It is imperative to know that the Greeks were very much influenced by the Phoenicians in all matters of Culture and Religion. The Alphabet, for example, known to the western world through the Greeks was actually based on the Phoenician Phonetic Alphabet, but were the Gods of Greece from the Phoenician Royal House of Agenor, King of Tyre ?!
. Who was Agenor?
Agenor was the King of Tyre, the most prominent king of Phoenicia in his days, whose influence spread throughout all the cities of “Phoenicia Prima“ (Lebanon), and across “Phoenicia Maritima“ (the Phoenician settlements and cities established all around the Mediterranean).
According to Herodotus‘s The Histories, Agenor reigned before 2000 B.C. (fn1) He was the brother of Belus (ruler of Egypt), and son of Poseidon and Lybia. (fn2) His wife, Telephe (daughter of Tyro), begot him 4 children: Phoenix, Cadmus, Cilix, and Europa.
It is important to keep in mind that the sources that teach us about this Phoenician Royal House are Greek, and the judgments of the writers are impacted by the socio-political circumstances of their times, which included long duration of enmities before and after the Trojan War, the Persian Invasions, and the Macedonian Invasions… In the lack of Phoenician sources, we must tread carefully on the available trails of information which preserve the story of the Phoenician Family that became worshiped in Greece.
. Agenor’s Grandchildren
The account of Europa’s abduction by Zeus, recorded by Homer (The Iliad) and Hesiod (Catalogue of Women), and later on by Ovid (Metamorphoses), became pop-culture all around the Oikoumene, and triggered her brothers’ mission to launch the Phoenician Expeditions after her, building the first cities in Greece, and planting the seeds of their earliest great civilizations.
Cadmus’s account, in particular, and the founding of Thebes, raised him from royalty to legend. It was difficult to imagine how the deeds of the following generation would surpass those of their fathers – yet, it did!
The son of Europa from Zeus was the First King of Crete and founder of the Minoan Civilization (fn3) and the builder of her superior navy. The Venetian archives have accounts in which authors relate his name to the names of other Founder-Kings like Menes of Egypt (fn4) and Manu of India.
His deeds included building the first naval power. Thucydides informs us that Minos suppressed Piracy in the seas, and highlights is legislative achievements. Thucydides tells us that the Constitution of Minos formed the basis of Sparta’s Constitution by Lycurgus.
More than a founder-King and a Legend, Minos achieved, after his death, a divine role : he became the deciding vote of the three judges of the dead. (fn5)
Son of Semele
After the first generation of city-founders, and the deeds of Minos who pushed the honor of his Phoenician Royal Family to the threshold of godliness in Greece, was it possible to achieve even a higher honor?
To answer this question, we turn to the other branch of the family tree – to Semele, Minos’s cousin, and daughter of Cadmos and Harmonia.
The Etymology of her name relate it to “Mother Earth“.
Her story reveals a tragic death: She forced Zeus (God) to reveal himself to her in all his glory, and she perished in a flame ignited by lightning. However, Zeus rescued her fetus child, who is later born from Zeus’s thie, and bares the title : “Twice Born“ (fn6), and “Dimetor“ (of two mothers) (fn7) – this is the miraculous birth of Dionysus.
In The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker insists on describing Semele as a virgin. She referred to her as “The Moon-Maiden“, considering that Selene, the moon goddess is a variant of Semele.
… and the Moon whose light is from the Sun, gave birth to the Sun!
The New Religion of the World
In Ovid‘s Metamorphoses, multiple and repeated instances of Bachic/Dionysian rituals are told in a context of a new religion sweeping all the cities of the ancient world. Jealousy of the “older“ gods and goddesses and visions and advice from oracles to honor the “new“ gods are told extensively within the stories Ovid preserved in his work.
Orpheus’s mysteries (fn8) teach that one of the earliest incarnations of Dianysus was in the form of a bull (fn9) on earth, and a serpent under it (fn1o). Dionysus, being a savior god, was identified with Bacchus, Zagreus, Sabazius, Adonis (Adon), Antheus, Zalmoxis, Pentheus, Pan, Liber Pater, or “the Liberator“…
In the Book of Enoch, the Messiah is depicted as a White Bull (fn11), with which some scholars identified Dionysus. He was honored on the 25th of December: Birthday of the non-conquered Sun, and being a wine-god associated with the Melki-Sedek rituals, he was considered as a prototype of Christ.
The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, Plutarch says, was celebrated in the honor of Dionysus.
” I think that the festival of the Sabbath is not wholly without relation to the festival of Dionysus… The Jews abstain from pork because their god Dionysus-Adonis (Lord Dionysus) was slain by a boar. “
In the 1st century B.C. the Jews themselves claimed to worship Dionysus under his Phrygian name of Zeus Sabazius. Dionysus and Jehovah were literally two sides of the same coin in the 5th century B.C., when coins found near Gaza showed Dionysus on one side, and on the other a bearded figure labeled JHWH.
In Lebanon, Dionysus was incarnated in Ampelus, a “beautiful youth“ torn to pieces by a bull and reincarnated as a grapevine…
At Orchomenus, the Triple Goddess appeared in Dionysian rites as “three princesses“ who tore apart a male child and ate him (the earth absorbing sacrificial blood). In Thebes, a king named Pentheus dared to oppose the Dionysian cult, but three women led by the king’s own mother tore him to pieces…
An Archetypal pattern occurs: a king killed and cannibalized to provide both the earth and women’s wombs with fructifying blood; then a substitute for the king is chosen as a sacrifice (fn12); then an animal substitute for the man.
These patterns are nothing but a variation of “flesh and blood“ devoured in the form of “bread and wine“, the Phoenician Sacred Ritual, performed by Melki-Sedek that became the classical Dionysian sacrament at Eleusis – the place of his “Advent,“ where He appeared as a newborn Holy Child laid in a cradle.
. Radiant Phoenician Light
The Royal House of Agenor transmitted the lights of Phoenicia to Greece.
His children were the builders of Greece’s first city-states and the teachers of their peoples. Their quest conquered barbarism with civilization and modernity, and planted the seeds that will later grow to be an illuminating tree for the mind.
His grandchildren, beyond the dreams of their parents, achieved even more. Not only did Minos stand at the gate of immortality, becoming the judge of the dead, but his cousin Semele became Mother of God in the new religion that swept across the ancient world.
fn1 Histories, B.2 Ch.145
fn2 according to Appolodorus
fn3 described as such by Archeologist Sir Arthur Evans
fn4 founder of Memphis
fn5 Plato’s Dialogues state that while Rhadamanthus judged the souls of Asians, and Aeacus judged Europeans, Minos had the deciding vote.
fn6 Appolodorus’s Argonautica
fn7 Diodorus’s Library of History
fn8 Orpheus sings,” The bull is the father of the serpent, and the serpent is the father of the bull.”
fn9 The Cretian Bull-god Zagreus ( compare to Minos’s Minotaur )
fn10 Subterranean regeneration Phase of the Cycle.
fn11 compare to the “Persian Messaiah”
fn12 King Dionysus of Syracuse (4th Century BC) was the first to abandon the sacrifice of the King and substitute himself by a man named Damocles (meaning “Glory of Blood”).
_______ Written by Shady B. Zoghby (22/08/2017)