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Minos 2

2721: Scylla falls in love with King Minos. Drawing from the 17C AD.

"… Your cleverest poets will not give you leave to be just and good, even if you want to. For here was Minos, a man who exceeded all men in cruelty, and who enslaved with his navies the inhabitants of continent and islands alike, and yet they honour him by placing in his hand a sceptre of justice and give him a throne in Hades to be umpire of spirits …" (Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 3.25).

Minos 2 was king of Crete, and affirmed that he had received the kingdom from the gods. Later, pursuing a fugitive, he met his death in Sicily, but now he delivers judgement to the dead in Hades.

King Minos 2

Zeus, having taken the form of a bull, carried off the Phoenician princess Europa, and took her across the sea to the island of Crete. In Crete, Zeus made love to her, and she bore sons: Minos 2, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon 1. Minos 2 said he had received the kingdom from the gods, and to prove it he declared that whatever he prayed for would be granted. Then, while sacrificing to Poseidon, he prayed that a bull might appear from the depths, and he promised to sacrifice it to the god. Poseidon did send him a beautiful bull, and Minos 2 did become king, but he sacrificed another bull instead, thus upsetting the god (see also Minotaur).

Britomartis (Aphaea, Dictynna, Laphria)

Minos 2 is said to have fallen in love with Britomartis, daughter of Zeus and Carme (daughter of Eubulus, son of Carmanor). Britomartis, fleeing from Minos 2 when he attempted to ravish her, threw herself into nets that had been cast for a draught of fishes, and was made a goddess by Artemis. In Crete, she was called Dictynna (Goddess of Nets), and some affirm that she invented the nets that are used in hunting as she passed her time in the company of Artemis. Others think that this story is unlikely because, they say, Britomartis was a goddess from the very start, being the daughter of Zeus; they also argue that it is not right to ascribe such an impious deed to Minos 2.

War against Athens and Megara

What happened to Androgeus, the son of Minos 2, is unclear; but some say that because of his death in the Panathenian games, Minos 2 waged war against Athens, capturing Megara which was then ruled by Nisus 1. This king perished because his own daughter Scylla 2 betrayed him. Nisus 1 had a purple hair on the middle of his head, and an oracle declared that when it was pulled out he should die. During the siege, Scylla 2 fell in love with the invader Minos 2 and pulled out his father's hair, and through this treachery Megara was defeated. But when Minos 2 had taken the city, he tied the girl by the feet to the stern of the ship and drowned her. Megareus 2, after whom the ciy of Megara is named, came from Onchestus with an army of Boeotians to help Nisus 1 in his war against Minos 2, but was killed in battle. When Minos 2 was at war with Athens and he could not take the city, he prayed to Zeus that he might be avenged on the Athenians. And the city being visited with a famine and a pestilence, the Athenians in obedience to an ancient oracle slaughtered the daughters of the Lacedaemonian Hyacinthus 2 on the grave of Geraestus.

Procris 2

The Athenian Procris 2, bribed by a golden crown admitted a lover in her bed, and having being discovered by her husband, fled to the court of Minos 2. But he fell in love with her. Now if any woman had intercourse with him, it was impossible for her to escape with life; for because Minos 2 had many women, Pasiphae bewitched him, and whenever he took another woman to his bed, he ejaculated wild beasts and the women perished. But Minos 2 owned a Swift Dog and a Dart-That-Flew-Straight; and in return for these gifts, Procris 2 let herself be bribed again, sharing his bed, but having first given him the Circaean root to drink that he might not harm her. Afterwards, fearing Pasiphae, Procris 2 came to Athens, and being reconciled with her husband Cephalus 1, she went with him to the chase. And during the hunting, she met her death when Cephalus 1, by accident, killed her with the same Dart-That-Flew-Straight, which she had got from Minos 2.

Europa mounting the bull. 4108 detail: Jacob Jordaens 1593-1678: L'enlèvement d'Europe. Palais des Beaux-arts, Lille.

Minotaur, Daedalus, Theseus

Daedalus disclosed to Ariadne the way out of the Labyrinth so that she could help Theseus. But on being apprised of the flight of Theseus, Minos 2 shut up the guilty Daedalus and his son in the Labyrinth. But Daedalus constructed wings, and with their help made his way safely to Sicily.For the conflict between Crete and Athens, the story of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, the role of Daedalus, and how Theseus came to Crete putting an end to the tribute that the Athenians had to send to Crete see all the sections mentioned. At this time Crete was the mightiest sea-power. So when Minos 2 learned that Daedalus was hidden in Sicily, he decided to make war on that island, and preparing a notable naval force, he sailed to the west and landed in Sicily. He inmediately send messenger to the court of King Cocalus in Camicus demanding Daedalus for punishment. Cocalus promised to meet all his demands, and invited him to a conference, bringing Minos 2 to his home as guest. It is said that either King Cocalus or his daughters slew Minos 2 while he was bathing, and that they later gave the body to the Cretans, explaining that Minos 2 had slipped in the bath, and by falling into the hot water had died. It is told that Minos 2 did not know for certain where Daedalus was hiding. So in order to discover Daedalus, he carried with him a spiral shell from country to country, and promised to reward him who should pass a thread through the shell, believing that only Daedalus could solve such a task. So when he arrived in Sicily, he showed the spiral shell to Cocalus, who promised to thread it. Cocalus gave the shell to Daedalus, who fastened a thread to an ant, and having bored a hole in the spiral shell, allowed the ant to pass through it. In this way, Minos 2 understood that Daedalus was with Cocalus, and demanded his surrender. Cocalus promised to meet this demand and entertained him, but when Minos 2 had taken his bath, he was killed by the king's daughters; or perhaps he was drenched with boiling water.

Another with identical name: Minos 1 could be the son of Zeus and Europa, and the grandfather of Minos 2 through his son Lycastus 1.

Notes about Throne Succession in Crete

The first Cretan kings are Archedius, Gortys 2 and Cydon 1. These are all sons of Tegeates, who founded Tegea in Arcadia. Tegeates was a son of the impious Lycaon 2, who lived at the time of The Flood (see Mythical Chronology). The three brothers emigrated from Arcadia to Crete, and it is said that the city Gortyna was named after Gortys 2, and Cydonia after Cydon 1.

After them, Dorus 1's son Tectamus sailed to Crete with Aeolians and Pelasgians, becoming king of the island. During the time when he was king of Crete, Zeus carried off Europa from Phoenicia. Tectamus' son Asterius 3 married Europa and became king, being succeeded in the throne by Minos 1, son of Zeus and Europa.

After Minos 1, his son Lycastus 1 became king being succeeded by his own son, the more famous Minos 2. But some affirm that Minos 2 was son of Zeus and Europa. During his reign, Crete had conflicts with Athens and Megara, which are reflected in the stories of the Minotaur, the abduction of Ariadne by Theseus, and the story of Nisus 1. The architectural creations of Daedalus (the Labyrinth, the Wooden Cow, the Dancing-floor for Ariadne) are from this time. Minos 2 died in Sicily killed by King Cocalus, or by the daughters of this Sicilian king.

Minos 2 was succeeded by Idomeneus 1, who became leader of the Cretans during the Trojan War. At his return from Troy, he was driven out of Crete by the usurper Leucus 1. Because of the intrigues of Nauplius 1 (see Agamemnon), Idomeneus 1's wife Meda 2 became the lover of Leucus 1 while her husband was fighting at Troy. But, as it is told, Leucus 1 killed her along with her daughter by Idomeneus 1, Clisithyra, and detaching ten cities from Crete, made himself ruler of them. So when Idomeneus 1, returning from the Trojan War, landed in Crete, Leucus 1 drove him out.


Parentage (two versions)





Lycastus 1 & Ide 1


Lycastus 1 is son of Minos 1 and Itone. Minos 1 is the son of Zeus and Europa. Itone is daughter of Lyctius, otherwise unknown.

Ide 1 is daughter of Corybas, only known for being her father.

a) Pasiphae

b) Crete 1


"a)", "b)", etc. = different versions.

For Pasiphae see Helius.

For Crete 1 see Europa.

Acalle was loved by Apollo in the house of Carmanor, and fearing the wrath of Minos 2, who drove her from home to dwell in Libya, she exposed her son Miletus. Carmanor, who once loved Demeter, had before purified Apollo after he had killed Python.

Glaucus 4

Glaucus 4, while he was yet a child, in chasing a mouse fell into a jar of honey and was drowned. On his disappearance, his father made a great search, but only Polyidus 1 was able to find him by means of divination. But the father of Glaucus 4 wanted his son alive. And then Polyidus 1, applying an herb to the body of Glaucus 4, raised him from the dead. Later Minos 2 would not let Polyidus 1 depart to Argos until he had taught Glaucus 4 the art of divination. Polyidus 1 taught him on compulsion, and when he was sailing away he bade Glaucus 4 spit into his mouth. Glaucus 4 did so and forgot the art of divination.

Deucalion 2

When Theseus was about to leave Crete, he joined battle with the Cretans at the gate of the Labyrinth where he slew Deucalion 2 and his bodyguard.

Catreus died at the time when Paris abducted Helen.


Androgeus is said to have been destroyed by the Marathonian Bull. But others say he was killed by competitors after winning the Panathenian games. Still others affirm he was killed during the war between Minos 2 and the Athenians.

Xenodice 1


Molus 1

Molus 1 is the father of Meriones, one of the ACHAEAN LEADERS.





Eurymedon 3


Chryses 2


The children of Paria lived in the island of Paros.

Dexithea 1




Euryale 2

Euryale 2 is sometimes said to be the mother of Orion.


Asterius 5

Asterius 5 commanded the Cretans who joined Dionysus 2 in his campaign against the Indians. He never returned to Crete, but settled among the Colchians and called them Asterians.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Acalle, Agenor 1, Androgenia, Androgeus, Ariadne, Asterius 5, Belus 1, Catreus, Chryses 2, Corybas, Deucalion 2, Dexithea, Epaphus 1, Europa, Euryale 2, Eurymedon 3, Euxanthius, Glaucus 4, Ide 1, Io, Itone, Libya, Lycastus 1, Lyctius, Minos 1, Minos 2, Molus 1, Nephalion, Paria, Pasiphae, Phaedra, Philolaus, Procris 2, Xenodice 1, Zeus.

7815: Antonio Canova 1757-1822: Theseus and the Minotaur (detail). Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Related sections Daedalus, Minotaur, Theseus

Apd.3.1.1-3, 3.15.1; Apd.Ep.1.15; Dio.4.60.3, 4.79.2, 5.79.4; Hdt.7.170; Hom.Od.11.568; Hyg.Ast.2.34, 2.35; Nonn.13.223; Pau.7.4.6; Stat.Theb.8.27.