previous next


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.)


hide References (14 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (14):
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.1.3
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.15.8
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.1.3
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.173
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.170
    • Homer, Odyssey, 19.178
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.27.9
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.44.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.4.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7.4.5
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.4
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.456
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 15
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 4.61
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: