In history and Greek mythology, Agenor ( Ἀγήνωρ, Αγήνωρ ) (which means "very manly") was a king of Tyre. His wife was Telephassa.


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 Anchinoe.

Sources differ also as to Agenor's children; he is sometimes said to have been the father of Cadmus, Europa, Cilix, Phoenix, and Thasus. Some sources state that Phoenix was Agenor's brother (and Belus' son); and it was Phoenix who was the father of these individuals.

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

But most of our later sources make Cadmus and Cilix sons of Agenor directly without Phoenix intervening. If mentioned at all, Phoenix is their brother.

It really doesn't matter much. Even when Phoenix appears as Cadmus' brother he has no role to play other than eventually somehow ending up as heir to his father to become 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 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. Europa's father, meanwhile, sent Europa's brothers, Cadmus and Cilix in search of her along with other brothers in some versions: Phineus or Thasus (and of course Phoenix in the versions where the Cadmus' father is Agenor).

So Cadmus went on a quest to find his disappeared sister. Upon consulting the oracle of Delphi, he 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.

It is thought that the name Agenor may represent an unknown name by which the Phoenicians called themselves, perhaps related to Canaan.

Virgil I, 338

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