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Cadmus, in Greek legend, son of Agenor and founder of Thebes. Misfortune followed his family because he killed the sacred dragon that guarded the spring of Ares. Athena told him to sow the dragon's teeth, and from these sprang the Sparti [sown men], ancestors of the noble families of Thebes. Cadmus married Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. At their wedding he presented her with a sacred robe and necklace, made by Hephaestus, which later brought misfortune to their possessors (see Amphiaraüs; Alcmaeon). They had four daughters—Ino, Semele, Autonoe, and Agave. In their old age Cadmus and Harmonia were turned into serpents by Zeus and sent to live in the Elysian fields.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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