Cadmus is a Phoenician prince in Greek mythology who was said to be the originator of the old Alphabet of the Greeks; the grandfather of the modern alphabet. He was also known as the founder of the city of Thebes. According to the Biblical timeline, Cadmus lived around the time of Ehud, the second Judge of Israel.
He was the son of the king and queen of Tyre, Agenor and Telephassa. His conquests started when he was sent to escort Europa, his sister, who was abducted by Zeus. In is a search for his sister, he later settled in Boeotia. Aside from a sister, Cadmus also had two other siblings, Phoenix and Cilix. Their father sent out all the brothers to search for their sister and commanded them never to return without her.
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Phoenicia was an ancient place located around the area of Canaan. The 14th BC Amama Tablets showed that the people in Phoenicia at that time referred to themselves as Kinaani or Canaanites. They were maritime traders who claimed much of the great Mediterranean coastline. Cadmus sister Europa was said to have been abducted from the very shores of this ancient civilization. Phoenicia was actually a Greek term that referred to the Canaanites’ port towns. They were also known as remarkable seafarers.
Phoenicia has remarkable alphabetic writing that was already established in the first millennium BC. They had 22 letters widely used, especially in one of their cities, Byblos in 1500 BC. These were the letters that, thanks to Cadmus, influenced not only the Greek but the whole modern language of today.
Cadmus the Founder of Thebes
Cadmus is a legendary hero, as written in the history of Greece, who founded the city of Thebes. When Cadmus came to Boeotia in his search for his sister, he started the line of Thebes’ royal family.
When the brothers realized that the search for their sister was futile, Cadmus brothers settled in other places. Phoenix stayed somewhere in Phoenicia and Cilix inhabited and ruled Cilicia as a king. Cadmus wanderings led him to Delphi. There, he met with the Oracle and he was ordered to stop looking for his sister as she had not been abducted by an ordinary bull but by Zeus. Instead, he needed to follow a cow with a half moon on the flank to find the place in which to build a city. The cow, given by the King of the Phocis, Pelagon, guided Cadmus to a place called Boetia. There, he founded his own city called Thebes.
Cadmus was said to have so angered Ares when he killed his Dragon that he had to serve him in penance for eight years. After the penance, he met Harmonia and they got married. However, Cadmus did not have a wonderful life. It was filled with tragedy and ill fortune.
Cadmus in the Bible
The Phoenician scripts were also the first letters used to translate the Bible. It was said that the ancient Hebrew language was, in fact, a Canaanite (Phoenician) language as stated in a Bible passage (Isaiah 19:18) where all the Hebrew people had taken the language as their own.
Cadmus, as the one who influenced so many in their writings, might have come across the Biblical characters due to their timeline.
In fact, the Book of Judges telling the history of Ehud was a part of the historical book, the Greek Septuagint. In the scriptures, the Book of Judges relates the period after Joshua subdued the Canaanites and the land was distributed to the 12 tribes of Israel (Joshua 14:1). This just shows that the Hebrew people had a great influence and might even have crossed path with the Prince of Tyre when the Israelites settled in Canaan or Phoenicia.