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Title: Stheneboea  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Euripides, Proetus, Iphianassa, Philonoe, Cretheus, Astydameia, Locrus, Lysippe
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


In Greek mythology Stheneboea or Stheneboia (Greek: Σθενέβοια; the "strong cow" or "strong through cattle") was the daughter of Iobates, king in Lycia,[1] and consort of Proetus, joint-king in the Argolid with Acrisius, having his seat at Tiryns; she took a fancy to Bellerophon but was repulsed. As in the Biblical account of Potiphar's wife, she testified falsely against Bellerophon, accusing him of advances and even attempted rape to her husband, who sent him on a deadly mission to Iobates. Bellerophon later returned to Tiryns and punished Stheneboea.

Her three daughters were afflicted with madness, whether by Hera or by Dionysus, and ranged the mountains as maenads, assaulting travellers.

Stheneboea and Potiphar's wife

An alternative name for the consort of Proetus is Antea or Anteia. Robert Graves observes that Anteia's attempted seduction of Bellerophon has several Greek parallels and draws attention to Biadice's love for Phrixus, which "recalls Potiphar's wife's love for Joseph, a companion myth from Canaan"[2] as well as Cretheis and Peleus, Phaedra and Hippolytus or Philonome and Tenes. Graves also notes the parallel in the Egyptian Tale of the Two Brothers,[3] from about the end of the second millennium.[4] "Such poisonous triangular relationships," Jeffrey A White has observed in this context,[5] "with negligible variations of detail and conclusion (the common ingredients being a failed seductress, an innocent youth and a deceived father-figure), can be multiplied easily from Greek myth,[6] as from Hebrew. That the Bellerophon-Proetus-Anteia relationship recalls quite vividly the Joseph-Potiphar-Potiphar's wife episode in Gen. 39, is well known."

Stheneboea, "cattle queen"

Stheneboea is one of a number of female figures named for their role as "cattle queens"; they include Phereboia ("bringing in cattle"), and Polyboia ("worth much cattle").[7] In archaic Greece cattle were a source of wealth[8] and a demonstration of social pre-eminence; they also signified the numinous presence of Hera. Cattle-queens, betokening the command of a large bride-price, are as familiar in Gaelic mythology as they are in Greek myth.



Euripides' tragedies Stheneboia and Bellerophon are both lost.

External links

  • Theoi Project - Bellerophontes
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