In Greek legend, Byzas (Greek Βύζας, Βύζαντας) was the eponymous founder of Byzantium (Greek Βυζάντιον), the city later known as Constantinople and Istanbul.

Founding of Byzantium

Byzas was a Greek colonist from the Dorian city of Megara, son of King Nisos (Greek Νίσος), who consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The oracle instructed Byzas to settle opposite from the "Land of the Blind". Leading a group of Megarian colonists, Byzas found a location opposite Chalcedon, where the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn meet and flow into the Sea of Marmara. He determined the Chalcedonians must have been blind not to recognize the advantages the land on the European side of the Bosphorus had over the Asiatic side, and in 667 BC founded Byzantium on the European side, thus completing the oracle's quest.

on of Poseidon

In Greek mythology, Byzas was a son of Poseidon by Keroessa.

Zeus fell in love with Io, the daughter of Inachus, King of Argos and god of the river of Argos. Zeus temporarily transformed his mistress into a heifer in order to protect her from the wrath of his wife Hera. In her wanderings Io crossed the Bosphorus, giving the strait its name ("boos-foros", which is Greek for "cow-ford"). After reassuming her original form, she gave birth to a girl, Keroessa.

Keroessa later bore a son to Poseidon, elder brother of Zeus and lord of all waters from the Pillars of Hercules to the Hellespont. This son, Byzas the Megarian, in time became the founder of Byzantium and named the Golden Horn (Greek Χρυσοκερας (Khrysokeras or Chrysoceras) after his mother. Some sources say that Byzas was brought up by the naiad Byzia and married Phidaleia, daughter of King Barbyzos.


* [ Istanbul Historical Information - Istanbul Informative Guide To The City] . Retrieved Jan. 6, 2005.
* [ The Useful Information about Istanbul] . Retrieved Jan. 6, 2005.

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