The pediment of Talamone is composed of rare terracotta fragments of the reliefs of the pediment of an Etruscan temple of the 4th century BC, which was renovated around 150 BC, a period in which the reliefs of the pediment are dated, which was destroyed by a fire towards the 100 BC.
The splendid reliefs were found at the end of the nineteenth century on the hill of Talamonaccio, which borders the bay of Talamone to the east.
The Pediment has some peculiarities that make it unique in its kind. First of all, the fact that the sculptors took care to create the figures tilted forward, so that from the bottom you could have a better vision. The other not inconsiderable peculiarity is the richness of the characters and the complexity of the sculptural "tale".
The tragedy of Oedipus
In the Pediment of Talamone is represented a moment of the myth of the "Seven against Thebes".
This myth had been repeatedly treated in Greek dramaturgy, where Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides had represented the various developments of this great family tragedy. But it is above all in the "Phoenician" of Euripides that the scene represented in the frontal relief of Talamone can be recognized, which stops the moment of the fatal fulfillment of the curse of Oedipus.
These, after killing, without realizing his father, his father Laius and having solved the enigma of the Sphinx, he gets the hand of the Queen of Thebes, unaware of marrying his mother Jocasta; from these marriages the brothers Eteocle and Polinice and the sisters Antigone and Ismene are born. Having come to know what he had done, Oedipus, upset by the enormity of his crimes, takes his sight off and retires to live in the palace, cursing the children who abuse him and predicting their struggles and blood to obtain supremacy and power over the city of Thebes.
The myth of the seven against Thebes
The sons of Oedipus - Eteocles and Polynices - to avoid the fatal paternal prophecy, try to agree peacefully, deciding to reign each in alternate years; while Eteocle begins to manage power in the city, Polinice retires to Argo, where he marries the daughter of King Adrastus. But after the first year of his reign, Eteocle refuses to cede the throne to his brother, who, with the help of his father-in-law Adrasto and five other heroes - Tideo, Capaneo, Anfiarao, Ippomedonte and Partenopeo - decides to arm himself against Thebes.
The city of Thebes had seven gates:
- Porta di Preto
- Porta Elettra
- New door
- Porta Atena Onca
- North door
- Porta Omoloide
- Seventh Door
Eteocles placed seven valiant champions in defense of the seven gates, while Adrasto arranged to attack seven heads of equal skill.
Adrasto organized the attack on the city and arranged for the Seven against Thebes to lay siege to one of the seven gates.
This is the moment of the tragedy represented in the Frontone of Talamone
Oedipus, now blind, on his knees and with his arms hopelessly raised towards the sky, appears in the center of the composition, between the two sons already dying, one by the hand of the other. On the left a woman - Antigone or rather Jocasta - turns to Eteocle, while Polinice collapses in the arms of a companion. The curse that weighs on Oedipus and his family comes true tragically, while the other heroes also see their destiny fulfilled: above, between two warriors, Capaneo is about to fall from the ladder with which he tries to attack the city walls ; on the left, Adrasto, flanked by a winged female figure, quickly moves away with his cart from the battlefield; on the right, Anfiarao, standing and with his head turned backwards, is dragged with his chariot into the infernal abysses, by three winged female divinities and by a demon emerging halfway from the bowels of the earth.
At the center of the Talamone pediment is a blind and kneeling Oedipus, with its two dying sons, Eteocles and Polynices; on the left is Adrasto who flees on a chariot, while on the right is Anfiarao who sinks into the Underworld with his chariot.