by Dr. Alena Trckova-Flamee, Ph.D.
According to the myths Thoas was one of the sons of the wine god Dionysus and his wife Ariadne.1 Thoas' brothers were Oenopion, Staphylus, Latramys, Euanthes, and Tauropolus. Sometimes it was said that Thoas' father was Theseus, perhaps not only due to the reason that Thoas' mother Ariadne and Theseus were lovers, but also because Thoas' kingdom was under the control of the Athenians. He was the king of Lemnos and married to Myrina, by whom he is the father of Hypsipyle and Sicinus.2
All of the children of Dionysus became the founders of the Hellenic tribes in various places in the Aegean, where the non-Greek inhabitants were living. Thoas, who received from his uncle Rhadamanthys the island of Lemnos (situated in the northern part of the Aegean Sea) became its king.
After some time Thoas lost his throne when the women of the island revolted against their unfaithful husbands. According to a well-known story the Lemnian men complained about the fact that their spouses were foul-smelling and so they neglected their wives and took concubines from Thrace. This action made their spouses so angry, that these decided to eradicate the entire masculine population from Lemnos. Thereafter the queen of Lemnos became Hypsipyle, the daughter of Thoas. She saved her old father from a certain death by putting him secretly on a boat without sculls.3 Afterwards, however, he was discovered by the other women and killed,4 or, alternatively, escaped to Tauris,5 or to the rocky island of Oenoe, near Euboea, which was henceforth called Sicinus (Cyclades).6 At Tauris (present-day Crym) he is said to have became its king. The Taurian Artemis derived her surname Thoantea from Thoas.
The name Thoas is derived from the old Greek word thoazo, which means "to move quickly, to hurry up or to hasten." This name is a perfect fit for some of the situations in which this king of Lemnos appeared, especially when he had to move quickly or hurry from one place to another. This mythical story is connected with some specific historical events which happened when the first Greek colonists came to the island of Lemnos (where the old pre-Hellenic culture existed similar to the one in Troy) in about 800 BCE.
The name Thoas was relatively common and in the Greek myths more personages with this name can be found, see Thoas.
- Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, iii, 997; Statius. Thebaid iv, 769.
- Homer. Iliad xiv, 230; Diodorus Siculus. Historical Library v, 79; Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, i, 601; Hyginus. Fabulae, 15, 120; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 1374.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 9.17.
- ibid. iii, 6.4.
- Hyginus. Fabulae, 15.
- Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, i, 624.
- Slovnik anticke kultury. (1974). Praha, p. 617.
- Diodorus. Sicily v, 79, 1-2.
- Euripides. Iphigenia at Tauris, 32.
- Herod, vi, 128.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 28.2; ii, 4.3.
- Prach, V. (1993). Recko-cesky slovnik. Praha.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library: Epitome, 6.26.
- Zamarovsky, V. (1981). Bohove a hrdinove antickych baji. Praha.