According to a Greek legend, Byzas (Greek Βύζας, Βύζαντας) was a Greek colonist (reported by some to be a leader or even a king) from the Doric colony of Megara in Ancient Greece, son of King Nisou (Greek Νίσου), who consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The oracle instructed Byzas to settle opposite from the "Land of the Blind". Leading a group of Megarian colonists, Byzas found a superb location opposite Chalcedon, at the tip of the Istanbul peninsula, today known as the Seraglio Point on the mouth of the Bosphorus Strait. Byzas established a colony Bosphorium of antiquity, where the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn meet and flow into the Sea of Marmara ( 667 BC ). He determined the Chalcedonians must have been blind not to recognize the advantages the land on the European side of the Bosphorus had over the Asiatic side. Byzas founded Byzantium on the European side in 667 BC, thus completing the oracle's quest. Almost a millennium later, during the era of the Roman Emperor Constantine, Byzantion (Greek Βυζάντιο) was renamed Constantinople ( 330 AD).

The name Byzas (Buzas) itself was a Thracian name, and was common among Thracians.

The name is also a common name in use by many modern Greeks today.


In Greek mythology, Byzas was a son of Poseidon by Keroessa. Zeus fell in love with Io, the daughter of Inachus, King of the City of Argos and God of the River of Argos. The King of the Gods temporarily transformed his beloved daughter into a heifer in order to protect her from the wrath of his wife, Hera, Queen of the Gods. In her wanderings Io crossed the Bosphorus, giving the strait its name (boos-foros, which is Greek for cow-ford). After reassuming her original form, she gave birth to a girl, Keroessa. Later, Keroessa bore the son of Poseidon, grandson of Gaea ( Mother Earth ) and Uranus ( Father Sky ), son of Cronus, elder brother of Zeus and sovereign deity of all waters from the Pillars of Hercules to the Hellespont. Keroessa's son, Byzas the Magerian, in time became the founder of Byzantium and named the Golden Horn (Greek Χρυσοκερας Khrysokeras or Chrysoceras ) after his mother. Some sources say that Byzas was brought up by the naiad Byzia and married Phidaleia, daughter of King Barbyzos.

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