Real Name: Cadmus
Identity/Class: Normal Human/Olympian demigod (active since Post-Hyborian era)
Occupation: Founder and King of Cadmeia (Thebes) (c. 1450-1410 BC)
Group Membership: House of Thebes
Affiliations: Olympian gods
Enemies: Ares, Panope
Known Relatives: Agenor (father), Argiope (mother, alias Telephassa), Belus (uncle), Europa (sister), Cilix, Phoenix, Thasus (brothers), Harmonia (wife), Polydorus, Illyrius (son), Autonoe, Ino, Agave, Semele (daughters), Otrera (step-daughter), Echion, Aristaeus, Athamas (sons-in-law), Pentheus, Dionysus, Labdacus, Actaeon (deceased) (grandsons), Minos, Sarpedon, Rhadamanthys (nephews), Ares (father-in-law), Venus (mother-in-law), Neptune (paternal grandfather), Libya (paternal grandmother), Nilus (maternal grandfather), Oedipus, Polyneices, Eteocles, Creon, Megaera, Patroclus, Hippolyta (notable descendants)
Base of Operations: Illyria (now part of modern Yugoslavia), formerly Tyre, Phoenicia and Thebes, Greece in the Fifteenth Century BC
First Appearance: Venus#3/3 (December, 1948)
Powers/Abilities: Cadmus possessed above human but not superhuman powers due to his godly lineage. He was physically stronger, faster and more durable than normal human beings. He was a skilled warrior, shrewd ruler and leader able to use most weapons during the time of Ancient Greece. The Olympian gods transformed Cadmus into a great serpent at the time of his death and his abilities in this form are also as yet unrevealed.
(Greek-Roman myth) – Cadmus was the son of Agenor, King of Phoenicia and son of Neptune and Argiope, an Egyptian princess also identified as Telephassa. Cadmus was the brother of Europa, who was out in the fields picking flowers when she was noticed by Zeus, who saw her and was smitten with her beauty. Transforming himself into a white bull, Zeus made off with Europa and fled with her across the sea to Crete, where she gave birth to Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys, who would become rulers of Crete. Agenor told Cadmus to seek and return his sister, but not to return without her. Cadmus and his mother set out on a quest to find Europa by consulting the oracle at Delphi, but on their way, tragedy struck and Argiope died. He next sought out the Oracle of Delphi for further guidance on his quest. Speaking through the oracle, Zeus allayed his quest and informed him to follow the first cow he encountered on his journey and then to build a town on the spot where the cow would fall dead and become a king of the city he would found there. After his long journey following the cow to its resting spot, Cadmus sent some of his men forth to a nearby spring for water which unknown to them, was protected by Panope, a great dragon sacred to Ares. When none of his men returned, Cadmus went to look for them. When he came to the spring, Cadmus was attacked by the dragon and slew it, earning the wrath of Ares, the god of war. Athena, the god of wisdom, appeared to protect him and instructed Cadmus to plant some of the dragon’s teeth in the ground. The teeth then sprung up into several warriors known as the Sparte (or Sparti) who then battled against each other until only five of them, Echion, Udaeus, Chthonius, Hyperenor and Pelorus were standing. Swearing their allegiance to Cadmus, they assisted Cadmus in building the city of Cadmeia, later known as Thebes, for him and battling the neighboring Hyantes and Aones tribes in the region. Cadmus made a sacrifice to Athena under her Phoenician name, Onca, to honor her and endorsed worship of her father, Zeus, through the region in respect to them As a consequence of killing the sacred dragon Panope, Cadmus was informed by Athena that he had to serve Ares as a slave for eight years. After his servitude was done, the gods of Olympus gave Cadmus the goddess Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite’s daughter as a bride.
(Greek-Roman myth) – The marriage of Cadmus and Harmonia was attended by the Olympian gods, a compliment they would not repeat again for several generations. Music was provided by Apollo and the Muses. Hermes gave them a lyre, Hephaestus gave Harmonia a necklace and Demeter gave them corn. The incident was marred by one incident when Demeter became infatuated with Jasion, Harmonia’s step-brother, and consented to lie with him in a thrice-plowed field. Zeus slew the young god for his presumption. As a result, Harmonia’s necklace would bring disaster on its later owners although she herself escaped the curse unscathed. Cadmus and Harmonia had several children, but while Ares forgave Cadmus enough to allow him as a son-in-law, he never forgave him for slaying his serpent. Only one of Cadmus’s sons, Polydorus, did not come to grief. His daughters and grandchildren all suffered misfortune. His grandson, Actaeon, chanced upon Artemis bathing and was torn apart by his own hounds as a result. His daughter, Semele, was beloved by Zeus, but was tricked by Hera into seeing Zeus in his true form and was struck by lightning. Her son, Dionysus, later cursed his aunts with madness. Athamas, a son of Cadmus, slew his sons and had to flee Thebes, while his wife Ino leapt into the sea with another of her sons. Without any progeny to pose as his heirs, Cadmus passed his throne to his grandson, Pentheus, the son of one of daughters and one of the Sparti, who he adopted as his heir apparent. Pentheus was later flayed alive by his own mother after driven mad by Dionysus, and the throne passed to Labdacus, a cousin of Pentheus. Cadmus reportedly taught the rites of Dionysus to the seer Melampus, who later taught them to the Greeks.
(Greek-Roman myth) – For many years Cadmus and his family suffered many misfortunes brought on by killing Ares’ sacred dragon and his city was often troubled by civil unrest. After he abdicated the throne to his grandson Pentheus, Cadmus and Harmonia departed Thebes in an ox cart and emigrated to the land of the Encheladans in Illyria, conquered by their son Illyria north of Thessaly after he departed Thebes. After Cadmus died, the Encheladans rifled the shrine of Apollo, but were routed by Ares who rescued Cadmus and delivered him into the Elysian Fields after death. In Thebes, Cadmus was honored as their founder and also had a hero shrine at Sparta.
(Greek-Roman myth) – According to some myths, when Cadmus was on his deathbed, the Olympian gods transformed him into a great serpent. Harmonia begged the gods to do the same to her as she loved him and they granted her request and the two of them left to dwell within the fields away from civilization.
(Venus#3/3) – Venus introduced Cadmus as one of her old friends and related part of the story of him slaying Panope the dragon.
Comments: Created by an unaccredited writer and artist.
Supplemental myth info from Crowell’s Handbook of Classical Mythology by Edward Tripp.
This profile mentions only the most immediate and notable relations for Cadmus. For more of his genealogy, check out his page at the Greek Genealogy Website. The dates for his reign have been deduced a date of 1470 for the flood of Deucalion which occurred roughly as the same time as the explosion of Thera (modern Santorini). According to most myths, Cadmus arrived in Greece twenty years after the flood. Historically-wise, the Sparti were likely the indigenous tribe living in Boeotia when Cadmus arrived. The myth that they sprung up from dragon-teeth seems to have been invented to explain the fact that there were still people in Greece after the flood of Deucalion.
King Aeetes of Colchis is also credited with creating men from the teeth of a great serpent in the story of Jason and the Argonauts.
According to myth, Cadmus introduced the Greeks to the Phoenician alphabet and invented their written language.
Cadmus’ sister Europa became the first queen of Crete and his brothers also became kings of mighty empires. Of mention, Phoenix became ancestor of the Phoenician prince Adonis, beloved of Venus and Psyche, beloved of Cupid.
According to some myths, Cadmus’ father fought for the Greeks during the Trojan War and was credited with killing the first Trojan on the battlefield, but this maybe because of some confusion with the Trojan Agenor, son of Antenor, a cousin of King Priam. In Greek mythology, there were five separate characters name "Agenor," each with a separate time period and family line.
Ares must have been quite furious with Cadmus as he had slain his sacred beast, Panope and even later married his daughter Harmonia. Although Ares may have hated him, he seemed to be well liked by Venus as she refers to him as being an old friend.
The Sparte (or Sparti) that grew from the teeth of Panope later founded their own city that they called Sparta, which grew into a powerful city-state ruled by an elite caste of warriors. Ares was the patron god of the city.
According to “History’s Mysteries” on Travel Channel, all the accounts of dragons in Greek Mythology were based on fossilized remnants of ordinary animals like camels and horses. Creatures such as griffins have been blamed on fossils of the protoceratops from Mongolia.
Profile by AvatarWarlord72 with mythological supplement by William Uchtman
Cadmus has no known connection to:
Venus#3, p18, pan5 (Cadmus fighting Panope)
Venus#3 (December, 1948) - Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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