Today is Wednesday and I’m running D&D tonight, so I’ve immersed myself in my research of Greek history and mythology. I’ve finished hammering out my still-somewhat-preliminary-but-pretty-close-to-finished map of Phocis, which includes Delphi, the Spercheios valley, and lots of places in between.

While researching and mapping, I started to get really anxious about the legends behind my version of Boeotia, and I finally broke under pressure and started mapping out myths. First, I stripped Apollo from most of the background myths. He technically won’t be appearing as a major deity for a good long while.

Since I made Apollo subordinate to Demeter, who is a greater god by comparison, I changed over a lot of his myths to use her and her heroes instead, and one of the ones that really fired up my imagination was the slaying of the dragon Python and the dedication of the oracle at Delphi. It’s kind of a big deal.

I’ve bleached and simplified the myth of Cadmus, the legendary founder of Thebes, and rather than being the son of a Phoenician king, he’s the son of a Phocion (of Phocis) nymph – Agriope, daughter of the river-god Cephissus. This basically eliminates one side of his parentage that makes him totally foreign to Greece.

Rather than being the bringer of the alphabet, he’s pretty much a straight-up hero and dragon-slayer. I might even go back and rework my novel, The Dragonslayers, to be about Cadmus and his journeys. That would actually be pretty cool, now that I think about it. Anyway, I thought I might share with you the “condensed” version.

(Incidentally, though Cadmus unifies the disparate Aonian tribes and they build the city of Cadmeia, it won’t be until much later that the city is called Thebes.)


Cadmus was born in the region of Phocis to the spring-nymph Argiope, herself a daughter of the river-god Cephissus. He was a hero of Demeter who slew the dragon Python, one of Gaia’s bestial children, and purified the Castalian Spring, making the way for the future oracle of Delphi.

For his transgression against Gaia, Cadmus was exiled from Phocis and wandered to Boeotia, accompanied by the blind seer Tiresias (a shaman of Demeter). After he first arrived in Boeotia, which was called Aonia by its primeval inhabitants, Cadmus fought against the tribes before later unifying them into five of the seven noble families that would form the backbone of Cadmeia (Thebes).

Cadmus married the Aones earth-shaman Harmonia, took up the mantle of king, and together they established the Cadmeian dynasty. His daughters included Agave (who married Echion, who bore Pentheus), Autonoe, and Semele. He eventually abdicated the throne of Cadmeia to his grandson Pentheus.

Both Cadmus and Harmonia were said to have been transformed into serpents (or dragons) at the end of their long lives.