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Μίνως). The son of Zeus and Europa, brother of Rhadamanthus, was the king and legislator of Crete. After his death he became one of the judges of the shades in Hades. He was the father of Deucalion and Ariadné; and, according to Apollodorus, the brother of Sarpedon. Some traditions relate that Minos married Itoné, daughter of Lyctius, by whom he had a son, Lycastus, and that the latter became, by Ida, the father of another Minos. But it should be observed that Homer and Hesiod know of only one Minos, the ruler of Cnossus, and the son and friend of Zeus; and that they relate nearly the same things about him which later traditions assign to a second Minos, the grandson of the former. In this case, as in many other mythical traditions, a rationalistic criticism attempted to solve contradictions and difficulties in the stories about a person, by assuming that the contradictory accounts must refer to two different personages.

Assuming, however, the fact of a second Minos, he was also a king and lawgiver of Crete. He is described as the husband of Pasiphaë, a daughter of Helios; and as the father of Catreus, Deucalion, Glaucus, Androgeos, Acallé, Xenodicé, Ariadné, and Phaedra. 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 which, he asserted that the gods always answered his prayers. 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 beast. The bull appeared and Minos became king of Crete. Minos, however, admiring the beauty of the bull, did not sacrifice him, but substituted another in his place, whereupon Poseidon rendered the bull furious, and made Pasiphaë conceive a passion for the animal. Daedalus enabled Pasiphaë to gratify her passion, and she became by the bull the mother of the Minotaurus, a monster with a human body and a bull's head, or, according to others, with a bull's body and a human head. The monster was kept in the labyrinth at Cnossus, constructed by Daedalus. Daedalus fled from Crete to escape the wrath of Minos and took refuge in Sicily. Minos followed him to Sicily, and was there slain by Cocalus and his daughters.

Minos is further said to have divided Crete into three parts, and to have ruled nine years. The Cretans traced their legal and political institutions to Minos. He is said to have been instructed in the art of legislation by Zeus himself; and the Spartan Lycurgus was believed to have taken the legislation of Minos as his model. 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. The most ancient legends describe Minos as a just and wise lawgiver, whereas the later accounts represent him as an unjust and cruel tyrant. In order to avenge the wrong done to his son Androgeos (q.v.) at Athens, he made war against the Athenians and Megarians. He subdued 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. The monster was slain by Theseus. See Ariadné; Theseus.

It is generally held that the tradition of Minos embodies a certain amount of historical truth, and that there really was a king of that name who ruled Crete before the Dorian migration, and developed a formidable sea-power, which he used in putting down piracy. Cf. Thuc. i. 4, 8; Aristotle, Polit. ii. 10; iv. 10; and see the article Nisus.

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