CAD'MUS. Once upon a time Zeus, the chief of the Greek gods, took upon himself the shape of a bull and carried off the maiden Europa, from whom, according to the story, the continent of Europe was named.
Her brother Cadmus, together with his mother and brothers, were sent to recover her. After a long vain search, Cadmus, weary of the hopeless task of out witting Zeus, consulted the Delphic oracle, who told him to give up his quest, follow a cow which he should meet, and when she lay down, to take that spot for the site of a city.
As the oracle prophesied, Cadmus met the cow and followed her to Boeo tia. When the cow lay down to rest, Cadmus sent his followers to a spring to bring water, for he intended to sacrifice the cow to the gods and needed water for the sacrifice. A dragon, sacred to Ares (Mars), lay in hiding near the spring, and killed Cadmus' comrades. Quickly Cadmus rushed upon the dragon and slew it. Then the goddess Athena (Minerva) appeared and ordered him to sow the dragon's teeth like seed in the ground. Cadmus obeyed, and immediately there sprang up armed men who fought among themselves until only five re mained. These became Cadmus' subjects, and helped him to build the citadel of his new city, Thebes. A later legend says that Cadmus brought the Phoenician alphabet into Greece and so became " the father of letters."