In Greek mythology
: Φόρβας) or Phorbaceus
, native to Thessaloniki
, was the son of Lapithes and Orsinome, and a brother of Periphas
. When the people of the island of Rhodes
fell victim to a plague of masses of serpents
(may have been dragons or simply snakes), an oracle directed them to call on a man named Phorbas
. Phorbas cleansed the island of the snakes and in gratitude the Rhodians venerated him as a hero. For his achievement he won a place among the stars as the constellation Serpentarius or Ophiuchus
Other less well-supported traditions have Phorbas as the father of Augeas (perhaps he of the Augean Stables), or as a well-known boxer who was eventually defeated by Apollo.
Phorbas is also the name of a character in a play by Seneca the Younger entitled Oedipus. Phorbas, a shepherd, finds the infant Oedipus on the hillside and ensures his survival to fulfill his destiny. A number of sculptures, ranging from the 14th to the 19th century, memorialize Phorbas' rescue of Oedipus.
Another Phorbas is listed as a king or archon of Athens.