There was the succession of kings, Polydoros, Labdakos and Laios, whom Lykos dethroned. The brother of Lykos, Nykteus, had a daughter, Antiope ,who was famous for her beauty among the Greeks.
Epopeus, king of Sikyon, abducted Antiope and her father Nykteus raised an army and invaded Sikyon. During the battle, which was won by the Sikyonians, Epopeus and Nykteus were wounded, Nykteus was carried to Thebes where he died.
Before his death, he appointed as regent of Thebes his brother Lykos and made him promise to raise an even larger army and take vengeance and punish his daughter, in case that she was taken.
Lykos invaded Sikyon, defeated and killed Epopeus and took back Antiope, but in their way to Thebes, in a cave near the city Eleutherae, she bore the twin sons, Amphion and Zethos, which she abandoned there. A shepherd, found the children and brought them up as herdsmen, knowing nothing about their noble birth.
When Antiope returned to Thebes, she found life unbearable from the persecutions of Lykos and his cruel wife, Dirke. She escaped and found refuge at the place where her sons were living, which by now had grown to manhood. Dirke tried to bring her back, but Amphion and Zethos in the mean time recognized Antiope as their mother and took revenge, for her sufferings.
Lykos was slain and Dirke drugged to death, tied up to the horns of a bull. The two brothers returned to Thebes, banished Laios and took the throne.
Making use of their lyre, which had been taught from the god Hermes, they started building the walls of Thebes, the stones moving by themselves, obeying the rhythm of their song.