Cadmus was the son of Agenor and the brother of Europa.
He was the founder of the city of Thebes.
Zeus kidnapped Europa, Agenor
ordered her brothers -- Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix --
to search for her, instructing them not to return until
they had found her. It was a hopeless quest, and all three
brothers became exiles.
founded the country of Phoenicia, and Cilix established
consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to follow
a cow that he would find near the oracle; where the cow
lay down to rest, he should found a city. He followed
the cow to the future site of Thebes. There he instructed
his men to bring water so that he could offer a sacrifice
to Athena; however, the men encountered a giant serpent
which was sacred to Ares, and they were all killed.
came upon the carnage and gave battle, eventually slaying
the serpent. A voice then spoke to him, prophesying that
he himself would eventually become a serpent.
was left with a site for a city, but no one to help build
it. Athene intervened, telling him to sow the serpent's
teeth in the earth. He did so, and armed men sprang up
from the teeth.
fought one another until only five were left; these five
became the ancestors of the noble Thebans.
then spent eight years in servitude to Ares, as a penalty
for the killing of the serpent. Afterwards, Cadmus married
Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. The couple had
four daughters (Ino, Semele, Autonoe, and Agave) and one
the ends of their lives, Cadmus and Harmonia left Thebes
and went to Illyria. There they were transformed into
serpents, as the voice had foretold.