ETEOCLES, a mythical king of Thebes, son of CEdipus and Jocasta. lie and his brother Polynices were cursed by their father for shutting him up in a prison ; and in order to prevent the fulfilment of his prayer that they might engage in fratricidal combat for his throne, they resolved to reign alternately, each for a year. Eteocles as the cider ascended the throne first, but at the expiry of the year he refused to surrender the throne to Polynices. The latter therefore, with the aid of Adrastns, king of Argos, whose daughter he had married, headed the famous expedition of the Seven against Thebes. After a series of unavailing skirmishes between the rival forces, the two brothers met in single combat, and both were slain. The Theban rulers decreed that only Eteocles should receive the honour of burial, and that the body of Polynices should be cast out to the dogs and birds, but notwithstanding the decree, the burial rite was performed to Polynices by his sister Antigone. The fate of Eteocles and Polynices forms the subject of iEschyhis's tragedy, The Seven against Thebes, and of Euripides's Phiehissw.
ETH E LBERT, or /ET H E LBERH r3 ing of Kent, ascended the throne in 560. In 568 he was defeated by the West Saxons, and his authority limited to Kent, but ultimately lie conquered the Saxons of Middlesex and Essex, and about 590 he was acknowledged as over-lord as far north as the Humber. About 575 he married Bertha or Bertha, daughter of the Frankish king Charibert. The Franks had already been converted to Christianity, and when Pope Gregory the Great heard that a Frankish princess was married to the king of Kent, he seized the opportunity to send Augustine to attempt the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons. In 597 Augustine and his companions landed in the Isle of Thanet, and on learning of their arrival Ethelbert, prompted doubtless lay Bertha, at once invited them to an interview. Not being certain whether they might not use enchantments against him, he received them, for greater security, in the open air ; and after listening to a long sermon from Augustine, he was so far impressed, that although not prepared at once to forsake his old religion, he granted liberty to the monks to preach to his people. According to the accounts that have been handed down their success was almost unprecedented, and as many as 10,000 baptisms are said to have taken place in a single day. Very shortly afterwards Ethelbert gave in his adhesion to Christianity, and immediately all the inhabitants of Kent followed his example. lie gave up his palace for the monks to live in, and adjoining it he built a church, on the site of which was afterwards erected the cathedral of Canterbury. He died in 616, and was canonized, his day being the 24th February. The earliest code of Anglo-Saxon laws now extant was issued by Ethelbert in 600. With the exception of a provision for the protection of the property of God and the church, it consists chiefly of enactments against crimes - the various kinds of which, with the penalties attaching to commission of them, are stated in minute detail.