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A legend about the foundation of Budva

The most famous authentic legend about the foundation of Budva was told by Stefan the Byzantine (6th c.) who reported the statements by Philon of Biblos from the second century AD, and it is related to a mythical character Cadmus, a hero from Boeotia and founder of the town of Thebes, the son of the Phoenician king Agenor and queen Telefasa.

Cadmus left his homeland in order to find his sister Europa who had been carried off by Zeus.  Unsuccessful, he consulted the Delphic oracle, which ordered him to give up his quest, follow a cow, and build a town on the spot where she lay down. The cow guided him to Boeotia (Cow Land), where he founded the well-known city of Thebes, which he was ruling for many years.  Gods gave him as a wife Harmonia, daughter of the divinities Ares and Aphrodite.

In their old age, Cadmus and Harmonia were expelled from Thebes, and on an oxen-drawn carriage came to the land of Encheleae (Enchelleae), where they founded a new town – Budva (Bouthoe).

According to the legend, the name of Budva derived from the Greek word for oxen (in Greek language: bous – oxen).

It was prophesied that Encheleae (Enchelleae) would defeat their neighbours, the Illyrians, if they chose Cadmus as their leader. After doing so, led by Cadmus, they defeated the Illyrians and assumed control over their land.   

There, Harmonia bore a son to Cadmus, named Illyrion.  Towards the end of their life, Cadmus and Harmonia were punished by gods for killing a dragon, who was Ares’ son, and changed into blue-spotted serpents. Their grave, according to the legend, is somewhere on the territory of Boka Kotorska or Drač.

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