Laius was the King of Thebes in Greek mythology and the father of the hero Oedipus.
Laius was raised by the Theban king Lycus after the death of his father Labdacus. When Amphion and Zethus usurped Lycus, Laius was smuggled out of the city by supporters of Lycus and sent to Pisa, where he was welcomed by King Pelops. Laius remained there until Amphion and Zethus died and he was able to return and re-take the throne. However, in the meantime he had fallen in love with Pelops's son Chrysippus and abducted him, bringing him back to Thebes and raping him (thus making Laius the originator of pederastic love). Chrysippus was then forced to become Laius's charioteer and sex slave until Pelops was able to rescue him. Pelops cursed Laius that his son would kill him.
As punishment for Laius's violation of the laws of hospitality, the gods sent the Sphinx to terrorize Thebes. Meanwhile, Laius married Queen Jocasta. Reminded of Pelops's curse, he consulted the Oracle of Delphi and was informed that if he and Jocasta had a son that son would kill him and marry Jocasta. Laius swore off sex in order to save himself; however, Jocasta, who was unaware of the prophecy, got Laius drunk and seduced him, becoming pregnant with Oedipus. When Oedipus was born Laius chose to dispose of him by piercing and binding his feet and dumping him on Mount Cithaeron to die. The baby was found by a shepherd, who gave him to Polybus and Merope of Corinth.
After growing up, Oedipus was informed by the Oracle that he would kill his father and marry his mother if he returned home. Believing this prophecy to refer to Corinth, he set out for Thebes. While halfway there he encountered Laius, who was on his way to the Oracle after seeing omens that his son was returning. Laius ordered Oedipus to get out of the road; when he refused, Laius ran his foot over with his chariot or struck him with his whip. Oedipus flew into a rage and killed Laius and all but one of his servants before continuing on to Thebes. He later fulfilled the latter half of the prophecy by marrying Jocasta after successfully destroying the Sphinx.