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This article covers a thracian king. For the genus of beetles, see Eumolpus.
For the character in the Satyricon, see Satyricon#Principal characters.

Eumolpus was a legendary Thracian king who, according to Greek mythology, established the City of Eumolpias, also called Eumolpiada (present-day Plovdiv) around 1200 BC (or 1350 BC[1]), naming it after himself.[2] His name may derive from eumelus "sweet melody". He is also referred to as Evmpolp in Bulgarian and Russian, which may be more or less related to his original name. If there is any truth in this myth then Plovdiv is one of the oldest still functioning cities in Europe.


In Mythology, Eumolpus (Ancient Greek: Εὔμολπος Eumolpos, Latin: Eumolpus) was the son of Poseidon (Neptune in Roman tradition) and Chione.[3] In the legend he is described neither Greek, nor Thracian or Roman, but Libyan and a native of North Africa,[4] though his mother Chione is said to be a Thracian princess.[5] According to the Bibliotheca,[6] Chione, daughter of Boreas and Oreithyia, pregnant with Eumolpus by Poseidon, was frightened of her father's reaction so she threw the baby into the ocean. Poseidon looked after him and brought him to shore in Ethiopia, where Benthesikyme, a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite, raised the child, who then married one of Benthesikyme's two daughters by her Ethiopian husband. Eumolpus however loved a different daughter and was banished because of this. He went with his son Ismarus (or Immaradus) to Thrace. There, he was discovered in a plot to overthrow King Tegyrios and fled to Eleusis.

In Eleusis, Eumolpus became one of the first priests of Demeter and one of the founders of the Eleusinian Mysteries.[7] He initiated Heracles into the mysteries.[8] When Ismarus died, Tegyrios sent for Eumolpus, they made peace and Eumolpus inherited the Thracian kingdom.[9] Eumolpus was an excellent musician and singer; he played the aulos and the lyre. He won a musical contest in the funereal games of Pelias. He taught music to Heracles. During a war between Athens and Eleusis, Eumolpus sided with Eleusis. His son, Immaradus, was killed by King Erechtheus. In some sources, Erechtheus also killed Eumolpus and that Poseidon asked Zeus to avenge his son's death. Zeus killed Erechtheus with a lightning bolt or Poseidon made the earth open up and swallow Erechtheus. Eleusis lost the battle with Athens but the Eumolpides and Kerykes, two families of priests to Demeter, continued the Eleusinian mysteries. Eumolpus' youngest son, Herald-Keryx founded the lines. According to Diogenes Laertius Eumolpus was the father of Musaeus.[10]


  1. ^ "Plovdiv Encyclopedia". 
  2. ^ Alicia Morales Ortiz, Cristóbal Pagán Cánovas, Carmen Martínez Campillo (eds.). The Teaching of modern greek in Europe. EDITUM. p. 64. ISBN 84-8371-938-X. 
  3. ^ "A Classical Dictionary". 
  4. ^ "Atlantis". 
  5. ^ "Interpretations of Greek Mythology (Routledge Revivals)". 
  6. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, 3.15.4  , Pausanias, 1.38.2  
  7. ^ Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 147  , 474  
  8. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, 2.5.12  
  9. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, 3.15.4  
  10. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Lives Introduction


  • Anonymous, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, with an English translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Homeric Hymns. Cambridge, MA.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. ISBN 0-674-99063-3  
  • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, Sir James George Frazer (translator), two volumes: Loeb Classical Library, #121, Books I-III and #122, Book III; Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; (1921) ISBN 0-674-99135-4, ISBN 0-674-99136-2  
  • Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths. Volume 1, Penguin Books, Revised Edition (1960), Reprinted 1986.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece, Books I-II, (Loeb Classical Library) translated by W. H. S. Jones; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. (1918) ISBN 0-674-99104-4