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In Greek mythology, Polydorus or Polydoros (/ˌpɒlɪˈdɔːrəs/; Ancient Greek: Πολύδωρος, i.e. "many-gift[ed]") was a king of Thebes.

Theban king
Personal information
ParentsCadmus and Harmonia
SiblingsSemele, Ino, Agave, and Autonoë



Polydorus was the eldest son of Cadmus and Harmonia[1][2] but younger than Semele,[3] his other sisters were Autonoë, Ino and Agave. He was the father of Labdacus[4] by Nycteïs, the daughter of Nycteus.

Last of all Harmonia added a little son to the brood of sisters, and made Cadmos happy – Polydoros, the morning star of the Aonian nation, younger than rosy cheek Semele[5]


Upon the death of Cadmus, Pentheus, the son of Echion and Agave, after banishing Polydorus[6] ruled Thebes for a short time until Dionysus prompted Agave to kill Pentheus.[7] Polydorus then succeeded Pentheus as king of Thebes and married Nycteïs.[8] When their son Labdacus was still young, Polydorus died of unknown causes, entrusting his father-in-law Nycteus to care the infant prince and to be his regent.[9]

In Pausanias's history, Polydorus' rule began when his father abdicated the throne and together with her mother Harmonia migrated to the Illyrian tribe of the Enchelii, but this is the only source for such a timeline.[10] It is also said that along with the thunderbolt hurled at the bridal chamber of Semele there fell a log from heaven. This log was adorned by Polydorus with bronze and called it Dionysus Cadmus.[11]

A different account by Diodorus stated that the Thebans were exiled a second time (the first time during the reign of Cadmus) for Polydorus came back and was dissatisfied with the situation because of the misfortunes that had befallen Amphion, the previous king,[12] in connection with his children.[13]


Family tree of Theban Royal HouseEdit


  1. ^ Hesiod. Theogony, 978, Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 3.4.2, Diodorus Siculus. Bibliotheca historica, 4.2.1 & Nonnus. Dionysiacca, 5.208
  2. ^ Nonnus. Dionysiacca, 5.208
  3. ^ Nonnus. Dionysiaca, 5.298
  4. ^ Herodotus. The Histories, 5.59, Euripides. The Phoenician Women, 1, Arrian. The Anabasis of Alexander, 2.16.1 & Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus, 267
  5. ^ Nonnus. Dionysiaca, 5.207ff
  6. ^ Nonnus. Dionysiaca, 46.259
  7. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 3.5.2
  8. ^ Hyginus. Fabulae, 76
  9. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 3.5.5 & Pausanias. Description of Greece, 2.6.2 & 9.5.4
  10. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece, 9.5.3
  11. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece, 9.12.4
  12. ^ Diodorus Siculus. Bibliotheca historica, 19.53.5 This was contradicting to the stories of Apollodorus because Polydorus had already died when Amphion ruled on Thebes and after Amphion's death Polydorus' grandson Laius reigned after.
  13. ^ i.e. the Niobides, slain by Apollo and Artemis to punish their mother Niobê, who had presumed to compare herself with Leto


Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Thebes Succeeded by