A daughter of Cadmus, and wife of the Spartan Echion, by whom she became the mother of Pentheus, who succeeded his grandfather Cadmus as king of Thebes. Agave was the sister of Autonoë, Ino, and Semele,1 and when Semele, during her pregnancy with Dionysus, was destroyed by the sight of the splendor of Zeus, her sisters spread the report that she had only endeavored to conceal her guilt, by pretending that Zeus was the father of her child, and that her destruction was a just punishment for her falsehood.

This calumny was afterwards most severely avenged upon Agave. For, after Dionysus, the son of Semele, had traversed the world, he came to Thebes and compelled the women to celebrate his Dionysiac festivals on Mount Cithaeron. Pentheus wishing to prevent or stop these riotous proceedings, went himself to Mount Cithaeron, but was torn to pieces there by his own mother Agave, who in her frenzy believed him to be a wild beast.2

Hyginus3 makes Agave, after this deed, go to Illyria and marry king Lycotherses, whom however she afterwards killed in order to gain his kingdom for her father Cadmus. This account is manifestly transplaced by Hyginus, and must have belonged to an earlier part of the story of Agave.



  1. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 4.2.
  2. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 5.2; Ovid. Metamorphoses iii, 725; comp. Pentheus.
  3. Fabulae, 240, 254.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.