by Dr. Alena Trckova-Flamee, Ph.D.

Catreus, or Creteus (Κρητεύς), was one of the sons of the king Minos of Crete and his wife Pasiphaë, and the brother of Acacallis, Androgeus, Ariadne, Glaucus, and Phaedra. He is known mainly through his children: his daughters Aerope, Apemosyne, and Clymene, and his son Althaemenes. When an oracle predicted him that he would be killed by one of his children, Althaemenes sought to end the relationships with them.

The daughters Clymene and Aeropa were sold as slaves to Nauplius on the condition that they would never return to Crete. Nauplius married Clymene and she bore him two sons, Oeax and Palamedes. Aeropa married the Mycenaean king Atreus and by him she became the mother of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Anemosyne and her brother Althaemenes, together with a group of people, had already left Crete of their own accord. They sailed to the island of Rhodes and there they founded the city of Cretinea (New Crete). Althaemenes lived in Camiros as an honored man.

When Catreus became old, he desired to reunite with his only son and heir. He left Crete to search for his son, eventually arriving on the shores of Rhodes at night. The herdsmen from Camirus mistook Catreus and his men for pirates and attacked them. Althaemenes, without knowing that he was fighting his father, killed him with a spear. For his funeral Menelaus traveled from Sparta, and in his absence Paris abducted Helen, Menelaus' wife.

The myth about Catreus and his children is proof (known as well from the archaeological findings) that in the so-called "heroic age" a close relation existed between Crete, Mycenae, and the other places in the Peloponnese and also between Crete and the islands such as Rhodes.



  • Diodorus Siculus, iv, 59.
  • Pausanias. Description of Greece viii, 53.2.
  • Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 1.2; iii, 1.2.
  • Strabo. Geography xiv, 2.2.
  • Zamarovsky, V. (1982). Bohove a hrdinove antickych baji. Praha.