Why is there incest in Greek Myths?

Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, was first performed in 429 bce.

Incest is mentioned in the myths of many cultures, including Christian, and not usually negatively.

Below is an interesting Wikipedia article on the topic of "incest In the Bible"

Incest in the Bible - Wikipedia .

A sensible taboo in times when a great many societies were agrarian, and people lived in either extended family groups, or perhaps small villages not big enough for sustainable breeding within. In huge urban societies the taboo is arguably a lot less important.

Cases of incestuous breeding occasionally become public. The only one I can think of is Josef Fritz, the Austrian monster who imprisoned his daughter for 24 YEARS and had a slew of children with her. I haven't heard that there are genetic issues with any of the children.

Fritzl case - Wikipedia


Problems with Egyptian royalty arose because incest was practised over generations. I also read somewhere that incest in ancient Egypt was not restricted to the Egyptian royal family.

"Surviving census parchments from the Egyptian deserts – particularly those relating to Arsinoe – demonstrate that in urban settings between a fifth and a third of married couples were married siblings or half-siblings" This is the best I can find at present. The article also mentions the Hawaiian and Thai royal families in this context.,. I'm making any claims, simply presenting what I think is interesting information. However, it sounds right to me.


Incest in Ancient Egypt - Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,380
Sydney
with most people living in small family groups , incest is probably quite common down the ages
the strong prohibition exist because it is so common
My paternal grand mother came from a village where all the people are cousins ,
foreigners are defined as anyone from more than twenty miles away
life was hard , non functional children ended up dead
Same as for the race horse thoroughbred , if they don't conform they end as cat food
 
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Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,099
This reached pure horror within the Spanish royal family
the Hapsburg were master at dynastic consolidation by inter family matrimony
the last was Charles II , the list of his deformities read like a medical encyclopedia and gave him the cognomen "the bewitched "
"short, lame, epileptic, senile and completely bald before 35, always on the verge of death but repeatedly baffling Christendom by continuing to live."
he had the Hapsburg jaw to such an extend that his lower jaw grossly overreached , making him unable to chew and constantly salivating
Yet his sister, Margaret Theresa, was known for her attractive appearance and lively character! She married at the age of 15, and had at least six pregnancies in six and a half years, and died of bronchitis at the age of 21. She married her uncle Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, who was also her cousin, so her children were even more inbred than Charles II.
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,099
Oedipus' incest with Jocasta was part of a curse. He unwittingly had children with his mother, and when they both found out, Jocasta committed suicide, and Oedipus self mutilated. Incest was not an acceptable practice for human's to engage in, whatever the gods got up to.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
It is said the Queen Victoria introduced haemophiliia to European royal families. To what extent, if any, was that due to inbreeding?

Slightly off topic; I've read that there is some question of Victoria's parentage. From whence did the haemophilia come?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,635
Las Vegas, NV USA
It is said the Queen Victoria introduced haemophiliia to European royal families. To what extent, if any, was that due to inbreeding?

Slightly off topic; I've read that there is some question of Victoria's parentage. From whence did the haemophilia come?
I mentioned this in an earlier post regarding marriage between first cousins. There is no evidence of hemophilia in Victoria's mother's line or in Sir John Conroy's line (who some claim without evidence was Victoria's true father). The consensus seems to be that there was a spontaneous mutation in her father, the Duke of Kent and 4th son of George III. He was over 50 when Victoria was conceived and such mutations are more common in older men. He had no other legitimate children and it's not known if or how many illegitimate children he may have had. He was a military man who spent much of his adult life in Canada.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
I hadn't heard of spontaneous mutations, but it's a neat explanation. I've read a a related explanation for producing Down syndrome children. Argument is something like this: females are born with all ovum. Sperm is continuously replicated, and so may change over time. That means that a women marrying an older male is at more risk of producing a Down syndrome child. I have no idea if this claim is correct, except it explains something in my own family. An aunt in her early 30's married a man in his mid 40's. They had two children. The first was fine, the second had severe Down syndrome. Both children were born before the mother reached 40.


I'm aware of the practice of marrying first cousins within royalty and the aristocracy as a fairly common practice. Continued over a long period ,I think abnormalities would naturally become more common than from the odd case.

The other night I came across an interesting titbit. On Youtube, so suspect. The claim was to do with Cleopatra V11, last of the Ptolemies. That claim is that the Ptolemies practiced incest to keep the blood line pure for the full period of the dynasty, around 200 years. Intuitively, I would think that the brilliant Cleopatra might have ben an exception rather than typical.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
Up to 1/3 according to this:

Hemophilia A
Wow, just had a look at that article, fascinating. Thanks

I've known two haemophiliacs in my life, in the early 1960's. Both had difficult lives, due to the drama whenever they had a bleed. (internal bruising was the most feared)


Spontaneous mutation perhaps explains how such a severe , life threatening condition has survived;. I would have thought that in previous centuries sufferers would all (?) have not have survived childhood..