Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 October 2022



  • Herbert Jennings Rose,
  • Herbert William Parke,
  • Charles Martin Robertson,
  • B. C. Dietrich
  •  and Alan A. D. Peatfield


Legendary king of *Crete who lived three generations before the Trojan War. The island's bronze age civilization has been named Minoan after him (see preceding entry). He was a son of *Zeus (Il. 13. 449; Od. 11. 568) and *Europa (daughter of Agenor, Diod. Sic. 5. 78. 1, or of *Phoenix (1), Il. 14. 321) whom Zeus had carried to Crete from *Tyre or *Sidon in the shape of a bull. According to another tradition, which implies a prehistoric *Dorian presence on Crete, he was the son of Asterius (Asterion) and descendant of Dorus (Diod. Sic. 4. 60. 2–3). In a contest for the kingship Minos prayed to *Poseidon to send him a bull from the sea for sacrifice. The god complied, but the bull was so handsome that Minos kept it for himself. Poseidon therefore caused Minos' wife Pasiphaë to fall in love with the bull, and from their unnatural union the Minotaur, half-man, half-bull, was born and kept in the *Labyrinth built by *Daedalus (Diod.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription