Mythology & Beliefs: Minos
In Greek and Roman Mythology, Minos was the king of Crete; after death, one of three judges of dead in Hades; son of
Zeus and Europa.
Minos in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
1. The son of Zeus and Europa, brother of Rhadamanthus, and
king of Crete, where he is said to have given many and
useful laws. After his death he became one of the judges of
the shades in Hades. (Hom. Il. 13.450, 14.322, Od. 11.321,
567, 17.523, 19.178; comp. MILETUS.) He was the father of
Deucalion and Ariadne; and, according to Apollodorus (3.1.1,
&c.), Sarpedon also was a brother of his. Diodorus (4.60;
comp. Strab. x. p.476, &c.) relates the following story
about him. Tectamus, a son of Dorus, and a great-grandson of
Deucalion, came to Crete with an Aeolian and Pelasgian
colony; and as king of the island, he became the father of
Asterius, by a daughter of Crethets. In the reign of
Asterius, Zeus came to Crete with Europa, and became by her
the father of Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthus. Asterins
afterwards married Europa; and having no issue by her, he
adopted her three sons. Thus Minos succeeded Asterius, and
married Itone, daughter of Lyctius, by whom he had a son,
Lycastus. The latter became, by Ida, the daughter of
Corybas, the father of another Minos, whom, however, some
also called a son of Zeus. It should be observed, that Homer
and Hesiod know only of one Minos, the ruler of Cnossus, and
the son and friend of Zeus; and of this one they on the
whole relate the same things, which later traditions assign
to a second Minos, the grandson of the former; for here, as
in many other mythical traditions of Greece and other
countries, a rationalistic criticism attempted to solve
contradictions and difficulties in the stories about a
person, by the assumption that the contradictory accounts
must refer to two different personages. 2. A grandson of No.
1, and a son of Lycastus and Ida, was likewise a king and
law-giver of Crete. He is described as possessed of a
powerful navy, as the husband of Pasiphae, a daughter of
Helios, and as the father of Catrteus, Deucalion, Glaucus,
Androgeus, Acalle, Xenodice, Ariadne, and Phaedra. (Apollod.
2.1.3.) He is said to have been killed in Sicily by king
Cocalus, when he had gone thither in pursuit of Daedalus.
(Hdt. 7.170; Strab. vi. pp. 273,279; Paus. 7.4.5.) But the
scholiast on Callimachus (Call. Jov. 8) speaks of his tomb
in Crete. The detail of his history is related as follows.
After the death of Asterius, Minos aimed at the supremacy of
Crete, and declared that it was destined to him by the gods;
in proof of it, he said that any thing lie prayed for was
done. Accordingly, as he was offering up a sacrifice to
Poseidon, he prayed that a bull might come forth from the
sea, and promised to sacrifice the animal. The bull
appeared, and Minos became king of Crete. Others say that
Minos disputed the government with his brother, Sarpedon,
and conquered. (Hdt. 1.173.) But Minos, who admired the
beauty of the bull, did not sacrifice him, and substituted
another in his place. Poseidon therefore rendered the bull
furious, and made Pasiphae conceive a love for the animal.
Pasiphae concealed herself in an artificial cow made by
Daedalus, and thus she became by the bull the mother of the
Minotaurus, a monster which had the body of a man, but the
head of a bull. Minos shut the monster up in the labyrinth.
(Apollod. 3.1.3, &c.; comp. DAEDALUS.) Minos is further said
to have divided Crete into three parts, each of which
contained a capital, and to have ruled nine years. (Hom. Od.
19.178; Strab. x. pp. 476, 479.) The Cretans traced their
legal and political institutions to Minos, and he is said to
have been instructed in the art of law-giving by Zeus
himself; and the Spartan, Lycurgus, was believed to have
taken the legislation of Minos as his model. (Paus. 3.4.2;
comp. Plat. Min. p. 319b.; Plut. De ser. Num. Vind. 4; V.
Max. 1.2.1; Athen. 13.601.) In his time Crete was a powerful
maritime state; and Minos not only checked the piratical
pursuits of his contemporaries, but made himself master of
the Greek islands of the Aegean. (Thuc. 1.4; Strab. i. p.48;
Diod. l.c.) The most ancient legends describe Minos as a
just and wise law-giver, whereas the later accounts
represent him as an unjust and cruel tyrant. (Philostr. Vit.
Apoll. 3.25; Catull. Epithal. Pel. 75; Eustath. ad Hom. p.
1699.) In order to avenge the wrong done to his son
Androgeus [ANDROGEUS] at Athens, he made war against the
Athenians and Megarians. He sub dued Megara, and compelled
the Athenians, either every year or every nine years, to
send him as a tribute seven youths and seven maidens, who
were devoured in the labyrinth by the Minotaurus. (Apollod.
3.15.8; Paus. 1.27.9, 44.5; Plut. Thes. 15; Diod. 4.61; Ov.
Met. 7.456, &c.; comp. ANDROGEUS, THESEUS.) - A Dictionary
of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith,
Minos in Wikipedia
In Greek mythology, Minos (Greek: Μίνως) was a mythical king
of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. After his death, Minos
became a judge of the dead in Hades. The Minoan civilization
of pre-Hellene Crete has been named after him. By his wife,
Pasiphaë, he fathered Ariadne, Androgeus, Deucalion, Phaedra,
Glaucus, Catreus, Acacallis, and many others.
Minos, along with his brothers, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon, was
raised by king Asterion (or Asterius) of Crete. When Asterion
died, his throne was claimed by Minos who banished Sarpedon
and (according to some sources) Rhadamanthys too...
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