gtp logo

Location information

Listed 69 sub titles with search on: Homeric world  for wider area of: "THIVES Municipality VIOTIA" .

Homeric world (69)

Ancient towns


THIVES (Ancient city) VIOTIA
Thebe is not listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships, because after the expedition of the Epigoni, which took place before the Trojan War, it was destroyed by the Argives. Some of the Thebans surrendered themselves to the Achaeans while others left the town (Strab. 9,2,32). Homer calls it "eptapylos" (= seven-gated) (Od. 11.263), "eurichoros" (= spacious) (Od. 11.265), "polyeratos" (= lovely) (Od. 11.275), "eustefanos" (= "fair-crowned) (Il. 19.99).

Gods & demigods

Dionysus (Bacchus)

He was a son of Zeus by Semele and was nurtured by the nymphs in the mount Nysa (Il. 6.132, 14.325, Od. 11.325, 24.74).

Dionysus (Dionusos or Dionusos). The god of luxuriant fertility, especially as displayed by the vine; and therefore the god of wine. His native place, according to the usual tradition, was Thebes, where he was born to Zeus by Semele, the daughter of Cadmus. Semele was destroyed by the lightning of her lover, and the child was born after six months. Zeus accordingly sewed it up in his thigh till ripe for birth, and then gave it over to Ino, the sister of Semele. After her death Hermes took the boy to the nymphs of Mount Nysa, or according to another version, to the Hyades of Dodona, who brought him up and hid him in a cave away from the anger of Here. It cannot be ascertained where Mount Nysa was originally supposed to be. In later times the name was transferred to many places where the vine was cultivated, not only in Greece, but in Asia, India, and Africa. When grown up, Dionysus is represented as planting the vine, and wandering through the wide world to spread his worship among men, with his wine-flushed train (thiasos --his nurses and other nymphs, Satyrs, Sileni, and similar woodland deities. Whoever welcomed him kindly, like Icarius in Attica and Oeneus in Aetolia, received the gift of wine; but those who resisted him were terribly punished. A whole series of fables is apparently based upon the tradition that in many places, where a serious religious ritual existed, the dissolute worship of Dionysus met with a vigorous resistance. See Lycurgus; Minyadae; Pentheus; Proetus.
  This worship soon passed from the mainland of Greece to the wine-growing islands, and flourished pre-eminently at Naxos. Here it was, according to the story, that the god wedded Ariadne. In the islands a fable was current that he fell in with some Tyrrhenian pirates, who took him to their ship and put him in chains. But his fetters fell off, the sails and the mast were wreathed with vine and ivy, the god was changed into a lion, while the seamen threw themselves madly into the sea and were turned into dolphins. In forms akin to this the worship of Dionysus passed into Egypt and far into Asia. Hence arose a fable, founded on the story of Alexander's campaigns, that the god passed victoriously through Egypt, Syria, and India as far as the Ganges, with his army of Sileni, Satyrs, and inspired women, the Maenades or Bacchantes, carrying their wands (thursoi) crowned with vines and ivy. Having thus constrained all the world to the recognition of his deity, and having with Heracles, assisted the gods, in the form of a lion, to victory in their war with the Giants, he was taken to Olympus, where, in Homer, he does not appear. From Olympus he descends to the lower world, whence he brings his mother, who is worshipped with him under the name of Thyone (“the wild one”), as Leto was with Apollo and Artemis. From his mother he is called Thyoneus, a name which, with others of similar meaning, such as Bacchus, Bromios, Euios, and Iacchos, points to a worship founded upon a different conception of his nature.
  In the myth with which we have been hitherto concerned, the god appears mainly in the character and surroundings of joy and triumph. But, as the god of the earth, Dionysus belongs, like Persephone, to the world below as well as to the world above. The death of vegetation in winter was represented as the flight of the god into hiding from the sentence of his enemies, or even as his extinction; but he returned again from obscurity, or rose from the dead, to new life and activity. In this connection he was called Zagreus ("torn in pieces") and represented as a son of Zeus and his daughter Persephone, or sometimes of Zeus and Demeter. In his childhood he was torn to pieces by the Titans, at the command of the jealous Here. But every third year, after spending the interval in the lower world, he is born anew. According to the Orphic story, Athene brought her son's heart to Zeus, who gave it to Semele or swallowed it himself, whereupon the Theban or younger Dionysus was born. The grave of Dionysus was shown at Delphi in the inmost shrine of the Temple of Apollo. Secret offerings were brought thither, while the women who were celebrating the feast awakened Licnites; in other words, invoked the new-born god cradled in a winnowing-fan on the neighbouring mountain of Parnassus. Festivals of this kind, in celebration of the extinction and resurrection of the deity, were held by women and girls only, amid the mountains at night, every third year, about the time of the shortest day. The rites, intended to express the excess of grief and joy at the death and reappearance of the god, were wild even to savagery, and the women who performed them were hence known by the expressive names of Bacchae, Maenads, and Thyiades. They wandered through woods and mountains, their flying locks crowned with ivy or snakes, brandishing wands and torches, to the hollow sounds of the drum and the shrill notes of the flute, with wild dances and insane cries and jubilation. The victims of the sacrifice -oxen, goats, even fawns and roes from the forest- were killed, torn in pieces, and eaten raw, in imitation of the treatment of Zagreus by the Titans. Thrace and Macedonia and Asiatic Greece were the scene of the wildest orgies; indeed, Thrace seems to be the country of their birth. In Asiatic Greece, it should be added, the worship of Dionysus-Zagreus came to be associated with the equally wild rites of Rhea (Cybele) and Atys and Sabus or Sabazius. In Greece proper the chief seats of these were Parnassus, with Delphi and its neighbourhood, Boeotia, Argos, and Laconia, and in Boeotia and Laconia especially the mountains Cithaeron and Taygetus. They were also known in Naxos, Crete, and other islands. They seem to have been unknown in Attica, though Dionysus was worshipped at the Eleusinian Mysteries, with Persephone and Demeter, under the name of Iacchos, as brother or bridegroom of Persephone (See Mysteria). But the Attic cycle of national festivals in honour of Dionysus represents the idea of the ancient and simple Hellenic worship, with its merry usages. Here Dionysus is the god who gives increase and luxuriance to vineyard and tree. For he is a kindly and gentle power, terrible only to his enemies, and born for joy and blessing to mankind. His gifts bring strength and healing to the body, gladness and forgetfulness of care to the mind, whence he was called Lyaeus, or the loosener of care. They are ennobling in their effects, for they require tending, and thus keep men employed in diligent labour; they bring them together in merry meetings, and inspire them to music and poetry. Thus it is to the worship of Dionysus that the dithyramb and the drama owe their origin and development. In this way Dionysus is closely related, not only to Demeter, Aphrodite, Eros, the Graces, and the Muses, but to Apollo, because he inspires men to prophesy.
  The most ancient representation of Dionysus consists of wooden images with the phallos (membrum virile) as the symbol of generative power. In works of art he is sometimes represented as the ancient Indian Dionysus, the conqueror of the East. In this character he appears, as in the Vatican statue incorrectly called Sardanapalus, of high stature, with a luxuriant wealth of hair on head and chin. Sometimes again, as in numerous statues which have survived, he is a youth of soft and feminine shape, with a dreamy expression, his long, clustering hair confined by a fillet or crown of ivy, generally naked, or with a fawn or panther skin thrown lightly over him. He is either reposing or leaning idly back with the thursos, grapes, or a cup in his hand. Often, too, he is surrounded by the Fauns of his retinue, Maenads, Satyrs, Sileni, Centaurs, etc., or by Nymphs, Muses, Cupids -indeed, in the greatest possible number and variety of situations. Besides the vine, ivy, and rose, the panther, lion, lynx, ox, goat, and dolphin were sacred to him. His usual sacrifices were the ox and the goat.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Dionysus (Dionusos or Dionusos), the youthful, beautiful, but effeminate god of wine. He is also called both by Greeks and Romans Bacchus (Bakchos), that is, the noisy or riotous god, which was originally a mere epithet or surname of Dionysus, but does not occur till after the time of Herodotus. According to the common tradition, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, the daughter of Cadmus of Thebes (Hom. Hymn. vi. 56; Eurip. Bacch. init.; Apollod. iii. 4.3); whereas others describe him as a son of Zeus by Demeter, Io, Dione, or Arge (Diod. iii. 62, 74; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iii. 177; Plut. de Flum. 16). Diodorus (iii. 67) further mentions a tradition, according to which he was a son of Ammon and Amaltheia, and that Ammon, from fear of Rhea, carried the child to a cave in the neighbourhood of mount Nysa, in a lonely island formed by the river Triton. Ammon there entrusted the child to Nysa, the daughter of Aristaeus, and Athena likewise undertook to protect the boy. Others again represent him as a son of Zeus by Persephone or Iris, or describe him simply as a son of Lethe, or of Indus (Diod. iv. 4; Plut. Sympos. vii. 5; Philostr. Vit. Apollon. ii. 9). The same diversity of opinions prevails in regard to the native place of the god, which in the common tradition is Thebes, while in others we find India, Libya, Crete, Dracanum in Samos, Naxos, Elis, Eleutherae, or Teos, mentioned as his birthplace (Hom. Hymn. xxv. 8; Diod. iii. 65, v. 75; Nonnus, Dionys. ix. 6; Theocrit. xxvi. 33). It is owing to this diversity in the traditions that ancient writers were driven to the supposition that there were originally several divinities which were afterwards identified under the one name of Dionysus. Cicero (de Nat. Deor. iii 23) distinguishes five Dionysi, and Diodorus (iii. 63, &c.) three.
  The common story, which makes Dionysus a son of Semele by Zeus, runs as follows: Hera, jealous of Semele, visited her in the disguise of a friend, or an old woman, and persuaded her to request Zeus to appear to her in the same glory and majesty in which he was accustomed to approach his own wife Hera. When all entreaties to desist from this request were fruitless, Zeus at length complied, and appeared to her in thunder and lightning. Semele was terrified and overpowered by the sight, and being seized by the fire, she gave premature birth to a child. Zeus, or according to others, Hermes (Apollon. Rhod. iv. 1137) saved the child from the flames: it was sewed up in the thigh of Zeus, and thus came to maturity. Various epithets which are given to the god refer to that occurrence, such as purigenes, merorraphes, merotraphes and ianigena (Strab. xiii.; Diod. iv. 5; Eurip. Bacch. 295; Eustath. ad Hom.; Ov. Met. iv. 11). After the birth of Dionysus, Zeus entrusted him to Hermes, or, according to others, to Persephone or Rhea (Orph. Hymn. xlv. 6; Steph. Byz. s. v. Mastaura), who took the child to Ino and Athamas at Orchomenos, and persuaded them to bring him up as a girl. Hera was now urged on by her jealousy to throw Ino and Athamas into a state of madness, and Zeus, in order to save his child, changed him into a ram, and carried him to the nymphs of mount Nysa, who brought him up in a cave, and were afterwards rewarded for it by Zeus, by being placed as Hyades among the stars (Hygin. Fab. 182; Theon, ad Arat. Phaen. 177).
  The inhabitants of Brasiae, in Laconia, according to Pausanias (iii. 24.3), told a different story about the birth of Dionysus, When Cadmus heard, they said, that Semele was mother of a son by Zeus, he put her and her child into a chest, and threw it into the sea. The chest was carried by the wind and waves to the coast of Brasiae. Semele was found dead, and was solemnly buried, but Dionysus was brought up by Ino, who happened at the time to be at Brasiae. The plain of Brasiae was, for this reason, afterwards called the garden of Dionysus.
  The traditions about the education of Dionysus, as well as about the personages who undertook it, differ as much as those about his parentage and birthplace. Besides the nymphs of mount Nysa in Thrace, the muses, Lydae, Bassarae, Macetae, Mimallones (Eustath. ad Hom.), the nymph Nysa (Diod. iii. 69), and the nymphs Philia, Coronis, and Cleis, in Naxos, whither the child Dionysus was said to have been carried by Zeus (Diod. iv. 52), are named as the beings to whom the care of his infancy was entrusted. Mystis, moreover, is said to have instructed him in the mysteries (Nonn. Dionys. xiii. 140), and Hippa, on mount Tmolus, nursed him (Orph. Hymn. xlvii. 4); Macris, the daughter of Aristaeus, received him from the hands of Hermes, and fed him with honey. (Apollon. Rhod. iv. 1131.) On mount Nysa, Bromie and Bacche too are called his nurses (Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vi. 15). Mount Nysa, from which the god was believed to have derived his name, was not only in Thrace and Libya, but mountains of the same name are found in different parts of the ancient world where he was worshipped, and where he was believed to have introduced the cultivation of the vine. Hermes, however, is mixed up with most of the stories about the infancy of Dionysus, and he was often represented in works of art, in connexion with the infant god (Comp. Paus. iii. 18.7).
  When Dionysus had grown up, Hera threw him also into a state of madness, in which he wandered about through many countries of the earth. A tradition in Hyginus (Poet. Astr. ii. 23) makes him go first to the oracle of Dodona, but on his way thither he came to a lake, which prevented his proceeding any further. One of two asses he met there carried him across the water, and the grateful god placed both animals among the stars, and asses henceforth remained sacred to Dionysus. According to the common tradition, Dionysus first wandered through Egypt, where he was hospitably received by king Proteus. He thence proceeded through Syria, where he flayed Damascus alive, for opposing the introduction of the vine, which Dionysus was believed to have discovered (euretes ampelou). He now traversed all Asia (Strab. xv.; Eurip. Bacch. 13). When he arrived at the Euphrates, he built a bridge to cross the river, but a tiger sent to him by Zeus carried him across the river Tigris (Paus. x. 29; Plut. de Flum. 24). The most famous part of his wanderings in Asia is his expedition to India, which is said to have lasted three, or, according to some, even 52 years (Diod. iii. 63, iv. 3). He did not in those distant regions meet with a kindly reception everywhere, for Myrrhanus and Deriades, with his three chiefs Blemys, Orontes, and Oruandes, fought against him (Steph. Byz. s. vv. Blemues, Gazos, Gereia, Dardai, Eares, Zabioi, Malloi, Pandai, Sibai). But Dionysus and the host of Pans, Satyrs, and Bacchic women, by whom he was accompanied, conquered his enemies, taught the Indians the cultivation of the vine and of various fruits, and the worship of the gods; he also founded towns among them, gave them laws, and left behind him pillars and monuments in the happy land which he had thus conquered and civilized, and the inhabitants worshipped him as a god (Comp. Strab. xi.; Arrian, Ind. 5; Diod. ii. 38; Philostr. Vit. Apollon. ii. 9; Virg. Aen. vi. 805).
  Dionysus also visited Phrygia and the goddess Cybele or Rhea, who purified him and taught him the mysteries, which according to Apollodorus (iii. 5.1) took place before he went to India. With the assistance of his companions, he drove the Amazons from Ephesus to Samos, and there killed a great number of them on a spot which was, from that occurrence, called Panaema (Plut. Quaest. Gr. 56). According to another legend, he united with the Amazons to fight against Cronus and the Titans, who had expelled Ammon from his dominions (Diod. iii. 70, &c.). He is even said to have gone to Iberia, which, on leaving, he entrusted to the government of Pan (Plut. de Flum. 16). On his passage through Thrace he was ill received by Lycurgus, king of the Edones, and leaped into the sea to seek refuge with Thetis, whom he afterwards rewarded for her kind reception with a golden urn, a present of Hephaestus (Hom. Il. vi. 135, &c., Od. xxiv. 74; Schol. ad Hom. Il. xiii. 91. Comp. Diod. iii. 65). All the host of Bacchantic women and Satyrs, who had accompanied him, were taken prisoners by Lycurgus, but the women were soon set free again. The country of the Edones thereupon ceased to bear fruit, and Lycurgus became mad and killed his own son, whom he mistook for a vine, or, according to others (Serv. ad Aen. iii. 14) he cut off his own legs in the belief that he was cutting down some vines. When this was done, his madness ceased, but the country still remained barren, and Dionysus declared that it would remain so till Lycurgus died. The Edones, in despair, took their king and put him in chains, and Dionysus had him torn to pieces by horses. After then proceeding through Thrace without meeting with any further resistance, he returned to Thebes, where he compelled the women to quit their houses, and to celebrate Bacchic festivals on mount Cithaeron, or Parnassus. Pentheus, who then ruled at Thebes, endeavoured to check the riotous proceedings, and went out to the mountains to seek the Bacchic women; but his own mother, Agave, in her Bacchic fury, mistook him for an animal, and tore him to pieces (Theocrit. Id. xxvi.; Eurip. Bacch. 1142; Ov. Met. iii. 714, &c.).
  After Dionysus had thus proved to the Thebans that he was a god, he went to Argos. As the people there also refused to acknowledge him, he made the women mad to such a degree, that they killed their own babes and devoured their flesh (Apollod. iii. 5.2). According to another statement, Dionysus with a host of women came from the islands of the Aegean to Argos, but was conquered by Perseus, who slew many of the women (Paus. ii. 20.3, 22.1). Afterwards, however, Dionysus and Perseus became reconciled, and the Argives adopted the worship of the god, and built temples to him. One of these was called the temple of Dionysus Cresius, because the god was believed to have buried on that spot Ariadne, his beloved, who was a Cretan (Paus. ii. 23.7). The last feat of Dionysus was performed on a voyage from Icaria to Naxos. He hired a ship which belonged to Tyrrhenian pirates; but the men, instead of landing at Naxos, passed by and steered towards Asia to sell him there. The god, however, on perceiving this, changed the mast and oars [p. 1048] into serpents, and himself into a lion; he filled the vessel with ivy and the sound of flutes, so that the sailors, who were seized with madness, leaped into the sea, where they were metamorphosed into dolphins (Apollod. iii. 5.3; Hom. Hymn. vi. 44; Ov. Met. iii. 582, &c.). In all his wanderings and travels the god had rewarded those who had received him kindly and adopted his worship: he gave them vines and wine.
  After he had thus gradually established his divine nature throughout the world, he led his mother out of Hades, called her Thyone, and rose with her into Olympus. The place, where he had come forth with Semele from Hades, was shewn by the Troezenians in the temple of Artemis Soteira (Paus. ii. 31.2); the Argives, on the other hand, said, that he had emerged with his mother from the Alcyonian lake (Paus. ii. 37.5; Clem. Alex. Adm. ad Gr.). There is also a mystical story, that the body of Dionysus was cut up and thrown into a cauldron by the Titans, and that he was restored and cured by Rhea or Demeter (Paus. viii. 37.3; Diod. iii. 62; Phurnut. N. D. 28).
  Various mythological beings are described as the offspring of Dionysus; but among the women, both mortal and immortal, who won his love, none is more famous in ancient history than Ariadne. The extraordinary mixture of traditions which we have here had occasion to notice, and which might still be considerably increased, seems evidently to be made up out of the traditions of different times and countries, referring to analogous divinities, and transferred to the Greek Dionysus. We may, however, remark at once, that all traditions which have reference to a mystic worship of Dionysus, are of a comparatively late origin, that is, they belong to the period subsequent to that in which the Homeric poems were composed; for in those poems Dionysus does not appear as one of the great divinities, and the story of his birth by Zeus and the Bacchic orgies are not alluded to in any way : Dionysus is there simply described as the god who teaches man the preparation of wine, whence he is called the "drunken god " (mainomenos), and the sober king Lycurgus will not, for this reason, tolerate him in his kingdom (Hom. Il. vi. 132, &c., Od. xviii. 406, comp. xi. 325). As the cultivation of the vine spread in Greece, the worship of Dionysus likewise spread further; the mystic worship was developed by the Orphici, though it probably originated in the transfer of Phrygian and Lydian modes of worship to that of Dionysus. After the time of Alexander's expedition to India, the celebration of the Bacchic festivals assumed more and more their wild and dissolute character.
  As far as the nature and origin of the god Dionysus is concerned, he appears in all traditions as the representative of some power of nature, whereas Apollo is mainly an ethical deity. Dionysus is the productive, overflowing and intoxicating power of nature, which carries man away from his usual quiet and sober mode of living. Wine is the most natural and appropriate symbol of that power, and it is therefore called "the fruit of Dionysus" (Dionusou karpos; Pind. Fragm. 89). Dionysus is, therefore, the god of wine, the inventor and teacher of its cultivation, the giver of joy, and the disperser of grief and sorrow (Bacchyl. ap. Athen. ii. 40; Pind. Fragm. 5; Eurip. Bacch. 772). As the god of wine, he is also both an inspired and an inspiring god, that is, a god who has the power of revealing the future to man by oracles. Thus, it is said, that he had as great a share in the Delphic oracle as Apollo (Eurip. Bacch. 300), and he himself had an oracle in Thrace (Paus. ix. 30.5). Now, as prophetic power is always combined with the healing art, Dionysus is, like Apollo, called iatpos, or Wgiates (Eustath. ad Hom.), and at his oracle of Amphicleia, in Phocis, he cured diseases by revealing the remedies to the sufferers in their dreams (Paus. x. 33.5). Hence he is invoked as a Deos soter against raging diseases (Soph. Oed. Tyr. 210; Lycoph. 206). The notion of his being the cultivator and protector of the vine was easily extended to that of his being the protector of trees in general, which is alluded to in various epithets and surnames given him by the poets of antiquity (Paus. i. 31.2, vii. 21.2), and he thus comes into close connexion with Demeter (Paus. vii. 20.1; Pind. Isthm. vii. 3; Theocrit. xx. 33; Diod. iii. 64; Ov. Fast. iii. 736; Plut. Quaest. Gr. 36). This character is still further developed in the notion of his being the promoter of civilization, a law-giver, and a lover of peace (Eurip. Bacch. 420; Strab. x.; Diod. iv. 4). As the Greek drama had grown out of the dithyrambic choruses at the festivals of Dionysus, he was also regarded as the god of tragic art, and as the protector of theatres. In later times, he was worshipped also as a Deos chDonios, which may have arisen from his resemblance to Demeter, or have been the result of an amalgamation of Phrygian and Lydian forms of worship with those of the ancient Greeks (Paus. viii. 37.3; Arnob. adv. Gent. v. 19). The orgiastic worship of Dionysus seems to have been first established in Thrace, and to have thence spread southward to mounts Helicon and Parnassus, to Thebes, Naxos, and throughout Greece, Sicily, and Italy, though some writers derived it from Egypt (Paus. i. 2.4; Diod. i. 97). Respecting his festivals and the mode of their celebration, and especially the introduction and suppression of his worship at Rome, see Dict. of Ant. s. vv. Agrionia, Anthesteria, Haloa, Aiora, and Dionysia.
  In the earliest times the Graces, or Charites, were the companions of Dionysus (Pind. Ol. xiii. 20; Plut. Quaest. Gr. 36; Apollon. Rhod. iv. 424), and at Olympia he and the Charites had an altar in common (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. v. 10 ; Paus. v. 14 in fin.). This circumstance is of great interest, and points out the great change which took place in the course of time in the mode of his worship, for afterwards we find him accompanied in his expeditions and travels by Bacchantic women. called Lenae, Maenades, Thyiades, Mimallones, Clodones, Bassarae or Bassarides, all of whom are represented in works of art as raging with madness or enthusiasm, in vehement motions, their heads thrown backwards, with dishevelled hair, and carrying in their hands thyrsus-staffs (entwined with ivy, and headed with pine-cones), cymbals, swords, or serpents. Sileni, Pans, satyrs, centaurs, and other beings of a like kind, are also the constant companions of the god (Strab. x.; Diod. iv. 4. &c.; Catull. 64. 258 ; Athen i.; Paus. i. 2.7) .
  The temples and statues of Dionysus were very numerous in the ancient world. Among the sacrifices which were offered to him in the earliest times, human sacrifices are also mentioned (Paus. vii. 21.1; Porphyr. de Abstin. ii. 55). Subsequently, however, this barbarous custom was softened down into a symbolic scourging, or animals were substituted for men, as at Potniae (Paus. viii. 23.1, ix. 8.1). The animal most commonly sacrificed to Dionysus was a ram (Virg. Georg. ii. 380, 395; Ov. Fast. i. 357). Among the things sacred to him, we may notice the vine, ivy, laurel, and asphodel; the dolphin, serpent, tiger, lynx, panther, and ass; but he hated the sight of an owl (Paus. viii. 39.4; Theocrit. xxvi. 4; Plut. Sympos. iii. 5; Eustath. ad Hom.; Virg. Eclog. v. 30; Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 23; Philostr. Imay. ii. 17; Vit. Apollon. iii. 40). The earliest images of the god were mere Hermae with the phallus (Paus. ix. 12.3), or his head only was represented (Eustath. ad Hom.). In later works of art he appears in four different forms: 1. As an infant handed over by Hermes to his nurses, or fondled and played with by satyrs and Bacchae. 2. As a manly god with a beard, commonly called the Indian Bacchus. He there appears in the character of a wise and dignified oriental monarch; his features are expressive of sublime tranquillity and mildness; his beard is long and soft, and his Lydian robes (bassara) are long and richly folded. His hair sometimes floats down in locks, and is sometimes neatly wound around the head, and a diadem often adorns his forehead. 3. The youthful or so-called Theban Bacchus, was carried to ideal beauty by Praxiteles. The form of his body is manly and with strong outlines, but still approaches to the female form by its softness and roundness. The expression of the countenance is languid, and shews a kind of dreamy longing; the head, with a diadem, or a wreath of vine or ivy, leans somewhat on one side; his attitude is never sublime, but easy, like that of a man who is absorbed in sweet thoughts, or slightly intoxicated. He is often seen leaning on his companions, or riding on a panther, ass, tiger, or lion. The finest statue of this kind is in the villa Ludovisi 4. Bacchus with horns, either those of a ram or of a bull. This representation occurs chiefly on coins, but never in statues.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Dionysus. Son of Zeus and Semele and god of wine, vegetation, fertility and often celebrated at theaters. He surrounded himself with maenads (orgiastic women) and satyrs, and held constant festivities in the forests. Anyone who angered him was struck with madness.
  In art, Dionysus was depicted wearing a wreath of vineleaves, and holding the so called thyrsos rod in his hand. Dionysus was also connected with the seasons and the death- and resurrection beliefs of ancient times. His worshippers tried to reach a point of ecstasis (to stand out of one's body) and wine was an important factor in his rituals and the achievement of ecstasy. He was often depicted on the Greeks' sarcophaguses, and he was connected to the belief in immortality.
  Dionysus was a foreign god from the East, and came to Greece through Thrace. In mythology, his birth is quite remarkable, since Semele died before she gave birth to him. Zeus took the embryo out of its dying mother's womb, and put it in his thigh. After Dionysos was born out of Zeus' leg, Hermes took the baby to nymphs on the mountain Nysa that brought him up. This scene can be seen in the famous statue of Hermes and the baby Dionysus in Olympia.
  Dionysus was often celebrated at the harvests of the grapes, and each village would have annual Dionysus festivities. He was strongly connected to the island of Naxos, since he was said to have come across the by Theseus abandoned Ariadne and to then have married her.
  Dionysos was also the god of drama, especially tragedy, since this theatre was said to have been invented by the satyrs. They would sing and play roles, and the very word tragedy means “goat song”. Dionysos' drunken party that followed him around was called Komos, and from that we have the word comedy, which means “song by drunken party”. The Great Dionysia were annual festivals in Athens where dramatists competed with their plays. The god was also connected to the orphicism, again a mystery cult having to do with immortality and resurrection.
  The Romans called Dionysus Liber, but the Greek name Bacchus was more often used by them. Dionysos also had many epithets: Acratophorus, Acroreites, Aesymnetes, Agrionius, Amphietes, Antheus, Aroeus, Bassareus, Brisaeus, Calydonius, Cissus, Colonatas, Cresius, Eleuthereus, Hygiatis, Iatros, Lampter, Laphystius, Larymna, Limnaea, Lysius, Meilichius, Melanaegis, Melpomenus, Mesaetus, Methymnaeus, Mystos, Nyctelius, Nysaeus, Omaclius, Orthos, Psilas, Saotes.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

Bacchus Adoneus

Adoneus A surname of Bacchus, signifies the Ruler. (Auson. Epigr. xxix. 6.)

Dionysus Dendrites

Dendrites, the god of the tree, a surname of Dionysus, which has the same import as Dasyllius, the giver of foliage. (Plut. Sympos. 5; Paus. i. 43.5)


Eubuleus occurs also as a surname of several divinities, and describes them as gods of good counsel, such as Hades and Dionysus. (Schol. ad Nicand. Alex. 14; Orph. Hymn. 71. 3; Macrob. Sat. i. 18; Plut. Sympos. vii. 9.)

Statues & reliefs depicting Dionysos

Ino / Leucothea

Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, was identified with Leucothea, who was included among the marine divinities. In Homer she is mentioned to emerge from the sea and to help Odysseus to be saved and arrive at the land of the Phaeacians (Od. 5.334).
[also see location ORCHOMENOS (ancient city) Viotia, category Mythology/Kings - Athamas and Ino, and location ISTHMIA (ancient city) Korinthia, category Mythology/Ancient fables - Ino and Melicertes].

Ino. The daughter of Cadmus, and wife of Athamas. Being followed by the latter after he had been seized with madness, she fled to the cliff Moluris, between Megara and Corinth, and there threw herself into the sea with her infant son Melicertes. At the isthmus, however, mother and child were carried ashore by a dolphin, and, from that time forward, were honoured as marine divinities along the shores of the Mediterranean, especially on the coast of Megara and at the Isthmus of Corinth. Ino was worshipped as Leucothea, and Melicertes as Palaemon. They were regarded as divinities who aided men in peril on the sea. As early as Homer, we have Ino mentioned as rescuing Odysseus from danger by throwing him her veil (Od. v. 333-353). Among the Romans Ino was identified with Matuta

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Ino / Leucothea: Perseus Project

Ino / Leucothea: Various WebPages

Greek heroes of the Trojan War


He was the son of Creon and one of the leaders of the sentinels of the wall of the camp of the Achaeans (Il. 9.84, 12.366, 17.345).

Lycomedes: A son of Creon, one of the Greek warriors at Troy (Hom. Il. ix. 84); he was represented as a wounded man by Polygnotus in the Lesche at Delphi. (Paus. x. 25.2)

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

GLISSAS (Ancient city) THIVES
Glisas participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.504).

Trojan War

PETEON (Ancient city) VIOTIA
Peteon participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.500).

Trojan War

SCHINOS (Ancient city) THIVES
Schoenus participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.497).

Trojan War

Lower Thebe participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. Homer calls the it "euktimenon ptoliethron (= well-built citadel)" (Il. 2.505).



THIVES (Ancient city) VIOTIA
Father of Maeon from Thebes (Il. 4.394).

Haemon, a son of Creon of Thebes, perished, according to some accounts, by the sphinx (Apollod. iii. 5.8; Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 1760). But, according to other traditions, he survived the war of the Seven against Thebes, and he is said to have been in love with Antigone, and to have made away with himself on hearing that she was condemned by his father to be entombed alive (Soph. Antig. 627, &c.; Eurip. Phoen. 757, 1587; Ilygin. Fab. 72). In the Iliad (iv. 394) Macon is called a son of Haemon.


A hero from Thebes, son of Haemon, who lay an ambush with Polyphontes and 50 Cadmeians for Tydeus, but the latter was saved and slew all except Maeon (Il. 4.394), who, afterwards, in return buried Tudeus in Thebes (Paus. 9,18,2). lay in ambush for Tydeus

Maeon (Maion). The son of Haemon of Thebes. With Lycophontes he led a band which lay in ambush for Tydeus in the war of the Seven against Thebes. Tydeus spared his life, and was in return buried by Maeon after Tydeus had been slain

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


A Theban, father of Polyphontes (Il. 4.395).


He was the son of Zethus, king of Thebes, and Aedon, who killed him involuntarily (Od. 19.522).


A Theban, son of Autophonus, one of the leaders of an ambush consisted of fifty men, which aimed to the murder of Tydeus, but the latter escaped death and killed all the others except one, Maeon (Il. 4.395).



Aedon, daughter of Pandareus, wife of Zethus, king of Thebes, and mother of Itylus, slew by mistake her own son, while she wanted to kill the eldest son of Niobe, wife of her brother Amphion, out of envy because she had given birth to many children. After that, Zeus changed Aedon into a nightingale, whose melancholic singing represent her lamentations for her child (Od. 19.518).

Aedon (Aedon). A daughter of Pandareus, wife of Zethus, king of Thebes, and mother of Itylus. Envious of Niobe, the wife of her brother Amphion, who had six sons and six daughters, she resolved to kill the eldest of Niobe's sons, but by mistake slew her own son Itylus. Zeus relieved her grief by changing her into a nightingale, whose melancholy tunes are represented as Aedon's lamentations for her child.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Aedon. A daughter of Pandareus of Ephesus. According to Homer (Od. xix. 517), she was the wife of Zethus, king of Thebes, and the mother of Itylus. Envious of Niobe, the wife of her brother Amphion, who had six sons and six daughters, she formed the plan of killing the eldest of Niobe's sons, but by mistake slew her own son Itylus. Zeus relieved her grief by changing her into a nightingale, whose melancholy tunes are represented by the poet as Aedon's lamentations about her child (Compare Pherecydes, Fragm.; Apollod. iii. 5.5). According to a later tradition preserved in Antoninus Liberalis (c. 11), Aedon was the wife of Polytechnus, an artist of Colophon, and boasted that she lived more happily with him than Hera with Zeus. Hera to revenge herself ordered Eris to induce Aedon to enter upon a contest with her husband. Polytechnus was then making a chair, and Aedon a piece of embroidery, and they agreed that whoever should finish the work first should receive from the other a female slave as the prize. When Aedon had conquered her husband, he went to her father, and pretending that his wife wished to see her sister Chelidonis, he took her with him. On his way home he ravished her, dressed her in slave's attire, enjoined her to observe the strictest silence, and gave her to his wife as the promised prize. After some time Chelidonis, believing herself unobserved, lamented her own fate, but she was overheard by Aedon, and the two sistrs conspired against Polytechnus and killed his son Itys, whom they placed before him in a dish. Aedon fled with Chelidonis to her father, who, when Polytechnus came in pursuit of his wife, had him bound, smeared with honey, and thus exposed him to the insects. Aedon now took pity upon the sufferings of her husband, and when her relations were on the point of killing her for this weakness, Zeus changed Polytechnus into a pelican, the brother of Aedon into a whoop, her father into a sea-eagle, Chelidonis into a swallow, and Aedon herself into a nightingale. This mythus seems to have originated in mere etymologies, and is of the same class as that about Philomele and Procne.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


She was the daughter of Electryon, wife of Amphictryon and mother of Iphicles by the latter and of Heracles by Zeus (Il. 14.323, 19.98, Od. 11.266).

Zeus & Alcmene. T. Maccius Plautus, Amphitryon, or Jupiter in Disguise (ed. Henry Thomas Riley)

Editor’s Information:
More about Alcmene can be found at Tiryns , under Homeric world - Kings, Amphitryon & Alcmene


She was the daughter of Cadmus by Harmonia and mother of Dionysus by Zeus (Il. 14.323).


Oedipus & Epicaste (= Iocaste)

Epicaste is called by the tragic poets Iocaste. She was the daugher of Menoeceus and wife of Laius, king of Thebes, to whom she bore Oedipus. The latter, after having killed Laius, without knowing he was his father, and after having solved the enigma of Sphinx, he was awarded for his achievement Epicaste, to whom he got married without knowing as well that she was his mother. When the horrible truth came to light, Epicaste hanged herself (Od. 11.271), while Oedipus, according to the tragics, blinded himself and left to Attica, where he died. Yet Homer mentions that he remained king of Thebes and died there (Il. 23.677).

Oedipus (Oidipous), the son of Laius, king of Thebes, and of Iocasta (called in the Odyssey Epicaste), the daughter of Menoeceus. An oracle had warned Laius against having children, declaring that he would meet his death by means of his offspring; and the monarch accordingly practised continence until, after some lapse of time, having indulged in festivity, he forgot the injunction of the god, and Iocasta gave birth to a son. The father immediately delivered the child to his herdsman to expose on Mount Cithaeron. The herdsman, moved to compassion, according to one account (Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1038), gave the babe to a neat-herd belonging to Polybus, king of Corinth; or, as others say (Eurip. Phoeniss. 28), the neat-herds of Polybus found the infant after it had been exposed, and brought it to Periboea, the wife of Polybus, who, being childless, reared it as her own, and named it Oedipus, on account of its swollen feet (from oideo, "to swell", and pous, "a foot"); for Laius, previous to its exposure, had pierced its ankles, and had inserted through the wound a leathern thong. The foundling Oedipus was brought up by Polybus as his heir. Happening to be reproached by some one at a banquet with being a supposititious child, he besought Periboea to inform him of the truth; but, unable to get any satisfaction from her, he went to Delphi and consulted the oracle. The god directed him to shun his native country, or else he would be the slayer of his father and the sharer of his mother's bed. He therefore resolved never to return to Corinth, where so much crime, as he thought, awaited him, and he took his road through Phocis. Now it happened that Laius, at this same time, was on his way to Delphi, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the child which had been exposed had perished or not. He was in a chariot, accompanied by his herald Polyphontes; a few attendants came after. The father and son, total strangers to each other, met in a narrow road in Phocis. Oedipus was ordered to make way, and, on his disregarding the command, the charioteer endeavoured to crowd him out of the path. A contest thereupon ensued, and both Laius and the charioteer, together with all the attendants except one, who fled, were slain by the hand of Oedipus.
   Immediately after the death of Laius, Here, always hostile to the city of Bacchus, sent a mon ster named the Sphinx to ravage the territory of Thebes. It had the face of a woman, the breast, feet, and tail of a lion, and the wings of a bird. This monster had been taught riddles by the Muses, and she sat on the Phicean Hill, and propounded one to the Thebans. It was this: "What is that which has one voice, is four-footed, twofooted, and at last three-footed?" or, as others give it, "What animal is that which goes on four feet in the morning, on two at noon, and on three at evening?" The oracle told the Thebans that they would not be delivered from her until they had solved her riddle. They often met to try their skill; and when they had failed, the Sphinx always carried off and devoured one of their number. At length Haemon, son of Creon, having become her victim, the father offered by public proclamation the throne, to which he had succeeded on the death of Laius, and the hand of his sister Iocasta, to whoever should solve the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus, who was then at Thebes, hearing this, came forward and answered the Sphinx that it was Man, who, when an infant, creeps on all fours; when he has attained to manhood, goes on two feet; and when old, uses a staff, a third foot. The Sphinx thereupon flung herself down to the earth and perished; and Oedipus now unknowingly accomplished the remainder of the oracle. He had by his mother two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene.
   After some years Thebes was afflicted with famine and pestilence; and the oracle being consulted, ordered the land to be purified of the blood which defiled it. Inquiry was set on foot after the murder of Laius, and a variety of concurring circumstances brought the guilt home to Oedipus. Iocasta, on the discovery being made, hung herself, and her unhappy son and husband, in his grief and despair, put out his eyes. He was banished from Thebes; and, accompanied by his daughters, who faithfully adhered to him, he came, after a tedious period of miserable wandering, to the grove of the Eumenides at Colonus, a village not far from Athens, and there found the termination of his wretched life, having mysteriously disappeared from mortal view, and been received into the bosom of the earth, the secret of his death and burial being known to Theseus only.
   Such is the form in which the history of Oedipus has been transmitted to us by the Attic dramatists. We will now consider its most ancient shape. The hero of the Odyssey says: "I saw (in Erebus) the mother of Oedipodes, the fair Epicasta, who, in her ignorance, did an awful deed, marrying her own son; and he married, having slain his own father, and immediately the gods made this known unto men. Now he ruled over the Cadmaeans in desirable Thebes, suffering woes through the pernicious councils of the gods; but she, oppressed with grief, went to the abode of Aides, the strong gate-keeper, having fastened a long halter to the lofty roof, and left to him many woes, such as the avenging furies of a mother produce" (Od. xi. 271 foll.). In the Iliad (xxiii. 679) the funeral games are mentioned which were celebrated at Thebes in honour of the "fallen Oedipodes". Hesiod (Op. et D. 162) speaks of the heroes who fell fighting at the seven-gated Thebes, on account of the sheep of Oedipodes. It would also seem that, according to the above passage of the Odyssey and to the epic poem, the Oedipodea (Pausan. ix. 5, 11), Epicasta had not any children by her son; Eurygenia, the daughter of Hyperphas, being the mother of his well-known offspring. According to the cyclic Thebais, the fatal curse of Oedipus on his sons had the following origin: Polynices placed before his father a silver table which had belonged to Cadmus, and filled a golden cup with wine for him; but when Oedipus perceived the heir-looms of his family thus set before him, he raised his hands and prayed that his sons might never divide their inheritance peaceably, but ever be at strife. Elsewhere (ap. Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 1440) the Thebais said that his sons, having sent him the loin, instead of the shoulder, of the victim, he flung it to the ground, and prayed that they might fall by each other's hands.
   The story of Oedipus forms the subject of two plays of Sophocles, the Oedipus Tyrannus and the Oedipus Coleneus; and was also taken by Aeschylus as the subject of a trilogy, of which only the third play, the Seven against Thebes, remains. Seneca also wrote a Latin tragedy, the Oedipus, following the first play of Sophocles with considerable fidelity. In French, Corneille and Voltaire, and in English, Dryden, have also treated the same theme dramatically.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Epicaste (Epikaste), a daughter of Menoeceus, and wife of Laius, by whom she became the mother of Oedipus, whom she afterwards unwittingly married. She is more commonly called Jocaste (Hom. Od. xi. 271; Apollod. iii. 5.7, &c.).

Editor’s Information:
The plot of "Oedipus The King", the tragedy written by Sophocles, of which the e-text(s) is (are) found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings , is taking place in Thebes.

Amphion and Zethus

They were brothers, sons of Zeus and Antiope, and they came from Eutresis. They built the first walls of the seven-gated Thebes, where they became kings (Od. 11.262, Strab. 9,2,28). Previously, they had fortified Eutresis. Zethus was the husband of Aedon, daughter of Pandareus, who bore to him Itylus, and Amphion husband of Niobe, daughter of Tantalus.

Amphion. The son of Zeus and Antiope, and twin-brother of Zethus. They were born on Mt. Cithaeron, and grew up among the shepherds. Having become acquainted with their origin, they marched against Thebes, where Lycus reigned, the husband of their mother, Antiope, who had married Dirce in her stead. They took the city, and killed Lycus and Dirce because they had treated Antiope with great cruelty. They put Dirce to death by tying her to a bull, who dragged her about till she perished; and finally threw her body into a fountain, which was from this time called the fountain of Dirce. After they had obtained possession of Thebes, they fortified it by a wall. Amphion had received a lyre from Hermes, on which he played with such magic skill that the stones moved of their own accord and formed the wall. Amphion afterwards married Niobe, who bore him many sons and daughters, all of whom were killed by Apollo and Artemis, whereupon he put an end to his own life.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Amphion. A son of Zeus and Antiope, the daughter of Nycteus of Thebes, and twin-brother of Zethus (Ov. Met. vi. 110, &c.; Apollod. iii. 5.5). When Antiope was with child by the father of the gods, fear of her own father induced her to flee to Epopeus at Sicyon, whom she married. Nycteus killed himself in despair, but charged his brother Lycus to avenge him on Epopeus and Antiope. Lycus accordingly marched againt Sicyon, took the town, slew Epopeus, and carried Antiope with him to Eleutherae in Boeotia. During her imprisonment there she gave birth to two sons, Amphion and Zethus, who were exposed, but found and brought up by shepherds. According to Hyginus (Fab. 7), Antiope was the wife of Lycus, and was seduced by Epopeus. Hereupon she was repudiated by her husband, and it was not until after this event that she was visited by Zeus. Dirce, the second wife of Lycus, was jealous of Antiope, and had her put in chains; but Zeus helped her in escaping to mount Cithaeron, where she gave birth to her two sons. According to Apollodorus, she remained in captivity for a long time after the birth of her sons, who grew up among the shepherds, and did not know their descent. Hermes (according to others, Apollo, or the Muses) gave Amphion a lyre, who henceforth practised song and music, while his brother spent his time in hunting and tending the flocks (Horat. Epist. i. 18. 41, &c.). The two brothers, whom Euripides (Phoen. 609) calls "the Dioscuri with white horses", fortified the town of Entresis near Thespiae, and settled there (Steph. Byz.). Antiope, who had in the meantime been very ill-treated by Lycus and Dirce, escaped from her prison, her chains having miraculously been loosened; and her sons, on recognising their mother, went to Thebes, killed Lycus, tied Dirce to a bull, and had her dragged about till she too was killed, and then threw her body into a well, which was from this time called the well of Dirce. After having taken possession of Thebes, the two brothers fortified the town by a wall, the reasons for which are differently stated. It is said, that when Amphion played his lyre, the stones not only moved of their own accord to the place where they were wanted, but fitted themselves together so as to form the wall. Amphion afterwards married Niobe, who bore him many sons and daughters, all of whom were killed by Apollo (Apollod. iii. 5.6; Gellius, xx. 7; Hygin. Fab. 7, 8; Hom. Od. xi. 260, &c.; Paus. ix. 5.4). As regards the death of Amphion, Ovid (Met. vi. 271) relates, that he killed himself with a sword from grief at the loss of his children. According to others, he was killed by Apollo because he made an assault on the Pythian temple of the god (Hygin. Fab. 9). Amphion was buried together with his brother at Thebes (or, according to Stephanus Byzantius, s. v. Tithoraia, at Tithoraea), and the Tithoraeans believed, that they could make their own fields more fruitful by taking, at a certain time of the year, from Amphion's grave a piece of earth, and putting it on the grave of Antiope. For this reason the Thebans watched the grave of Amphion at that particular season (Paus. ix. 17. 3, &c.). In Hades Amphion was punished for his conduct towards Leto (ix. 5.4). The following passages may also be compared: Paus. ii. 6.2, vi. 20.8; Propert. iii. 13. 29. The punishment inflicted by Amphion and his brother upon Dirce is represented in one of the finest works of art still extant--the celebrated Farnesian bull, the work of Apollonius and Tauriscus, which was discovered in 1546, and placed in the palace Farnese at Rome. (Pliny, H. N. xxxvi. 4)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Cadmus & Harmonia

15th cent. B.C. Homer mentions that Cadmus was the father of Ino (Od. 5.333) and calls the inhabitants of Thebes "Cadme(i)ans" (Il. 4.391, 10.288, Od. 11.276, also see Il. 4.388, 23.680). He was the son of the native Ogygus and, according to tradition of the 5th cent. B.C., he came from the land of the Phoenicians.
Harmonia was his wife.

Cadmus (Kadmos). The son of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, and of Telephassa. His sister Europa being carried off by Zeus, Cadmus, with his brothers Phoenix and Cilix, was sent out with the command to look for her, and not to return without her. In the course of his wanderings he came to Thrace. Here his mother, who had accompanied him so far, breathed her last; and Cadmus applied for counsel to the Delphic oracle. He was advised not to seek his sister any more, but to follow a cow which would meet him, and found a city on the spot where she should lie down. The cow met him in Phocis, and led him into Boeotia. He was intending to sacrifice the cow, and had sent his companions to a neighbouring spring to bring the necessary water, when they were all slain by a serpent, the offspring of Ares and the Erinys Tisiphone, that guarded the spring. After a severe struggle, Cadmus destroyed the dragon, and at the command of Athene sowed its teeth over the neighbouring ground. A host of armed men sprang up, who immediately fought and slew each other, all except five. The survivors, who were called Spartoi, "sown", helped Cadmus to build the Cadmea, or the stronghold of what was afterwards Thebes, which bore his name. They were the ancestors of the Theban aristocracy; and one of them, Echion, "the serpent's son", became the husband of Cadmus's daughter, Agave. Cadmus did atonement to Ares for eight years for the slaughter of the dragon. Then Zeus gave him to wife Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, who bore him a son, Polydorus, and four daughters, Autonoe, Ino, Agave, and Semele. Crushed by the terrible doom which weighed upon his home, he afterwards sought retirement among the Euchelii in Illyria, a country which he named after his son Illyrius, who was born there. He resigned the kingdom to Illyrius; and then he and his wife Harmonia were changed into serpents, and carried by Zeus to Elysium.
   The ancient tradition was that Cadmus brought sixteen letters from Phoenicia to Greece, to which Palamedes added subsequently four more, th, x, ph, ch, and Simonides, at a still later period, four others, z, e, ps, o. The traditional alphabet of Cadmus is supposed to have been the following: A, B, G, D, E, Ph, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, and the names were, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Ei, Phau, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Ou, Pi, Rho, Zigma, Tau. The explanation which has just been given to the myth of Cadmus, and its connection with the Pelasgi, have an important bearing on the question relative to the existence of an early Pelasgic alphabet in Greece.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Cadmus (Kadmos), 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 Eurip. Phoen. 638, ad Aristoph. Ran. 1256; Paus. ix. 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 peplos 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 (iii. 1.1, &c.), which, with the exception of some particulars, agrees with the stories in Hyginus (Fab. 178) and Pausanias (ix. 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. iv. 2; Strab. vii., ix); but he is sometimes called a Tyrian (Herod. ii. 49; Eurip. Phoen. 639), and sometimes a Sidonian (Eurip. Bacch. 171; Ov. Met. iv. 571). Others regarded Cadmus as a native of Thebes in Egypt (Diod. i. 23; Paus. ix. 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; Hygin. Fab. 6, 178, 179). He is said to have introduced into Greece from Phoenicia or Egypt an alphabet of sixteen letters (Herod. v. 58, &c.; Diod. iii. 67, v. 57; Plin. H. N. vii. 56; Hygin. 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. ix. 10.1). Half of the teeth were given by Athena to Aeetes, king of Colchis (Apollon. Rhod. iii. 11 83; Apollod. i. 9.23; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 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. 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. iii. 24.3). According to the opinion of Herodotus (ii. 49), however, Melampus learned and received the worship of Dionysus from Cadmus, and other traditions too represent Cadmus as worshipping Dionysus (e.g. Eurip. Bacch. 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. iii. 15.6).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harmonia. The daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, and wife of Cadmus. At her marriage all the gods were present on the Acropolis of Thebes, and offered her their wedding-gifts. Cadmus gave her a costly garment and a necklace, the workmanship of Hephaestus, which he had received from Aphrodite, or (according to another account) from Europa. These gifts, so the story runs, had everywhere the fatal property of stirring up strife and bloodshed. It was with them that Polynices corrupted Eriphyle, who drove her husband Amphiaraus to his destruction in the Theban War, and was murdered in revenge by her son Alcmaeon. It was for their sake that Alcmaeon and Phegeus and his sons were slain. The jewels were at length deposited by the sons of Alcmaeon in the sanctuary of Delphi. According to a later story, Phayllus, a leader of the Phocians in the war against Philip of Macedon, carried off, among other treasures, the necklace of Harmonia, and gave it to his mistress, the wife of Ariston of Oeta; but her youngest son set fire to the house in a fit of madness, and the mother, with the necklace, was consumed.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harmonia, a daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, or, according to others, of Zeus and Electra, the daughter of Atlas, in Samothrace. When Athena assigned to Cadmus the government of Thebes, Zeus gave him Hannonia for his wife, and all the gods of Olympus were present at the marriage. Cadmus on that day made her a present of a peplus and a necklace, which he had received either from Hephaestus or from Europa. (Apollod. iii. 4.2.) Other traditions stated that Harmonia received this necklace (hormor) from some of the gods, either from Aphrodite or Athena. (Diod. iv. 48, v. 49; Pind. Pyth. iii. 167; Stat. Theb. ii. 266; comp. Hes. Theog. 934; Hom. Hymn. in Apoll. 195.) Those who described Harmonia as a Samothracian related that Cadmus, on Iris voyage to Samothrace, after being initiated in the mysteries, perceived Harmonia, and carried her off with the assistance of Athena. When Cadmus was obliged to quit Thebes, Harmonia accompanied him. When they came to the Encheleans, they assisted them in their war against the Illyrians, and conquered the enemy. Cadmus then became king of the Illyrians, but afterwards he and Harmonia were metamorphosed into dragons and transferred to Elysium; or, according to others, they were carried thither in a chariot drawn by dragons. (Apollod. iii. 5.4; Eurip. Bacch. 1233; Ov. Met. iv. 562, &c.) Harmonia is renowned in ancient story chiefly on account of the fatal necklace she received on her wedding day. Polyneices, who inherited it, gave it to Eriphyle, that she might persuade her husband,Amphiaraus, to undertake the expedition against Thebes. (Apollod. iii. 6.2 ; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iii. 167.) Through Alcmaeon, the son of Eriphyle, the necklace came into the hands of Arsinoe, next into those of the sons of Phegeus, Pronous and Agenor, and lastly into those of the sons of Alcomaeon, Amphoterus and Acarnan, who dedicated it in the temple of Athena Pronoea at Delphi. (Apollod. iii. 7.5-7.) The necklace had wrought mischief to all who had been in possession of it, and it continued to do so even after it was dedicated at Delphi. Phayllus, the tyrant, stole it from the temple to gratify his mistress, the wife of Ariston. She wore it for a time, but at last her youngest son was seized with madness, and set fire to the house, in which she perished with all her treasures. (Athen. vi. p. 232; Parthen. Erot. 25.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Cadmus and Europa. From the book:
Old Greek Stories by James Baldwin
Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children

Creon & Eurydice

Creon was the king of Thebes after Laius and father of Megara and Haemon. He purified Amphitryon after the death of Electryon (Od. 11.269).
Eurydice was his wife.

Creon (Kreon), the brother of Iocaste, mother and wife of Oedipus. He ascended the throne of Thebes after Eteocles and Polynices had fallen in mutual combat, and gave orders that the body of the latter should be deprived of funeral rites, on which circumstance is founded the plot of the Antigone of Sophocles.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Creon, a son of Menoecus, and king of Thebes. After the death of Laius, Creon gave the kingdom to Oedipus, who had delivered the country from the Sphinx; but after Oedipus had laid down the government, Creon resumed it. His tyrannical conduct towards the Argives, and especially towards Antigone, is well known from the Oedipus and Antigone of Sophocles. Creon had a son, Haemon, and two daughters, Henioche and Pyrrha (Apollod. iii. 5. 8, 7.1; Paus. ix. 10.3). A third mythical Creon is mentioned by Apollodorus. (ii. 7.8)

Eteocles & Polynices

The sons of Oedipus (Il. 4.377 & 386), who dethroned their father and agreed to reign alternately for a year. After the first year of the reign of Eteocles, he did not give the power to Polyneices and the latter went to Argos, where he married Argia, the daughter of Adrastus. With the aid of his father-in-law and with seven leaders Polyneices brought about an expedition against Thebes (The Seven against Thebes) in order to restore himself to the kingdom. In the battle, the Argives were defeated, all their leaders were killed and the two brothers fell in a duel.

Eteocles (Eteokles). A son of Oedipus and Iocasta. After his father's flight it was agreed between him and his brother Polynices that they should both share the kingdom and reign alter nately, each a year. Eteocles, by right of seniority, first ascended the throne; but after the first year of his reign had expired he refused to give up the crown to his brother according to their mutual agreement. Polynices, resolving to punish so gross a violation of a solemn engagement, fled to the court of Adrastus, king of Argos, where he married Argia, the daughter of that monarch; and having prevailed upon Adrastus to espouse his cause, the latter undertook what was denominated the First Theban War, twenty-seven years, as is said, before the Trojan one. Adrastus marched against Thebes with an army, of which he took the command, having with him seven celebrated chiefs, Tydeus, Amphiaraus, Capanaeus, Parthenopaeus, Hippomedon, Eteoclus, son of Iphis, and Polynices. The Thebans who espoused the cause of Eteocles were Melanippus and Ismarus, sons of Astacus, Polyphontes, Megareus, Lasthenes, and Hyperbius. All the Argive leaders, with the exception of Adrastus, fell before Thebes, Eteocles also being slain in single combat with Polynices. Ten years after the conclusion of this war arose that of the Epigoni, or the sons of the slain chieftains of Argos, who took up arms to avenge the death of their sires. Lists of the seven Argive commanders are given by Aeschylus in his Seven against Thebes, by Euripides in his Phoenissae and Supplices; and by Sophocles in his Oedipus Coloneus. They all agree, except that in the Phoenissae the name of Adrastus is substituted for that of Eteoclus.

Polynices (Poluneikes). Son of Oedipus and Iocaste, was driven out of Thebes by his brother Eteocles, and fled to Adrastus of Argos, who gave him his daughter Argia in marriage, and brought about the expedition of the Seven against Thebes in order to restore him. He fell in single combat with Eteocles. His body, which had been thrown to the birds, was buried by his sister Antigone. His son was Thersander

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



A blind seer, son of Everes and father of Manto. He died in Haliarta. Odysseus went to Hades to enquire the spirit of Teiresias concerning the return of his comrades and himself to Ithaca (Od. 10.492, 11.32, 23.251).

Teiresias. A Theban, was one of the most renowed soothsayers in all antiquity. He was blind from his seventh year, but lived to a very old age. The occasion of his blindness and of his prophetic power is variously related. In the war of the Seven against Thebes he declared that Thebes should be victorious if Menoeceus would sacrifice himself; and during the war of the Epigoni, when the Thebans had been defeated, he advised them to commence negotiations of peace, and to avail themselves of the opportunity that would thus be afforded them to take to flight. He himself fled with them (or, according to others, he was carried to Delphi as a captive), but on his way he drank from the well of Tilphusa, and died. Even in the lower world Tiresias was believed to retain the powers of perception, while the souls of other mortals were mere shades, and there also he continued to use his golden staff. The blind seer Tiresias acts so prominent a part in the mythical history of Greece that there is scarcely any event with which he is not connected in some way or other; and this introduction of the seer in so many occurrences, separated by long intervals of time, was facilitated by the belief in his long life. Tiresias is the subject of a fine poem by Lord Tennyson (1885).

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

GTP Headlines

Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.

Subscribe now!
Greek Travel Pages: A bible for Tourism professionals. Buy online

Ferry Departures