“οὗτοι μὲν δὴ Ὑπατοδώρου καὶ Ἀριστογείτονός εἰσινἔργα, καὶ ἐποίησαν σφᾶς, ὡς αὐτοὶ Ἀργεῖοι λέγουσιν, ἀπὸ τῆς νίκης ἥντινα ἐν Οἰνόῃ τῇ Ἀργείᾳ αὐτοί τε καὶἈθηναίων ἐπίκουροι Λακεδαιμονίους ἐνίκησαν. ἀπὸ δὲτοῦ αὐτοῦ ἐμοὶ δοκεῖν ἔργου καὶ τοὺς Ἐπιγόνους ὑπὸἙλλήνων καλουμένους ἀνέθεσαν οἱ Ἀργεῖοι: κεῖνταιγὰρ δὴ εἰκόνες καὶ τούτων, Σθένελος καὶ Ἀλκμαίων, κατὰ ἡλικίαν ἐμοὶ δοκεῖν πρὸ Ἀμφιλόχου τετιμημένος, ἐπὶ δὲ αὐτοῖς Πρόμαχος καὶ Θέρσανδρος καὶ Αἰγιαλεύςτε καὶ Διομήδης: ἐν μέσῳ δὲ Διομήδους καὶ τοῦΑἰγιαλέως ἐστὶν Εὐρύαλος.” 10.10.4
“These are works of Hypatodorus and Aristogeiton, who made them, as the Argives themselves say, from the spoils of the victory which they and their Athenian allies won over the Lacedaemonians at Oenoe in Argive territory. From spoils of the same action, it seems to me, the Argives set up statues of those whom the Greeks call the Epigoni. For there stand statues of these also, Sthenelus, Alcmaeon, who I think was honored before Amphilochus on account of his age, Promachus also, Thersander, Aegialeus and Diomedes. Between Diomedes and Aegialeus is Euryalus.”
These are the sons of the Seven Against Thebes discussed previously. They succeeded in conquering Thebes whereas their fathers did not. Sthenelus was the son of the hubristic Capaneus, Alcmaeon and his brother Amphilochus were sons of Amphiaraus; when they discovered their mother had knowingly forced their father to participate in the doomed expedition of the Seven Against Thebes, the advice from the Oracle was for them to kill her. (Same advice Apollo gave Orestes a generation later with the same pleasant consequences.) Diomedes, son of Tydeus. And so on. Most of these went on to battle beneath the walls of Troy in the Iliad.
If we are wondering why the Argives and Athenians erected these statues of the Epigoni in honor of the victory over Sparta, the answer might be found in the Iliad.
There is a tradition in many cultures that in the good old days, men were braver and stronger, and women were smarter and more beautiful. For example, in 469 BC a skeleton of large man was found by Cimon and brought to Athens. It was believed to be that of Theseus. 1 Homer probably explained this folk-belief best;
“Aeneas seized a great stone, so huge that two men, as men now are, would be unable to lift it, but Aeneas wielded it quite easily. “ Iliad 20.286
In answer to a similar charge of weakness and smallness in the current generation by Agamemnon against Sthenelus and his buddy Diomedes, Sthenelus replied,
“We boast to be much better than our fathers. We even captured the foundations of seven-gated Thebes, having mustered a smaller army against a stronger fortress and having heeded the signs of the gods and the help of Zeus. But they perished, by their own wantonness. So do not bestow on our fathers an honor [tīmē] that is like ours.” Iliad 4.405-10
So by erecting statues of the Epigoni in honor of the victory at Oeone, the Argives are pointing out that they too are better than their mythological forefathers, and accomplished something they never had, they defeated the Spartans.
1 A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology William Smith, Ed.