the
second one of the Argonauts (Apollon. 1.176; Orph. Arg. 214;
Hvgin. Fab. 14), and the third one of the sons of Niobe.
[NIOBE.] - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and
mythology, William Smith, Ed.