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[30] It did not escape the Oeneidae that Semele was the daughter of Cadmus, and of her was born one whom it would be sacrilegious to name at this tomb,1 and by him Oeneus was begotten, who was called the founder of their race.2 Since the danger in question was common to both States, on behalf of both they thought themselves bound to endure any Anguish to the end.3 The Cecropidae were well aware that their founder was reputed to have been part dragon, part human, for no other reason than this, that in understanding he was like a man, in strength like a dragon. So they assumed that their duty was to perform feats worthy of both.

1 Dionysus, or Bacchus, god of wine, who, as an Olympian, could not associate with death.

2 Two demes in Attica were named Oenoe, which was sufficient to justify the invention of a hero Oeneus, but he is not to be confused with the Homeric hero of this name who was associated with Calydon in Aetolia and with Argos. The word means “wineman,” fromοἶνος. At Athens the anniversary of this hero fell in the month Gamelion, like the Lenaea of Dionysus. It was natural, therefore, to call him the son of the god, but the relationship plays no part in recorded myths.

3 The suggestion is that the Oeneidae would have felt equally bound to fight on behalf of Thebes, of which the founder was Cadmus, and on behalf of Athens, one of whose heroes was Oeneus, great-grandson of Cadmus. This is the weakest link in this series.

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