3. The Cretan Zeus
). We have already given the account of him which is contained in the Theogony of Hesiod.
He is the god, to whom Rhea, concealed from Cronos, gave birth in a cave of mount Dicte, and whom she entrusted to the Curetes and the nymphs Adrasteia and Ida, the daughters of Melisseus. They fed him with milk of the goat Amaltheia, and the bees of the mountain provided him with honey. (Apollod. 1.1.6
; Callim. l.c. ; Diod. 5.70
; comp. Ath. 9.375
; Ov. Fast. 5.115
.) Crete is called the island or nurse of the great Zeus, and his worship there appears to have been very ancient. (Verg. A. 3.104
; Dionys. Perieg. 501
.) Among the places in the island which were particularly sacred to the god, we must mention the district about mount Ida, especially Cnosus, which was said to have been built by the Curetes, and where Minos had ruled and conversed with Zeus (Hom. Od. 19.172
; Plat. de Leg.
1.1; Diod. 5.70
; Strab. x. p.730
; Cic. de Nat. Deor.
3.21); Gortyn, where the god, in the form of a bull, landed when he had carried off Europa from Phoenicia, and where he was worshipped under the surname of Hecatombaeus (Hesych. s. v.
) ; further the towns about mount Dicte, as Lyetos (Hes. Theog. 477
), Praesos, Hierapytna, Biennos, Eleuthernae and Oaxus. (Comp. Hoeck, Creta,
i. p. 160, &c., 339, &c.)