In This Chapter

The Mythical History of Thebes

Authored by: Robin Hard

The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology

Print publication date:  June  2008
Online publication date:  October  2003

Print ISBN: 9780415186360
eBook ISBN: 9780203446331
Adobe ISBN: 9781134664061


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The great city of Thebes in southern Boeotia, which ranked with Argos as the most important centre in mythical Greece, was ruled by the second main branch of the Inachid family. As was explained above (see p. 231), an early Argive princess, Io, a descendant (or even daughter) of the Argive river-god Inachos, wandered far away from her native Argos to settle in Egypt; and in that land, her granddaughter Libye subsequently bore twin sons to Poseidon called Belos and Agenor, who were the founders of the two principal branches of the family. Danaos, a son of Belos, returned to his ancestral homeland of Argos to found its Belid ruling line (see p. 233), while Kadmos and Europa, two children of Agenor who were born in Phoenicia where their father had settled, were destined to found the Agenorid ruling lines at Thebes and Crete respectively. We will follow the history of Kadmos’ Theban line in the present chapter before returning to Europa and her descendants on Crete in the next.

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