It has been a few years since a well renowned academic shared with me in private his view that Kadmos was an illegal immigrant. Not surprisingly, I was deeply hurt. It’s been gnawing me for some time that this innuendo might get a wider spread and even cast a shadow on the character of our eponymous hero. As an immigration lawyer I had to pluck up the courage and defend Kadmos from the historian and classicist. In this defence I take a cross-disciplinary and overarchingly human perspective. One might challenge me saying that as a London immigration lawyer I may be out of synch with Phoenician immigration policy and law. To this I will respond that our legal principles were formed in the cradle of civilisation, and Phoenician or no Phoenicians, we follow the same finicky path to comply meticulously with the law whether written (on clay tablets or electronically) or transmitted orally by word of mouth.
I am almost certain that before travelling to Greece, Kadmos obtained a visa. It would be foolish not to as illegal migration was frowned upon at the best of times and there was no reason to annoy Brunella Zuckersuckerman – a formidable woman appointed the Secretary of State for Home Affairs in Boeotia.
So Kadmos must have had a visa. The question is which one. There are conflicting theories.
Some say that Kadmos had a fiancé or a spouse visa on the basis of his marriage to Harmonia. These scholars claim that Harmonia’s parents, Zeus and Electra (one of the Pleiades, not to be confused with the unfortunate daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra), had provided financial assurances and adequate accommodation which were necessary to meet the spouse visa requirements.
Others suggest that Kadmos came to Boeotia as a sponsored worker either in the Skilled Worker category or under the Global Business Mobility scheme. My own theory is that Kadmos had a Global Talent visa.
Being a specialist in immigration, I think it is highly unlikely that the government of Brunella Zuckersuckerman would have accepted financial assurances from parents, even so illustrious as Zeus and Electra. It is much more realistic to think that Kadmos came to Boeotia in his own right and then claimed the hand of Harmonia upon successful completion of the big construction project in Thebes.
We don’t know if Kadmos was ever a winner of any prestigious prize recognised by the Home Office, but he was most certainly highly skilled in handcrafts and, according to Homer, may have been the creator of the beautiful silver mixing bowl which was given out as the first prize in the footrace in Patroclus’s funeral games (Iliad, 23.740ff).
As an exceptionally talented individual, Kadmos could have applied under the Art and Culture category (his art was recognised internationally and his architectural projects could easily get him an endorsement from RIBA), or as an academic (transmitting the alphabet would count towards humanities and could easily have got him an endorsement in the field of Linguistics from the British Academy). But arguably, he could even have an endorsement from Tech Nation having invented a new system of remote payments to pay his crew during their lengthy journeys across the Mediterranean.
My point that Kadmos must have had the Global Talent visa is further supported by the argument that Kadmos could not possibly have ignored the advantages of the Global Talent visa over the spouse or skilled worker routes.
Besides, Harmonia was Samothracian and was given to Kadmos in marriage only after Kadmos was appointed the governor of Thebes. Zeus and all the gods honoured the wedding with their presence – they were all native or assimilated Greek gods and did not need a visit visa to come to the wedding.