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Euanthes

by Dr Alena Trckova-Flamee Ph.D.

According to certain myths, Euanthes was one of the sons of Ariadne and Dionysus, and the grandson of King Minos from Crete. He was the brother of Oenopion, Thoas, Staphylus, Tauropolus, and Latramys. According to some accounts Euanthes was not Oenopion's brother, but his son, and that he arrived with his father and the other children with a Cretan fleet at the island of Chios.

Definitely, Euanthes was related to Dionysus and to the Cretan king Minos. He became one of the leaders regarded as the founders of the Hellenic tribes in the north of the Aegean region. Rhadamanthys, a brother of Minos, bequeathed him a piece of land at the foot of Mount Ismaros in Thrace (the Homeric Ismaros, later Maroneia).

Euanthes came to this place probably from Chios and under his reign the region flourished as a farming and trade center. Even the name of Euanthes (in Greek eyandis, which means "beautifully flowering," "splendid," "magnificent") was the expression for the beauty of his fertile lands. The center of this region was the town Maroneia, named after Euanthes' son Maron. He became Apollo's priest, and was known for his gift (of a wonderfully sweet wine) to Odysseus.

The myth regarding Euanthes has a close link with other similar myths about the Aegean rulers the leaders of the Greek colonists. It is directly related to historical events which happened in this region. Ancient Maroneia was founded in the seventh century BCE by colonists from the island of Chios. They were associated with their mythical predecessor, king Oenopion, who introduced the art of cultivating vineyards and the wine-cult. In ancient Maroneia a sanctuary of Dionysus existed. Maroneia with neighboring towns became in the fifth century BCE the most prosperous city-state in Thrace.


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