The son of Zeus and Europa, brother of Rhadamanthys, and king of Crete, where he is said to have given many and useful laws. After his death he became one of the judges of the shades in Hades.1 He was the father of Deucalion and Ariadne; and, according to Apollodorus,2 Sarpedon also was a brother of his.

Diodorus3 relates the following story about him. Tectamus, a son of Dorus, and a great-grandson of Deucalion, came to Crete with an Aeolian and Pelasgian colony; and as king of the island, he became the father of Asterius, by a daughter of Cretheus. In the reign of Asterius, Zeus came to Crete with Europa, and became by her the father of Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys. Asterius afterwards married Europa; and having no issue by her, he adopted her three sons. Thus Minos succeeded Asterius, and married Itone, daughter of Lyctius, by whom he had a son, Lycastus. The latter became, by Ida, the daughter of Corybas, the father of another Minos, whom, however, some also called a son of Zeus.

It should be observed, that Homer and Hesiod know only of one Minos, the ruler of Cnossus, and the son and friend of Zeus; and of this one they on the whole relate the same things, which later traditions assign to a second Minos, the grandson of the former; for here, as in many other mythical traditions of Greece and other countries, a rationalistic criticism attempted to solve contradictions and difficulties in the stories about a person, by the assumption that the contradictory accounts must refer to two different personages.



  1. Homer. Iliad xiii, 450; xiv, 322, Odyssey xii, 321, 567; xvii, 523; xix, 178; comp. Miletus.
  2. The Library, iii, 1.1 ff.
  3. iv, 60; comp. Strabo. Geography x, 476 ff.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.