Agenor (Gr. polytonic|Ἀγήνωρ, "heroic, manly") [cite book | last = Liddell | first = Henry | authorlink = Henry Liddell | coauthors = Robert Scott | title = A Greek-English Lexicon | publisher = Oxford University Press | year = 1996 | location = Oxford | pages = 9 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0-19-864226-1] was in Greek mythology and history a Phoenician king of Tyre.Citation | last = Schmitz | first = Leonhard | author-link = | contribution = Agenor (1) | editor-last = Smith | editor-first = William | title = Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology | volume = 1 | pages = 68 | publisher = Little, Brown and Company | place = Boston | year = 1867 | contribution-url = ] His wife was Telephassa. Herodotus estimates that Agenor lived sometime before the year 2000 B.C. [Herodotus, Histories, II, [;query=chapter%3D%23367;layout=;loc=2.144.1 2.145] ]


Some sources state that Agenor was the son of Poseidon and Libya; these accounts refer to a brother named Belus. According to other sources, he was the son of Belus and Achiroe.

Sources differ also as to Agenor's children; he is sometimes said to have been the father, by Telephassa, of Cadmus, Europa, Cilix, Phoenix, and Thasus. [Scholiast, "ad Eurip. Phoen." 5] [Hyginus, "Fabulae" 178] [Pausanias, "Description of Greece" v. 25. §7] [Scholiast, "ad Apollon. Rhod." ii. 178, iii. 1185.] Some sources state that Phoenix was Agenor's brother (and Belus's son); and it was Phoenix who was the father of these individuals.

In the "Iliad", however, Europa is clearly a daughter of Phoenix. [Homer, "Iliad" 14.321–22] Either Cadmus or Europa are confirmed as children of Phoenix by the "Ehoeae" attributed to Hesiod and by Bacchylides and by various scholia. Cilix and Phineus are also sons of Phoenix according to Pherecydes, [Pherecydes, 3F86] who also adds an otherwise unknown son named Doryclus.

Most later sources list Cadmus and Cilix as sons of Agenor directly without mentioning Phoenix. On the rare occasions when he is mentioned, Phoenix is listed as the brother of Cadmus and Cilix.

Whether he is included as a brother of Agenor or as a son, his role in mythology is limited to inheriting his father's kingdom and to becoming the eponym of the Phoenicians. All accounts agree on a Phoenician king who has several children, including the two sons named Cadmus and Cilix and a daughter named Europa.


Zeus saw Agenor's daughter Europa gathering flowers and immediately fell in love with her. Zeus transformed himself into a white bull and carried Europa away to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Agenor, meanwhile, sent Europa's brothers, Cadmus and Cilix in search of her, telling them not to return without her. In some versions of the tale, Agenor sends her other brothers as well: Phineus or Thasus (and of course Phoenix in the versions where the Cadmus's father is Agenor).

As Europa could not be found, none of the brothers returned. [Apollodorus, iii. 1. § 1] [Hyginus, "Fabulae" 178] Cadmus consulted the oracle of Delphi and was advised to travel until encountering a cow. He was to follow this cow and to found a city where the cow would lie down; this city became Thebes. Cilix searched for her and settled down in Asia Minor. The land was called Cilicia after him.

Agenor and city-founding

Virgil calls Carthage the city of Agenor, [Virgil, "Aeneid" i. 338] by which he alludes to the descent of Dido from Agenor. German philologist Philipp Karl Buttmann points out that the genuine Phoenician name of Agenor was "Chnas" or "Khna", which is the same as Canaan, and upon these facts he builds the hypothesis that Agenor or Chnas is the same as the Canaan in the books of Moses. Quintus Curtius Rufus considered Agenor to have been the founder of Sidon, and he was also popularly supposed to have introduced the Phoenician alphabet, which was later taught by Cadmus to the Greeks and became the foundation of their own writing system. [cite book | last = Raleigh | first = Walter | authorlink = Walter Raleigh | coauthors = William Oldys (ed.) | title = The Works of Sir Walter Raleigh | publisher = | date = | location = | pages = 224, 274-278 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ]


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