Warning This Section Does Contain Spoilers

Cadmus Notes

  • Was the founder and first king of Thebes
  • Was the greatest hero and slayer of monsters before Heracles
  • Credited for introducing the original alphabet to the Greeks
  • Zeus carried his sister, Europa, off to keep for his bride
  • Cadmus sent out by his father to find her and not return till she is found
  • Either unsuccessful or unwilling to go against Zeus, he met Harmonia in Samothrace
  • Cadmus took Harmonia away to keep as his bride just as Zeus had abducted his sister
  • During his wanderings he was told by an oracle to follow a special cow with a half moon on its flank and build a town in the spot it lied down exhausted
  • The cow guided him to Boeotia and he founded the city of Thebes
  • Intending to sacrifice the cow, he sent his companions to nearby Ismenian soring for water where they were slain by the spring's guardian water dragon
  • Cadmus in turn destroyed the dragon
  • He was then instructed by Athena to sow the dragon's teeth into the soil, from which there sprang a race of fierce armed men, called Spartoi (sown)
  • Cadmus threw a stone onto them causing them to fall on themselves until only five survived, who assisted him to build the Cadmeia (citadel) of Thebes and became the founders of the noblest families of Thebes
  • The dragon was sacred to Ares and Ares made Cadmus to an "eternal" year which was actually eight years pentance
  • During this time it is said that the gods gave him Harmonia as a wife
  • At Thebes Cadmus and Harmonia build a dynasty with son Polydorus and four daughters, Agave, Autonoë, Ino and Semele
  • As wedding gift Harmonia was given a necklace known as Necklace of Hamonia that brought misfortune to all who possessed it
  • Cadmus was plagued with misfortune
  • Being deeply troubled by the ill fortune that clung to him because of killing the dragon, he one day 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 inform
  • Harmonia seeing this begged the gods to share his fate and they did (Hyginus)