The Mythology of Crete

Theseus killing the Minotaur

Theseus killing the Minotaur ©Vinni123/Flick

According to the mythology of Crete the Island is the birthplace of Zeus, father of all gods. Rea, the mother of Zeus came to Crete with the help of Gaia and Uranus because she was afraid of Cronus, father of Zeus, who used to devour his children so that they do not usurp his power. Zeus was born in a cave and raised by nymphs. After a fierce battle with Cronus, Zeus became the father of all gods.

The mythology of Crete says that one day Zeus, taking the form of a bull, abducted Europa from Phoenicia and brought her to Crete. From the union of the two were born three sons: Minos, Sarpedon and Radamantis.

Minos, the best known of the three sons of Zeus, became king of Crete and ruled the island from its palace in Knossos. Radamantis, the brother of Minos helped him to rule the kingdom, while Sarpedon founded his own kingdom in Lycia.

Europa and the bull in the mythology of Crete

Europa and the bull in the mythology of Crete ©cliff1066™/Flick

The born of the Minotaur

According to the mythology of Crete Poseidon, the god of the sea assured Minos that he will always reign over those lands with the condition that he sacrifices a bull that the god sent to him. Instead of sacrificing the white bull sent by Poseidon, Minos decided to sacrifice another bull. The god of the sea wanted to punish Minos and made his wife fall in love with a bull. From the union of the two was born the Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. After having consulted the oracle of Delphi, Minos commanded Daedalus to build a giant maze where the Minotaur could be closed. The Minotaur was fed with 7 young man and 7 young women annually sent from Athens sent as tribute for the murder of Androgeus (one of the sons of Minos) by the Athenians.

The Palace of Minos

The Palace of Minos ©jurvetson/Flick

The death of the Minotaur

The legends say that Theseus, an Athenian hero, rebelled against this custom and decided to kill the Minotaur. Theseus went to Knossos as one of the seven young men who were to be sacrificed and with the help of Ariadne entered the labyrinth and killed the monster.

Theseus killing the Minotaur

Theseus killing the Minotaur ©Vinni123/Flick

Daedalus an his son

According to the mythology of Crete, Daedalus, who built the labyrinth, wanting to escape the island with his son, Icarus, and knowing that King Minos controlled the sea routes, made two pairs of wings glued them with wax and attached them to his back and his son’s. However, during the flight, the son of Daedalus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted, fell into the sea and drowned. Because Daedalus flew carefully he managed to reach Sicily. Minos was finally killed by the daughter of King Kokalos, while he was in Sicily searching for Daedalus that he wanted to punish.

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