Cadmus





Greek mythology was full of heroes whose lives were entangled with those of the gods. One such hero was Cadmus, legendary founder of the great city of Thebes *.

Cadmus and his brothers were sent by their father, the king of Phoenicia, to locate their sister Europa. She had been carried away by Zeus*, disguised as a bull. Unable to find Europa, Cadmus sought advice from the oracle at Delphi. He was told to found a city, which later became known as Thebes. He then killed a serpent (or dragon) and planted its teeth in the ground there, causing armed warriors to spring forth. The noble families of Thebes claimed descent from these Spartoi, or Sown Men.

oracle priest or priestess or other creature through whom a god is believed to speak; also the location (such as a shrine) where such words are spoken

The goddess Athena* made Cadmus king of Thebes, and Zeus allowed him to marry Harmonía, daughter of the gods Ares* and Aphrodite (Venus)*. According to myth, after living long and eventful lives, Cadmus and Harmonía were turned into snakes and carried to paradise by the gods. The Greeks credited Cadmus not only with founding a major city but also with bringing written language—in the form of the Phoenician alphabet—to Greece.

See also Delphi ; Greek Mythology .



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