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1. Of Miletus, a son of Pandion, and in all probability the earliest Greek historian or logographer.

He lived, according to the vague statement of Josephus (c. Apion. 1.2; comp. Clem. Al. Strom. vi. p. 267), very shortly before the Persian invasion of Greece; and Suidas makes the singular statement, that Cadmus was only a little younger than the mythical poet Orpheus, which arises from the thorough confusion of the mythical Cadmus of Phoenicia and the historian Cadmus. But there is every probability that Cadmus lived about B. C. 540. Strabo (i. p.18) places Cadmus first among the three authors whom he calls the earliest prose writers among the Greeks: viz. Cadmus, Pherecydes, and Hecataeus; and from this circumstance we may infer, that Cadmus was the most ancient of the three--an inference which is also confirmed by the statement of Pliny (Plin. Nat. 5.31), who calls Cadmus the first that ever wrote (Greek) prose. When, therefore, in another passage (7.56) Pliny calls Pherecydes the most ancient prose writer, and Cadmus of Miletus simply the earliest historian, we have probably to regard this as one of those numerous inconsistencies into which Pliny fell by following different authorities at different times, and forgetting what he had said on former occasions. All, therefore, we can infer from his contradicting himself in this case is, that there were some ancient authorities who made Pherecydes the earliest Greek prose writer, and not Cadmus; but that the latter was the earliest Greek historian, seems to be an undisputed fact.


Κτίσις Μιλήτου καὶ τῆς ὅλης Ἰωνίας

Cadmus wrote a work on the foundation of Miletus and the earliest history of Ionia generally, in four books (Κτίσις Μιλήτου καὶ τῆς ὅλης Ἰωνίας). This work appears to have been lost at a very early period, for Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Jud. de Thuc. 23) expressly mentions, that the work known in his time under the name of Cadmus was considered a forgery.

Confusion with Cadmus of Miletus

When Suidas and others (Bekker's Anecd. p. 781), call Cadmus of Miletus the inventor of the alphabet, this statement must be regarded as the result of a confusion between the mythical Cadmus, who emigrated from Phoenicia into Greece; and Suidas is, in fact, obviously guilty of this confusion, since he says, that Cadmus of Miletus introduced into Greece the alphabet which the Phoenicians had invented.

Further Information

Comp. Clinton, Fast. Hell. ii. p. 454, 3rd edition.

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