401 Claudia Cohen Hall
The Aigeidai were, according to Pindar and Aristotle, a great Theban clan whose legendary pedigree went back to Kadmos: when Kadmos set out from Tyre in search for his sister Europa, his first stop was Thera. Some of his men were left behind to establish a settlement. Eight generations later, a group of Spartan colonists under the leadership of Theras sailed to the island to take over from Kadmos’ settlers. Theras himself was said to be of Kadmeian descent, which is why Herodotus calls the Aigeidai a great Spartan clan. In my talk, I will trace the rise of these traditions. Already in antiquity, writers were puzzled over the connection between Kadmos, the Aigeidai, and the foundation of Sparta. I will offer my own reading of the riddle, suggesting that the entangled narrative was, ultimately, grounded in ‘real’ historical developments in Iron Age Greece.