DIRCE, in Greek legend, daughter of Helios the sun-god, the second wife of Lycus, king of Thebes. She sorely persecuted Antiope, his first wife, who escaped to Mount Cithaeron, where her twin sons Amphion and Zethus were being brought up by a herdsman who was ignorant of their parentage. Having recognized their mother, the sons avenged her by tying Dirce to the horns of a wild bull, which dragged her about till she died. Her body was cast into a spring near Thebes, which was ever afterwards called by her name. Her punishment is the subject of the famous group called "The Farnese Bull," by Apollonius and Tauriscus of Tralles, in the Naples museum (see Greek Art, Plate I. fig. 51).
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