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In Greek mythology, Cadmus
Cadmus
(/ˈkædməs/; Greek: Κάδμος Kadmos), was the founder and first king of Thebes.[1] Cadmus
Cadmus
was the first Greek hero
Greek hero
and, alongside Perseus
Perseus
and Bellerophon, the greatest hero and slayer of monsters before the days of Heracles.[2] Initially a Phoenician prince, son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa, he was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
by Zeus.[3] Cadmus
Cadmus
founded the Greek city of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia
Cadmeia
in his honour. Cadmus
Cadmus
was credited by the ancient Greeks (Herodotus[4] is an example) with introducing the original alphabet to the Greeks, who adapted it to form their Greek alphabet. Herodotus
Herodotus
estimates that Cadmus
Cadmus
lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 BC.[5] Herodotus had seen and described the Cadmean writing in the temple of Apollo
Apollo
at Thebes engraved on certain tripods. He estimated those tripods to date back to the time of Laius the great-grandson of Cadmus.[6] On one of the tripods there was this inscription in Cadmean writing, which, as he attested, resembled Ionian letters: Ἀμφιτρύων μ᾽ ἀνέθηκ᾽ ἐνάρων ἀπὸ Τηλεβοάων (" Amphitryon dedicated me [don't forget] the spoils of [the battle of] Teleboae."). Though later Greeks like Herodotus
Herodotus
dated Cadmus's role in the founding myth of Thebes to well before the Trojan War
Trojan War
(or, in modern terms, during the Aegean Bronze Age), this chronology conflicts with most of what is now known or thought to be known about the origins and spread of both the Phoenician and Greek alphabets. The earliest Greek inscriptions match Phoenician letter forms from the late 9th or 8th centuries BC—in any case, the Phoenician alphabet
Phoenician alphabet
properly speaking was not developed until around 1050 BC (or after the Bronze Age collapse). The Homeric picture of the Mycenaean age betrays extremely little awareness of writing, possibly reflecting the loss during the Dark Age of the earlier Linear B
Linear B
script. Indeed, the only Homeric reference to writing[7] was in the phrase "γράμματα λυγρά", grámmata lygrá, literally "baneful drawings", when referring to the Bellerophontic letter. Linear B
Linear B
tablets have been found in abundance at Thebes, which might lead one to speculate that the legend of Cadmus
Cadmus
as bringer of the alphabet could reflect earlier traditions about the origins of Linear B
Linear B
writing in Greece (as Frederick Ahl speculated in 1967[8]). But such a suggestion, however attractive, is by no means a certain conclusion in light of currently available evidence. The connection between the name of Cadmus
Cadmus
and the historical origins of either the Linear B
Linear B
script or the later Phoenician alphabet, if any, remains elusive. However, in modern-day Lebanon, Cadmus
Cadmus
is still revered and celebrated as the 'carrier of the letter' to the world. According to Greek myth, Cadmus's descendants ruled at Thebes on and off for several generations, including the time of the Trojan War.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Wanderings

2.1 Samothrace 2.2 Founder of Thebes

3 Native Boeotian hero 4 Genealogy 5 Offspring 6 Hittite records controversy 7 Trivia 8 See also 9 Notes 10 Citations 11 References

11.1 Classical sources 11.2 Secondary material

12 Further reading 13 External links

Etymology[edit] The etymology of Cadmus' name remains uncertain.[9] Possible connected words include the Semitic triliteral root qdm (Ugaritic: 𐎖𐎄𐎎)[10] signifies "east" (In Hebrew, qedem means "front", "east"; the verb qadam (Syriac: ܩܕܡ‎) means "to be in front"),[11][12] and the Greek kekasmai (<*kekadmai) "to shine".[note 1] Therefore, the complete meaning of the name might be: "He who excels, from the east".[14] Wanderings[edit] Samothrace[edit]

Cadmus
Cadmus
and the dragon, black-figured amphora from Euboea, ca.  560–50 BC, Louvre
Louvre
(E 707).

Lee Lawrie, Cadmus
Cadmus
(1939). Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.

After his sister Europa had been carried off by Zeus
Zeus
from the shores of Phoenicia, Cadmus
Cadmus
was sent out by his father to find her, and enjoined not to return without her. Unsuccessful in his search—or unwilling to go against Zeus—he came to Samothrace, the island sacred to the "Great Gods"[15] or the Kabeiroi, whose mysteries would be celebrated also at Thebes. Cadmus
Cadmus
did not journey alone to Samothrace; he appeared with his mother Telephassa[16] in the company of his nephew (or brother) Thasus, son of Cilix, who gave his name to the island of Thasos nearby. An identically composed trio had other names at Samothrace, according to Diodorus Siculus:[17] Electra
Electra
and her two sons, Dardanos and Eetion or Iasion. There was a fourth figure, Electra's daughter, Harmonia,[18] whom Cadmus
Cadmus
took away as a bride, as Zeus
Zeus
had abducted Europa.[19] The wedding was the first celebrated on Earth
Earth
to which the gods brought gifts, according to Diodorus[20] and dined with Cadmus
Cadmus
and his bride.[21] Founder of Thebes[edit]

Cadmus
Cadmus
Asks the Delphic Oracle Where He Can Find his Sister, Europa, Hendrick Goltzius

Cadmus
Cadmus
came in the course of his wanderings to Delphi, where he consulted the oracle. He was ordered to give up his quest and follow a special cow, with a half moon on her flank, which would meet him, and to build a town on the spot where she should lie down exhausted.[1] The cow was given to Cadmus
Cadmus
by Pelagon, King of Phocis, and it guided him to Boeotia, where he founded the city of Thebes. Intending to sacrifice the cow to Athena, Cadmus
Cadmus
sent some of his companions to the nearby Ismenian spring for water.[22] They were slain by the spring's guardian water-dragon (compare the Lernaean Hydra), which was in turn destroyed by Cadmus, the duty of a culture hero of the new order.

Cadmus
Cadmus
Sowing the Dragon's teeth, by Maxfield Parrish, 1908.

He was then instructed by Athena
Athena
to sow the dragon's teeth in the ground, from which there sprang a race of fierce armed men, called the Spartoi ("sown"). By throwing a stone among them, Cadmus
Cadmus
caused them to fall upon one another until only five survived, who assisted him to build the Cadmeia
Cadmeia
or citadel of Thebes, and became the founders of the noblest families of that city. The dragon had been sacred to Ares, so the god made Cadmus
Cadmus
do penance for eight years by serving him. According to Theban tellings, it was at the expiration of this period that the gods gave him Harmonia ("harmony", literally "well put together", or "well assembled") as wife. At Thebes, Cadmus
Cadmus
and Harmonia began a dynasty with a son Polydorus, and four daughters, Agave, Autonoë, Ino and Semele. At the wedding, whether celebrated at Samothrace
Samothrace
or at Thebes, all the gods were present; Harmonia received as bridal gifts a peplos worked by Athena
Athena
and a necklace made by Hephaestus. This necklace, commonly referred to as the Necklace of Harmonia, brought misfortune to all who possessed it. Notwithstanding the divinely ordained nature of his marriage and his kingdom, Cadmus
Cadmus
lived to regret both: his family was overtaken by grievous misfortunes, and his city by civil unrest. Cadmus
Cadmus
finally abdicated in favor of his grandson Pentheus, and went with Harmonia to Illyria, to fight on the side[23] of the Enchelii.[24] Later, as king, he founded the city of Lychnidos
Lychnidos
and Bouthoe.[25] Nevertheless, Cadmus
Cadmus
was deeply troubled by the ill-fortune which clung to him as a result of his having killed the sacred dragon, and one day he remarked that if the gods were so enamoured of the life of a serpent, he might as well wish that life for himself. Immediately he began to grow scales and change in form. Harmonia, seeing the transformation, thereupon begged the gods to share her husband's fate, which they granted (Hyginus). In another telling of the story, the bodies of Cadmus
Cadmus
and his wife were changed after their deaths; the serpents watched their tomb while their souls were translated to the fields. In Euripides' The Bacchae, Cadmus
Cadmus
is given a prophecy by Dionysus
Dionysus
whereby both he and his wife will be turned into snakes for a period before eventually being brought to live among the blest. Native Boeotian hero[edit] In Phoenician, as well as Hebrew, the Semitic root qdm signifies "the east", the Levantine origin of "Kdm" himself, according to the Greek mythographers; the equation of Kadmos with the Semitic qdm was traced to a publication of 1646 by R. B. Edwards.[26] The name Kadmos has been thoroughly Hellenised. The fact that Hermes
Hermes
was worshipped in Samothrace
Samothrace
under the name of Cadmus
Cadmus
or Cadmilus seems to show that the Theban Cadmus
Cadmus
was interpreted as an ancestral Theban hero corresponding to the Samothracian. Another Samothracian connection for Cadmus
Cadmus
is offered via his wife Harmonia, who is said by Diodorus Siculus to be daughter of Zeus
Zeus
and Electra
Electra
and of Samothracian birth.[27] Some modern scholars argue that Cadmus
Cadmus
was originally an autochthonous Boeotian hero and that only in later times, did the story of a Phoenician adventurer of that name become current, to whom was ascribed the introduction of the alphabet, the invention of agriculture and working in bronze and of civilization generally.[28][29] The " Wedding
Wedding
of Cadmus
Cadmus
and Harmonia" is considered as a conceptual symbolic coupling of Eastern (Phoenician) learning with Western (Greek) love of beauty. Genealogy[edit] Cadmus
Cadmus
was of ultimately divine ancestry, the grandson of the sea god Poseidon
Poseidon
and Libya on his father's side, and of Nilus (the River Nile) on his mother's side; overall he was considered a member of the fifth generation of beings following the (mythological) creation of the world:

Argive genealogy in Greek mythology

v t e

Inachus

Melia

Zeus

Io

Phoroneus

Epaphus

Memphis

Libya

Poseidon

Belus

Achiroë

Agenor

Telephassa

Danaus

Pieria

Aegyptus

Cadmus

Cilix

Europa

Phoenix

Mantineus

Hypermnestra

Lynceus

Harmonia

Zeus

Polydorus

Sparta

Lacedaemon

Ocalea

Abas

Agave

Sarpedon

Rhadamanthus

Autonoë

Eurydice

Acrisius

Ino

Minos

Zeus

Danaë

Semele

Zeus

Perseus

Dionysus

Colour key:      Male      Female      Deity

Offspring[edit] With Harmonia, he was the father of Semele, Polydorus, Autonoe, Agave and Ino. Their youngest son was Illyrius.[30] Hittite records controversy[edit] It has been argued by various scholars, that in a letter from the King of Ahhiyawa
Ahhiyawa
to the Hittite King, written in the Hittite language in ca. 1250 BC, a specific Cadmus
Cadmus
was mentioned as a forefather of the Ahhijawa people. The latter term most probably referred to the Mycenaean world (Achaeans), or at least to a part of it.[31][32] Nevertheless, this reading about a supposed Cadmus
Cadmus
as historical person is rejected by most scholars.[33] Trivia[edit] The Syrian city of Al-Qadmus
Al-Qadmus
is named for Cadmus.[34] See also[edit]

Cadmium Cadmus
Cadmus
of Miletus Cadmean victory Theban kings in Greek mythology

Notes[edit]

^ Robert Beekes rejects these derivations and considers it Pre-Greek.[13]

Citations[edit]

^ Alden, John B. (1883) The Greek Anthology, pp. 160–162. ^ Kerenyi, Karl, 1959. The Heroes of the Greeks (London: Thames and Hudson) p. 75. ^ A modern application of genealogy would make him the paternal grandfather of Dionysus, through his daughter by Harmonia, Semele. Plutarch
Plutarch
once admitted that he would rather be assisted by Lamprias, his own grandfather, than by Dionysus' grandfather, i.e. Cadmus. (Symposiacs, Book
Book
IX, question II Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.) ^ Herodotus, Histories, Book
Book
V, 58. ^ Herodotus. Histories, Book
Book
II, 2.145.4. ^ Herodotus. Histories, Book
Book
V.59.1 ^ There are several examples of written letters, such as in Nestor's narrative concerning Bellerophon
Bellerophon
and the "Bellerophontic letter", another description of a letter presumably sent to Palamedes from Priam
Priam
but in fact written by Odysseus
Odysseus
(Hyginus. Fabulae, 105), as well as the letters described by Plutarch
Plutarch
in Parallel Lives, Theseus, which were presented to Ariadne
Ariadne
presumably sent from Theseus. Plutarch
Plutarch
goes on to describe how Theseus
Theseus
erected a pillar on the Isthmus of Corinth, which bears an inscription of two lines. ^ F.M. Ahl. " Cadmus
Cadmus
and the Palm-Leaf Tablets." American Journal of Philology 88.2, Apr. 1967, pp. 188-94. ^ LSJ entry Κάδμος ^ Gregorio del Olmo Lete; Joaquín Sanmartín (2003). A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition - Part One (PDF). Brill. p. 694. ISBN 90-04-12891 3.  ^ Compare: Graves, Robert (1955). "58: Europe and Cadmus". The Greek Myths. 1. London: Penguin (published 1990). ISBN 9781101554982. Retrieved 2016-11-11. [...] a small tribe, speaking a Semitic language, seems to have moved up from the Syrian plains to Cadmeia
Cadmeia
in Caria – Cadmus
Cadmus
is a Semitic word meaning 'eastern' [...].  ^ Ruprecht, Louis A. Jr. (2008). God Gardened East: A Gardener's Meditation on the Dynamics of Genesis. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 31. ISBN 9781556354342.  ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 614. ^ "The name Cadmus
Cadmus
is a Greek baby name. In Greek the meaning of the name Cadmus
Cadmus
is: He who excels; from the east". SheKnows. Retrieved 14 January 2017.  ^ The Megaloi theoi of the Mysteries of Samothrace. ^ Or known by another lunar name, Argiope, "she of the white face" (Kerenyi 1959:27). ^ Diodorus Siculus, 5.48; Clement of Alexandria, to wit Proreptikos 2.13.3. ^ Harmonia at Thebes was accounted the daughter of Ares
Ares
and Aphrodite; all these figures appeared in sculptures on the pediment of the Hellenistic
Hellenistic
main temple in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace, the Hieron; the ancient sources on this family grouping were assembled by N. Lewis, Samothrace. I: The Ancient Literary Sources (New York) 1958:24-36. ^ Kerenyi (1959) notes that Cadmus
Cadmus
in some sense found another Europa at Samothrace, according to an obscure scholium on Euripides' Rhesus 29. ^ Diodorus, 5.49.1; when the gods attended the later wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the harmony was shattered by the Apple of Discord. ^ The full range of references in Antiquity to this wedding is presented by Matia Rocchi, Kadmos e Harmonia: un matrimonio problemmatico (Rome: Bretschneider) 1989. ^ Atsma, Aaron J. "Drakon Ismenia". Theoi Greek Mythology. Retrieved 5 September 2014.  ^ Apollodorus. Library and Epitome, 3.5.4. ^ Pierre Grimal, Pierre, Maxwell-Hyslop, A. R. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Blackwell, 1996, ISBN 0-631-20102-5, p. 83. ^ Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians. Blackwell Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, p. 99. ^ Edwards, Kadmos the Phoenician: A Study in Greek Legends and the Mycenaean Age (Amsterdam 1979), noted by Walter Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Bronze Age (Harvard University Press) 1992:2, and note), who remarks that the complementary connection of Europa with rb, "West" was an ancient one, made by Hesychius. ^ Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
5.48.2 ^ "There is little doubt that Cadmus
Cadmus
was originally a Boeotian, that is, a Greek hero." Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911, s.v. "Cadmus"; Walter Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution ("Introduction") was written in part to lay such notions to rest. ^ The argument that nothing in the geography of Boeotia
Boeotia
supports an Eastern influence was expressed, before the days of archaeology, by Gomme, A. W. (1913), "The Legend of Cadmus
Cadmus
and the Logographi", Journal of Hellenic Studies, 33: 53–72, 223–245, doi:10.2307/624086 ; Gomme finds the literary evidence for Cadmus' Phoenician origin first directly expressed by Pherecydes, Herodotus
Herodotus
and in a scholium on Hellanicus, where in each case it is already assumed as well known. ^ Pierre Grimal, Pierre, Maxwell-Hyslop, A. R. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Blackwell, 1996, ISBN 0-631-20102-5, p. 83, 230. ^ Windle, Joachim Latacz. Transl. from the German by Kevin; Ireland, Rosh (2004). Troy and Homer
Homer
towards a solution of an old mystery. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. p. 244. ISBN 9780199263080.  ^ Rava, R D'Amato & A Salimbeti ; illustrated by Giuseppe. Bronze age Greek warrior 1600-1100 BC. Oxford, UK: Osprey Pub Co. p. 58. ISBN 9781849081955.  ^ Strauss, Barry (2007). The Trojan War : a new history (1st trade paperback ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 19. ISBN 9780743264426.  ^ ""أهلا بكم في مدينة الفينيقين القديمة "القدموس". esyria (in Arabic). 20 April 2009. 

References[edit] Classical sources[edit]

Hyginus. Fabulae, 178. Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheke, III, i, 1-v, 4; Ovid. Metamorphoses, III, 1-137; IV, 563-603. Homer. The Odyssey, 5.333.

Secondary material[edit]

Theoi Project Kerenyi, Karl. The Heroes of the Greeks, 1959. Vian, F. Les origines de Thébes: Cadmos et les Spartes. Paris, 1963. R. B. Edwards. Kadmos, the Phoenician: A Study in Greek Legends and the Mycenaean Age. Amsterdam, 1979. T. Gantz. Early Greek Myth., Volume 2, 467–73. Matia Rocchi. Kadmos e Harmonia: un matrimonio problemmatico. Rome, Bretschneider, 1989. Svetlana Janakieva, "Lе Mythe de Cadmos et l'aire ethnolinguistique paleobalkanique," Thracia, 11, 1995 (= Studia in honorem Alexandri Fol. Sofia, 1995).  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cadmus". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Further reading[edit]

Calasso, Roberto (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus
Cadmus
and Harmony. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-58154-7. 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
article Cadmus.

Media related to Cadmus
Cadmus
at Wikimedia Commons Images of Cadmus
Cadmus
in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database

Regnal titles

New creation Mythical King of Thebes Succeeded by Pentheus

v t e

Kings of Thebes

Kings

Calydnus Ogyges Cadmus Pentheus Polydorus Nycteus (regent for Labdacus) and Lycus I (regent for Labdacus) Labdacus Lycus I (regent for Laius) Laius Amphion and Zethus Laius (second rule) Creon Oedipus Creon (second rule) (regent for Eteocles
Eteocles
and Polynices) Polynices
Polynices
and Eteocles Creon (third rule) (regent for Laodamas) Lycus II (usurper) Laodamas Thersander Peneleos (regent for Tisamenus) Tisamenus Autesion Damasichthon Ptolemy Xanthos

In literature

Antigone Antigone (Euripides) The Bacchae Herakles Iliad Oedipus Oedipus
Oedipus
at Colonus Oedipus
Oedipus
Rex The Phoenician Women Seven Against Thebes The Thebans

Related articles

Thebes Necklace of Harmonia

Book:Theban Kings Category:Theban kings Portal:Ancient Greece

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 42637019 GN

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