Cadmus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
（*Ka/dmos), a son of Agenor and Telephassa, and brother of Europa,
Phoenix, and Cilix. When Europa was carried off by Zeus to Crete,
Agenor sent out his sons in search of their sister, enjoining them not
to return without her. Telephassa accompanied her sons. All researches
being fruitless, Cadmus and Telephassa settled in Thrace. Here
Telephassa died, and Cadmus, after burying her, went to Delphi to
consult the oracle respecting his sister. The god commanded him to
abstain from further seeking, and to follow a cow of a certain kind,
and to build a town on the spot where the cow should sink down with
fatigue. (Schol. ad Eur. Phoen. 638, ad Aristoph. Ran. 1256; Paus.
9.12.1.) Cadmus found the cow described by the oracle in Phocis among
the herds of Pelagon, and followed her into Boeotia, where she sank
down on the spot on which Cadmus built Thebes, with the acropolis,
Cadmea. As he intended to sacrifice the cow here to Athena, he sent
some persons to the neighbouring well of Ares to fetch water. This well
was guarded by a dragon, a son of Ares, who killed the men sent by
Cadmus. Hereupon, Cadmus slew the dragon, and, on the advice of Athena,
sowed the teeth of the monster, out of which armed men grew up, who
slew each other, with the exception of five, Echion, Udaeus, Chthonius,
Hyperenor, and Pelor, who, according to the Theban legend, were the
ancestors of the Thebans. Cadmus was punished for having slain the
dragon by being obliged to serve for a certain period of time, some say
one year, others eight years. After this Athena assigned to him the
government of Thebes, and Zeus gave him Harmonia for his wife. The
marriage solemnity was honoured by the presence of all the Olympian
gods in the Cadmea. Cadmus gave to Harmonia the famous πέπλος and
necklace which he had received from Hephaestus or from Europa, and
became by her the father of Autonoe, Ino, Semele, Agave, and Polydorus.
Subsequently Cadmus and Harmonia quitted Thebes, and went to the
Cenchelians This people was at war with the Illyrians, and had received
an oracle which promised them victory if they took Cadmus as their
commander. The Cenchelians accordingly made Cadmus their king, and
conquered the enemy. After this, Cadmus had another son, whom he called
Illyrius. In the end, Cadmus and Harmonia were changed into dragons,
and were removed by Zeus to Elysium.
This is the account given by Apollodorus (3.1.1, &c.), which, with the
exception of some particulars, agrees with the stories in Hyginus (Hyg.
Fab. 178)and Pausanias (9.5.1, 10.1, 12.1,&c.). There are, however,
many points in the story of Cadmus in which the various traditions
present considerable differences. His native country is commonly stated
to have been Phoenicia, as in Apollodorus (comp. Diod. 4.2; Strab. vii.
p.321, ix. p. 401); but he is sometimes called a Tyrian (Hdt. 2.49;
Eur. Phoen. 639), and sometimes a Sidonian. (Eur. Ba. 171; Ov. Met.
4.571.) Others regarded Cadmus as a native of Thebes in Egypt (Diod.
1.23; Paus. 9.12.2), and his parentage is modified accordingly; for he
is also called a son of Antiope, the daughter of Belus, or of Argiope,
the daughter of Neilus. (Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 5, with Valck. note;
Hyg. Fab. 6, 178, 179.) He is said to have introduced into Greece from
Phoenicia or Egypt an alphabet of sixteen letters (Hdt. 5.58, &c.;
Diod. 3.67, 5.57; Plin. Nat. 7.56; Hyg. Fab. 277), and to have been the
first who worked the mines of mount Pangaeon in Thrace. The teeth of
the dragon whom Cadmus slew were sown, according to some accounts, by
Athena herself; and the spot where this was done was shewn, in
aftertimes, in the neighbourhood of Thebes. (Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen.
670; Paus. 9.10.1.) Half of the teeth were given by Athena to Aeetes,
king of Colchis. (Apollon. 3.1183; Apollod. 1.9.23; Serv. ad Virg.
Georg. 2.141.) The account of his quitting Thebes also was not the same
in all traditions; for some related, that he was expelled by Amphion
and Zethus, or by Dionysus. (Syncell. p. 296, ed. Dindorf.) A tradition
of Brasiae stated, that Cadmus, after discovering the birth of Dionysus
by his daughter Semele, shut up the mother and her child in a chest,
and threw them into the sea. (Paus. 3.24.3.) According to the opinion
of Herodotus (2.49), however, Melampus learned and received the worship
of Dionysus from Cadmus, and other traditions too represent Cadmus as
worshipping Dionysus. (e.g. Eur. Ba. 181.) According to Euripides,
Cadmus resigned the government of Thebes to his grandson, Pentheus; and
after the death of the latter, Cadmus went to Illyria, where he built
Buthoe (Bacch. 43, 1331, &c.), in the government of which he was
succeeded by his son Illyrius or Polydorus.
The whole story of Cadmus, with its manifold poetical embellislinients,
seems to suggest the immigration of a Phoenician or Egyptian colony
into Greece, by means of which civilisation (the alphabet, art of
mining, and the worship of Dionysus) came into the country. But the
opinion formed on this point must depend upon the view we take of the
early influence of Phoenicia and Egypt in general upon the early
civilisation of Greece. While Buttmann and Creuzer admit such an
influence, C. O. Muller denies it altogether, and regards Cadmus as a
Pelasgian divinity. Cadmus was worshipped in various parts of Greece,
and at Sparta he had a heroum. (Paus. 3.15.6; comp. Buttmann, Mytholog.
ii. p. 171; Müller, Orchom. p. 113, &c.) - A Dictionary of Greek and
Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.
Cadmus in Wikipedia
Cadmus or Kadmos (Greek: Κάδμος), in Greek, Roman and
Phoenician mythologies, was a Phoenician prince, the 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 by
Zeus. Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the
acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honor.
Cadmus was credited by the ancient Greeks (Herodotus is an
example) with introducing the original Alphabet or Phoenician
alphabet -- phoinikeia grammata, "Phoenician letters" -- to
the Greeks, who adapted it to form their Greek alphabet.
Herodotus estimates that Cadmus lived sixteen hundred years
before his time, or around 2000 BC....