Cadmus (Greek: Kadmos, Semito-Hamitic: Qadmus) is the son of King Agenor and Queen Telephassa of Tyre. After his sister, Europa, was captured by Zeus, he, along with his brothers Phoenix and Cilix, went to look for her. Phoenix returned to become king of Phoenicia after his father, Cilix became the first king of Cilicia and Cadmus went on to become the first king of Thebes in Greece.
It is also said he introduces the Phoenician alphabet to Greece, where it evolved into Greek and, eventually, Latin. He was married to Harmonia, the immortal daughter of Aphrodite and Ares. Their descendants ruled Boeotia after them.
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.
The cow guided him to Boeotia, where he founded the city of Thebes. Intending to sacrifice the cow to Athena, Cadmus sent some of his companions to a nearby spring, for water. They were slain by the spring's guardian water-dragon, which was in turn destroyed by Cadmus.
By the instructions of Athena, he sowed 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 caused them to fall upon one another until only five survived, who assisted him to build the 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 do penance for eight years by serving him. At Thebes, Cadmus and Harmonia began a dynasty with a son Polydorus, and four daughters, Agave, Autonoe, Ino and Semele. At the wedding all the gods were present; Harmonia received as bridal gifts a peplon worked by Athena and a necklace made by Hephaestus. This necklace, commonly referred to as the Necklace of Harmonia, brought misfortune to all who possessed it.
Cadmus finally abdicated in favor of his grandson Pentheus.
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|King of Boeotia
|Heroes in Greek mythology|
|Heracles • Theseus • Perseus • Odysseus • Oedipus • Orpheus • Jason and the Argonauts • Nestor • Atalanta • Cadmus • Hector • Memnon • Achilleus • Daedalus • Bellerophon • Deucalion • Peleus • Kastor and Polydeukes • Palamḗdēs • Diomedes • Meleager • Telamon • Ajax • Philoctetes • Laertes|