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Mythology (33)

Ancient myths

KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE

Minotaur, Minotaurus

A bullheaded man, offspring of Pasiphae and a bull, shut up in the Labyrinth, Athenians send seven youths and seven damsels every year to be devoured by the, Theseus sent against the, killed by Theseus.


  Asterius dying childless, Minos wished to reign over Crete, but his claim was opposed. So he alleged that he had received the kingdom from the gods, and in proof of it he said that whatever he prayed for would be done. And in sacrificing to Poseidon he prayed that a bull might appear from the depths, promising to sacrifice it when it appeared. Poseidon did send him up a fine bull, and Minos obtained the kingdom, but he sent the bull to the herds and sacrificed another. (Being the first to obtain the dominion of the sea, he extended his rule over almost all the islands).
  But angry at him for not sacrificing the bull, Poseidon made the animal savage, and contrived that Pasiphae should conceive a passion for it. In her love for the bull she found an accomplice in Daedalus, an architect, who had been banished from Athens for murder. He constructed a wooden cow on wheels, took it, hollowed it out in the inside, sewed it up in the hide of a cow which he had skinned, and set it in the meadow in which the bull used to graze. Then he introduced Pasiphae into it; and the bull came and coupled with it, as if it were a real cow. And she gave birth to Asterius, who was called the Minotaur. He had the face of a bull, but the rest of him was human; and Minos, in compliance with certain oracles, shut him up and guarded him in the Labyrinth. Now the Labyrinth which Daedalus constructed was a chamber "that with its tangled windings perplexed the outward way".(Apollod.3.1.3)

  Minos not long afterwards (the murder of his son Androgeus at Athens by Athenian and Megarian conspirators - for wich see below Androgeus), being master of the sea, he attacked Athens with a fleet and captured Megara, then ruled by king Nisus, son of Pandion, and he slew Megareus, son of Hippomenes, who had come from Onchestus to the help of Nisus. Now Nisus perished through his daughter's treachery. For he had a purple hair on the middle of his head, and an oracle ran that when it was pulled out he should die; and his daughter Scylla fell in love with Minos and pulled out the hair. But when Minos had made himself master of Megara, he tied the damsel by the feet to the stern of the ship and drowned her.
  When the war lingered on and he could not take Athens, 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 at first, in obedience to an ancient oracle, slaughtered the daughters of Hyacinth, to wit, Antheis, Aegleis, Lytaea, and Orthaea, on the grave of Geraestus, the Cyclops; now Hyacinth, the father of the damsels, had come from Lacedaemon and dwelt in Athens. But when this was of no avail, they inquired of the oracle how they could be delivered; and the god answered them that they should give Minos whatever satisfaction he might choose. So they sent to Minos and left it to him to claim satisfaction. And Minos ordered them to send seven youths and the same number of damsels without weapons to be fodder for the Minotaur. Now the Minotaur was confined in a labyrinth, in which he who entered could not find his way out; for many a winding turn shut off the secret outward way. The labyrinth was constructed by Daedalus, whose father was Eupalamus, son of Metion, and whose mother was Alcippe; for he was an excellent architect and the first inventor of images. He had fled from Athens, because he had thrown down from the acropolis Talos, the son of his sister Perdix; for Talos was his pupil, and Daedalus feared that with his talents he might surpass himself, seeing that he had sawed a thin stick with a jawbone of a snake which he had found. But the corpse was discovered; Daedalus was tried in the Areopagus, and being condemned fled to Minos. And there Pasiphae having fallen in love with the bull of Poseidon, Daedalus acted as her accomplice by contriving a wooden cow, and he constructed the labyrinth, to which the Athenians every year sent seven youths and as many damsels to be fodder for the Minotaur.(Apollod.3.15.8)

  Theseus... was numbered among those who were to be sent as the third tribute to the Minotaur; or, as some affirm, he offered himself voluntarily. And as the ship had a black sail, Aegeus charged his son, if he returned alive, to spread white sails on the ship.
  And when he came to Crete, Ariadne, daughter of Minos, being amorously disposed to him, offered to help him if he would agree to carry her away to Athens and have her to wife. Theseus having agreed on oath to do so, she besought Daedalus to disclose the way out of the labyrinth. And at his suggestion she gave Theseus a clue when he went in; Theseus fastened it to the door, and, drawing it after him, entered in. And having found the Minotaur in the last part of the labyrinth, he killed him by smiting him with his fists; and drawing the clue after him made his way out again. And by night he arrived with Ariadne and the children at Naxos...(Apollod.E.1.7)
Commentary: The clearest description of the clue, with which the amorous Ariadne furnished Theseus, is given by the Scholiasts and Eustathius on Homer l.c.. From them we learn that it was a ball of thread which Ariadne had begged of Daedalus for the use of her lover. He was to fasten one end of the thread to the lintel of the door on entering into the labyrinth, and holding the ball in his hand to unwind the skein while he penetrated deeper and deeper into the maze, till he found the Minotaur asleep in the inmost recess; then he was to catch the monster by the hair and sacrifice him to Poseidon; after which he was to retrace his steps, gathering up the thread behind him as he went. According to the Scholiast on the Odyssey, the story was told by Pherecydes, whom later authors may have copied.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


  Not long afterwards there came from Crete for the third time the collectors of the tribute. Now as to this tribute, most writers agree that because Androgeos was thought to have been treacherously killed within the confines of Attica, not only did Minos harass the inhabitants of that country greatly in war, but Heaven also laid it waste, for barrenness and pestilence smote it sorely, and its rivers dried up; also that when their god assured them in his commands that if they appeased Minos and became reconciled to him, the wrath of Heaven would abate and there would be an end of their miseries, they sent heralds and made their supplication and entered into an agreement to send him every nine years a tribute of seven youths and as many maidens. And the most dramatic version of the story declares that these young men and women, on being brought to Crete, were destroyed by the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, or else wandered about at their own will and, being unable to find an exit, perished there; and that the Minotaur, as Euripides says, was "A mingled form and hybrid birth of monstrous shape", and that "Two different natures, man and bull, were joined in him".
  Philochorus, however, says that the Cretans do not admit this, but declare that the Labyrinth was a dungeon, with no other inconvenience than that its prisoners could not escape; and that Minos instituted funeral games in honor of Androgeos, and as prizes for the victors, gave these Athenian youth, who were in the meantime imprisoned in the Labyrinth and that the victor in the first games was the man who had the greatest power at that time under Minos, and was his general, Taurus by name, who was not reasonable and gentle in his disposition, but treated the Athenian youth with arrogance and cruelty. And Aristotle himself also, in his Constitution of Bottiaea, clearly does not think that these youths were put to death by Minos, but that they spent the rest of their lives as slaves in Crete. And he says that the Cretans once, in fulfillment of an ancient vow, sent an offering of their first-born to Delphi, and that some descendants of those Athenians were among the victims, and went forth with them; and that when they were unable to support themselves there, they first crossed over into Italy and dwelt in that country round about Iapygia, and from there journeyed again into Thrace and were called Bottiaeans; and that this was the reason why the maidens of Bottiaea, in performing a certain sacrifice, sing as an accompaniment "To Athens let us go!"
  And verily it seems to be a grievous thing for a man to be at enmity with a city which has a language and a literature. For Minos was always abused and reviled in the Attic theaters, and it did not avail him either that Hesiod called him "most royal," or that Homer styled him "a confidant of Zeus," but the tragic poets prevailed, and from platform and stage showered obloquy down upon him, as a man of cruelty and violence. And yet they say that Minos was a king and lawgiver, and that Rhadamanthus was a judge under him, and a guardian of the principles of justice defined by him.
  Accordingly, when the time came for the third tribute, and it was necessary for the fathers who had youthful sons to present them for the lot, fresh accusations against Aegeus arose among the people, who were full of sorrow and vexation that he who was the cause of all their trouble alone had no share in the punishment, but devolved the kingdom upon a bastard and foreign son, and suffered them to be left destitute and bereft of legitimate children. These things troubled Theseus, who, thinking it right not to disregard but to share in the fortune of his fellow-citizens, came forward and offered himself independently of the lot. The citizens admired his noble courage and were delighted with his public spirit, and Aegeus, when he saw that his son was not to be won over or turned from his purpose by prayers and entreaties, cast the lots for the rest of the youths.
  Hellanicus, however, says that the city did not send its young men and maidens by lot, but that Minos himself used to come and pick them out, and that he now pitched upon Theseus first of all, following the terms agreed upon. And he says the agreement was that the Athenians should furnish the ship, and that the youths should embark and sail with him carrying no warlike weapon, and that if the Minotaur was killed the penalty should cease.
  On the two former occasions, then, no hope of safety was entertained, and therefore they sent the ship with a black sail, convinced that their youth were going to certain destruction; but now Theseus encouraged his father and loudly boasted that he would master the Minotaur, so that he gave the pilot another sail, a white one, ordering him, if he returned with Theseus safe, to hoist the white sail, but otherwise to sail with the black one, and so indicate the affliction.
  Simonides, however, says that the sail given by Aegeus was not white, but ?a scarlet sail dyed with the tender flower of luxuriant holm-oak,? and that he made this a token of their safety. Moreover, the pilot of the ship was Phereclus, son of Amarsyas, as Simonides says; but Philochorus says that Theseus got from Scirus of Salamis Nausithous for his pilot, and Phaeax for his look-out man, the Athenians at that time not yet being addicted to the sea, and that Scirus did him this favour because one of the chosen youths, Menesthes, was his daughter's son. And there is evidence for this in the memorial chapels for Nausithous and Phaeax which Theseus built at Phalerum near the temple of Scirus, and they say that the festival of the Cybernesia, or Pilot's Festival, is celebrated in their honor.
  When the lot was cast, Theseus took those upon whom it fell from the prytaneium and went to the Delphinium, where he dedicated to Apollo in their behalf his suppliant's badge. This was a bough from the sacred olive-tree, wreathed with white wool. Having made his vows and prayers, he went down to the sea on the sixth day of the month Munychion, on which day even now the Athenians still send their maidens to the Delphinium to propitiate the god. And it is reported that the god at Delphi commanded him in an oracle to make Aphrodite his guide, and invite her to attend him on his journey, and that as he sacrificed the usual she-goat to her by the sea-shore, it became a he-goat (tragos) all at once, for which reason the goddess has the surname Epitragia.
  When he reached Crete on his voyage, most historians and poets tell us that he got from Ariadne, who had fallen in love with him, the famous thread, and that having been instructed by her how to make his way through the intricacies of the Labyrinth, he slew the Minotaur and sailed off with Ariadne and the youths. And Pherecydes says that Theseus also staved in the bottoms of the Cretan ships, thus depriving them of the power to pursue. And Demon says also that Taurus, the general of Minos, was killed in a naval battle in the harbor as Theseus was sailing out. But as Philochorus tells the story, Minos was holding the funeral games, and Taurus was expected to conquer all his competitors in them, as he had done before, and was grudged his success. For his disposition made his power hateful, and he was accused of too great intimacy with Pasiphae. Therefore when Theseus asked the privilege of entering the lists, it was granted him by Minos. And since it was the custom in Crete for women to view the games, Ariadne was present, and was smitten with the appearance of Theseus, as well as filled with admiration for his athletic prowess, when he conquered all his opponents. Minos also was delighted with him, especially because he conquered Taurus in wrestling and disgraced him, and therefore gave back the youths to Theseus, besides remitting its tribute to the city.
  Cleidemus, however, gives a rather peculiar and ambitious account of these matters, beginning a great way back. There was, he says, a general Hellenic decree that no trireme should sail from any port with a larger crew than five men, and the only exception was Jason, the commander of the Argo, who sailed about scouring the sea of pirates. Now when Daedalus fled from Crete in a merchant-vessel to Athens, Minos, contrary to the decrees, pursued him with his ships of war, and was driven from his course by a tempest to Sicily, where he ended his life. And when Deucalion, his son, who was on hostile terms with the Athenians, sent to them a demand that they deliver up Daedalus to him, and threatened, if they refused, to put to death the youth whom Minos had received from them as hostages, Theseus made him a gentle reply, declining to surrender Daedalus, who was his kinsman and cousin, being the son of Merope, the daughter of Erechtheus. But privately he set himself to building a fleet, part of it at home in the township of Thymoetadae, far from the public road, and part of it under the direction of Pittheus in Troezen, wishing his purpose to remain concealed. When his ships were ready, he set sail, taking Daedalus and exiles from Crete as his guides, and since none of the Cretans knew of his design, but thought the approaching ships to be friendly, Theseus made himself master of the harbor, disembarked his men, and got to Gnossus before his enemies were aware of his approach. Then joining battle with them at the gate of the Labyrinth, he slew Deucalion and his body-guard. And since Ariadne was now at the head of affairs, he made a truce with her, received back the youthful hostages, and established friendship between the Athenians and the Cretans, who took oath never to begin hostilities.
  There are many other stories about these matters, and also about Ariadne, but they do not agree at all. Some say that she hung herself because she was abandoned by Theseus; others that she was conveyed to Naxos by sailors and there lived with Oenarus the priest of Dionysus, and that she was abandoned by Theseus because he loved another woman: "Dreadful indeed was his passion for Aigle child of Panopeus".
This verse Peisistratus expunged from the poems of Hesiod, according to Hereas the Megarian, just as, on the other hand, he inserted into the Inferno of Homer the verse: "Theseus, Peirithous, illustrious children of Heaven", (Hom. Od. 11.631) and all to gratify the Athenians. Moreover, some say that Ariadne actually had sons by Theseus, Oenopion and Staphylus, and among these is Ion of Chios, who says of his own native city: "This, once, Theseus's son founded, Oenopion.
  Now the most auspicious of these legendary tales are in the mouths of all men, as I may say; but a very peculiar account of these matters is published by Paeon the Amathusian. He says that Theseus, driven out of his course by a storm to Cyprus, and having with him Ariadne, who was big with child and in sore sickness and distress from the tossing of the sea, set her on shore alone, but that he himself, while trying to succour the ship, was borne out to sea again. The women of the island, accordingly, took Ariadne into their care, and tried to comfort her in the discouragement caused by her loneliness, brought her forged letters purporting to have been written to her by Theseus, ministered to her aid during the pangs of travail, and gave her burial when she died before her child was born. Paeon says further that Theseus came back, and was greatly afflicted, and left a sum of money with the people of the island, enjoining them to sacrifice to Ariadne, and caused two little statuettes to be set up in her honor, one of silver, and one of bronze. He says also that at the sacrifice in her honor on the second day of the month Gorpiaeus, one of their young men lies down and imitates the cries and gestures of women in travail; and that they call the grove in which they show her tomb, the grove of Ariadne Aphrodite.
  Some of the Naxians also have a story of their own, that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes, one of whom, they say, was married to Dionysus in Naxos and bore him Staphylus and his brother, and the other, of a later time, having been carried off by Theseus and then abandoned by him, came to Naxos, accompanied by a nurse named Corcyne, whose tomb they show; and that this Ariadne also died there, and has honors paid her unlike those of the former, for the festival of the first Ariadne is celebrated with mirth and revels, but the sacrifices performed in honor of the second are attended with sorrow and mourning.
  On his voyage from Crete, Theseus put in at Delos, and having sacrificed to the god and dedicated in his temple the image of Aphrodite which he had received from Ariadne, he danced with his youths a dance which they say is still performed by the Delians, being an imitation of the circling passages in the Labyrinth, and consisting of certain rhythmic involutions and evolutions. This kind of dance, as Dicaearchus tells us, is called by the Delians The Crane, and Theseus danced it round the altar called Keraton, which is constructed of horns (kerata) taken entirely from the left side of the head. They say that he also instituted athletic contests in Delos, and that the custom was then begun by him of giving a palm to the victors.
  It is said, moreover, that as they drew nigh the coast of Attica, Theseus himself forgot, and his pilot forgot, such was their joy and exultation, to hoist the sail which was to have been the token of their safety to Aegeus, who therefore, in despair, threw himself down from the rock and was dashed in pieces. But Theseus, putting in to shore, sacrificed in person the sacrifices which he had vowed to the gods at Phalerum when he set sail, and then dispatched a herald to the city to announce his safe return. The messenger found many of the people bewailing the death of their king, and others full of joy at his tidings, as was natural, and eager to welcome him and crown him with garlands for his good news. The garlands, then, he accepted, and twined them about his herald's staff and on returning to the sea-shore, finding that Theseus had not yet made his libations to the gods, remained outside the sacred precincts, not wishing to disturb the sacrifice. But when the libations were made, he announced the death of Aegeus. Thereupon, with tumultuous lamentation, they went up in haste to the city. Whence it is, they say, that to this day, at the festival of the Oschophoria, it is not the herald that is crowned, but his herald's staff, and those who are present at the libations cry out: "Eleleu! Iou! Iou!" the first of which cries is the exclamation of eager haste and triumph, the second of consternation and confusion.

This extract is from: Plutarch's Lives (ed. Bernadotte Perrin, 1914). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Talos

   A brazen man, the work of Hephaestus, and given by Zeus to Minos, king of Crete, to watch that island, which he did by walking about it three times every day. When strangers approached he heated himself red hot and then embraced them, or, according to another version, threw showers of stones upon them. He had one vein in his body through which his blood ran and was stopped by a nail or plug in his foot. This plug Medea drew out by magic, and he bled to death.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


nbsp; The name of the Talaea Mountains refers to the giant Talos, who played an important role in Cretan mythology. Talos was the guardian of the island of Crete. He circumnavigated it three times a day in order to protect it from intruders. This giant, who was made of bronze and had a unique vein running from his neck to his heel, was invention of Hephaestus. Talos was unarmed, however he was able to hurl enormous rocks at hostile vessels when they approached Crete, while at the same time his bronze body glowed so that everything he touched was destroyed by fire. He was also responsible for the laws being obeyed in the country. During his walks through the island he was holding the plaques in his hands, on which the laws were written. This mythical giant would never have died, if it had not been for the Argonauts who passed the island on the vessel "Argo" and Medea, the witch, who helped them escape Talos' destructive blow. She kept him immobile so that she could approach him and take away the small bronze pin at his heel, which sealed the unique vein of his body. Thus the "blood of the gods" ran from his body and the hero collapsed.

This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains image.


(Argonauts) putting to sea from there (Anaphi), they were hindered from touching at Crete by Talos. Some say that he was a man of the Brazen Race, others that he was given to Minos by Hephaestus; he was a brazen man, but some say that he was a bull. He had a single vein extending from his neck to his ankles, and a bronze nail was rammed home at the end of the vein. This Talos kept guard, running round the island thrice every day; wherefore, when he saw the Argo standing inshore, he pelted it as usual with stones. His death was brought about by the wiles of Medea, whether, as some say, she drove him mad by drugs, or, as others say, she promised to make him immortal and then drew out the nail, so that all the ichor gushed out and he died. But some say that Poeas shot him dead in the ankle.
Commentary: Talos would seem to have been a bronze image of the sun represented as a man with a bull's head. In his account of the death of Talos our author again differs from Apollonius Rhodius, according to whom Talos perished through grazing his ankle against a jagged rock, so that all the ichor in his body gushed out. This incident seems to have been narrated by Sophocles in one of his plays (Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.1638; The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, i.110ff.). The account, mentioned by Apollodorus, which referred the death of Talos to the spells of Medea, is illustrated by a magnificent vase-painting, in the finest style, which represents Talos swooning to death in presence of the Argonauts, while the enchantress Medea stands by, gazing grimly at her victim and holding in one hand a basket from which she seems to be drawing with the other the fatal herbs.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.



The Seventh Labor of Heracles - The Cretan Bull

  The seventh labour he enjoined on him was to bring the Cretan bull. Acusilaus says that this was the bull that ferried across Europa for Zeus; but some say it was the bull that Poseidon sent up from the sea when Minos promised to sacrifice to Poseidon what should appear out of the sea. And they say that when he saw the beauty of the bull he sent it away to the herds and sacrificed another to Poseidon; at which the god was angry and made the bull savage. To attack this bull Hercules came to Crete, and when, in reply to his request for aid, Minos told him to fight and catch the bull for himself, he caught it and brought it to Eurystheus, and having shown it to him he let it afterwards go free. But the bull roamed to Sparta and all Arcadia, and traversing the Isthmus arrived at Marathon in Attica and harried the inhabitants.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


  The land of the Cretans and especially that by the river Tethris was ravaged by a bull. It would seem that in the days of old the beasts were much more formidable to men, for example the Nemean lion, the lion of Parnassus, the serpents in many parts of Greece, and the boars of Calydon, Eryrmanthus and Crommyon in the land of Corinth, so that it was said that some were sent up by the earth, that others were sacred to the gods, while others had been let loose to punish mankind. And so the Cretans say that this bull was sent by Poseidon to their land because, although Minos was lord of the Greek Sea, he did not worship Poseidon more than any other god. They say that this bull crossed from Crete to the Peloponnesus, and came to be one of what are called the Twelve Labours of Heracles. When he was let loose on the Argive plain he fled through the isthmus of Corinth, into the land of Attica as far as the Attic parish of Marathon, killing all he met, including Androgeos, son of Minos. Minos sailed against Athens with a fleet, not believing that the Athenians were innocent of the death of Androgeos, and sorely harassed them until it was agreed that he should take seven maidens and seven boys for the Minotaur that was said to dwell in the Labyrinth at Cnossus. But the bull at Marathon Theseus is said to have driven afterwards to the Acropolis and to have sacrificed to the goddess; the offering commemorating this deed was dedicated by the parish of Marathon.

This extract is from: Pausanias. Description of Greece (ed. W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., & H.A. Ormerod, 1918). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


  After the complicated business with the Stymphalian Birds, Hercules easily disposed of the Cretan Bull.
  At that time, Minos, King of Crete, controlled many of the islands in the seas around Greece, and was such a powerful ruler that the Athenians sent him tribute every year. There are many bull stories about Crete. Zeus, in the shape of a bull, had carried Minos' mother Europa to Crete, and the Cretans were fond of the sport of bull-leaping, in which contestants grabbed the horns of a bull and were thrown over its back.
  Minos himself, in order to prove his claim to the throne, had promised the sea-god Poseidon that he would sacrifice whatever the god sent him from the sea. Poseidon sent a bull, but Minos thought it was too beautiful to kill, and so he sacrificed another bull. Poseidon was furious with Minos for breaking his promise. In his anger, he made the bull rampage all over Crete, and caused Minos' wife Pasiphae to fall in love with the animal. As a result, Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Minos had to shut up this beast in the Labyrinth, a huge maze underneath the palace, and every year he fed it prisoners from Athens.
  When Hercules got to Crete, he easily wrestled the bull to the ground and drove it back to King Eurystheus. Eurystheus let the bull go free. It wandered around Greece, terrorizing the people, and ended up in Marathon, a city near Athens.
  The Athenian hero Theseus tied up some loose ends of this story. He killed the Cretan Bull at Marathon. Later, he sailed to Crete, found his way to the center of the Labyrinth, and killed the Minotaur.

This text is cited July 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Heracles. 7. The Cretan bull. According to Acusilaus, this bull was the same as the one which had carried Europa across the sea; according to others, he had been sent out of the sea by Poseidon, that Minos might sacrifice him to the god of the sea. But Minos was so charmed with the beauty of the animal, that he kept it, and sacrificed another in its stead. Poseidon punished Minos, by making the fine bull mad, and causing it to make great havoc in the island. Heracles was ordered by Eurystheus to catch the bull, and Minos, of course, willingly allowed him to do so. Heracles accomplished the task, and brought the bull home on his shoulders, but he then set the animal free again. The bull now roamed about through Greece, and at last came to Marathon, where we meet it again in the stories of Theseus. (Apollod. ii. 5.7; Paus. i. 27. 9, v. 10.2; Hygin. Fab. 30; Diod. iv. 13, &c.; Serv. ad Aen. viii. 294.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Theseus fetching the ring out of the sea

When Minos was taking Theseus and the rest of the company of young folk to Crete he fell in love with Periboea, and on meeting with determined opposition from Theseus, hurled insults at him and denied that he was a son of Poseidon, since he could not recover for him the signet-ring, which he happened to be wearing, if he threw it into the sea. With these words Minos is said to have thrown the ring, but they say that Theseus came up from the sea with that ring and also with a gold crown that Amphitrite gave him.


Glaucus

Son of Minos and Pasiphae, drowned in a jar of honey, brought to life by a magic herb, taught the art of divination by Polyidus, but forgets it, raised from the dead by Aesculapius.


  Glaucus, while he was yet a child, in chasing a mouse fell into a jar of honey and was drowned. On his disappearance Minos made a great search and consulted diviners as to how he should find him. The Curetes told him that in his herds he had a cow of three different colors, and that the man who could best describe that cow's color would also restore his son to him alive. So when the diviners were assembled, Polyidus, son of Coeranus, compared the color of the cow to the fruit of the bramble, and being compelled to seek for the child he found him by means of a sort of divination. But Minos declaring that he must recover him alive, he was shut up with the dead body. And while he was in great perplexity, he saw a serpent going towards the corpse. He threw a stone and killed it, fearing to be killed himself if any harm befell the body. But another serpent came, and, seeing the former one dead, departed, and then returned, bringing a herb, and placed it on the whole body of the other; and no sooner was the herb so placed upon it than the dead serpent came to life. Surprised at this sight, Polyidus applied the same herb to the body of Glaucus and raised him from the dead.6
Minos had now got back his son, but even so he did not suffer Polyidus to depart to Argos until he had taught Glaucus the art of divination. Polyidus taught him on compulsion, and when he was sailing away he bade Glaucus spit into his mouth. Glaucus did so and forgot the art of divination.
Commentary:
1. The cow or calf (for so Hyginus describes it) was said to change colour twice a day, or once every four hours, being first white, then red, and then black. The diviner Polyidus solved the riddle by comparing the colour of the animal to a ripening mulberry, which is first white, then red, and finally black.
2. Coeranus is said to have discovered the drowned boy by observing an owl which had perched on a wine-cellar and was driving away bees.
3. According to another account (Apoll. 3.10.3) , Glaucus was raised from the dead by Aesculapius.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Glaucus. One of the sons of the Cretan king Minos by Pasiphae or Crete. When yet a boy, while he was playing at ball (Hygin. Fab 136), or while pursuing a mouse (Apollod. iii. 3.1, &c.), he fell into a cask full of honey, and died in it. Minos for a long time searched after his son in vain, and was at length informed by Apollo or the Curetes that the person who should devise the most appropriate comparison between a cow, which could assume three different colours, and any other object, should find the boy and restore him to his father. Minos assembled his soothsayers, but as none of them was able to do what was required, a stranger, Polyidus of Argos, solved the problem by likening the cow to a mulberry, which is at first white, then red, and in the end black. Polyidus, who knew nothing of the oracle, was thus compelled by his own wisdom to restore Glaucus to his father. By his prophetic powers he discovered that Glaucus had not perished in the sea, and being guided by an owl (glaux) and bees, he found him in the cask of honey. (Aelian, H. A. v. 2.) Minos now further demanded the restoration of his son to life. As Polyidus could not accomplish this, Minos, who attributed his refusal to obstinacy, ordered him to be entombed alive with the body of Glaucus. When Polyidus was thus shut up in the vault, he saw a serpent approaching the dead body, and killed the animal. Presently another serpent came, carrying a herb, with which it covered the dead serpent. The dead serpent was thereby restored to life, and when Polyidus covered the body of Glaucus with the same herb, the boy at once rose into life again. Both shouted for assistance from without; and when Minos heard of it, he had the tomb opened. In his delight at having recovered his child, he munificently rewarded Polyidus, and sent him back to his country. (Comp. Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 811; Palaephat. 27; Apollod. iii. 10.3; Schol. ad Eurip. Alcest.; Hygin. P. A. ii. 14; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iii. 96.) The story of the Cretan Glaucus and Polyidus was a favourite subject with the ancient poets and artists; it was not only represented in mimic dances (Lucian, de Saltat. 49), but Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides made it the subject of separate dramatic compositions. (Welcker, Die Griech. Tragoed. vol. i., vol. ii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Heroes

Androgeos, Androgeus

Androgeos. A son of Minos, king of Crete, by Pasiphae. Visiting Athens at the first celebration of the Panathenaea, he won victories over all the champions, when King Aegeus, out of jealousy, sent him to fight the bull of Marathon, which killed him. According to another account he was slain in an ambush. Minos avenged his son by making the Athenians send seven youths and seven maidens every nine years as victims of the Minotaur.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Androgeus (Androgeos), a son of Minos and Pasiphae, or Crete, who is said to have conquered all his opponents in the games of the Panathenaea at Athens. This extraordinary good luck, however, became the cause of his destruction, though the mode of his death is related differently. According to some accounts Aegeus sent the man he dreaded to fight against the Marathonian bull, who killed him; according to others, he was assassinated by his defeated rivals on his road to Thebes, whither he was going to take part in a solemn contest (Apollod. iii. 1.2, 15.7; Paus. i. 27.9). According to Diodorus (iv. 60) it was Aegeus himself who had him murdered near Oenoe, on the road to Thebes, because he feared lest Androgeus should support the sons of Pallas against him. Hyginus (Fab. 41) makes him fall in a battle during the war of his father Minos against the Athenians (See some different accounts in Plut. Thes. 15; Serv. ad Aen. vi. 14). But the common tradition is, that Minos made war on the Athenians in consequence of the death of his son. Propertius (ii. 1. 64) relates that Androgeus was restored to life by Aesculapius. He was worshipped in Attica as a hero, an altar was erected to him in the port of Phalerus (Paus. i. 1.4), and games, androgeonia, were celebrated in his honour every year in the Cerameicus (see Androgeonia.) He was also worshipped under the name Eurugues, i. e. he who ploughs or possesses extensive fields, whence it has been inferred that originally Androgeus was worshipped as the introducer of agriculture into Attica.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Aegeus... celebrated the games of the Panathenian festival, in which Androgeus, son of Minos, vanquished all comers. Him Aegeus sent against the bull of Marathon, by which he was destroyed. But some say that as he journeyed to Thebes to take part in the games in honor of Laius, he was waylaid and murdered by the jealous competitors.But when the tidings of his death were brought to Minos, as he was sacrificing to the Graces in Paros, he threw away the garland from his head and stopped the music of the flute, but nevertheless completed the sacrifice; hence down to this day they sacrifice to the Graces in Paros without flutes and garlands.
Cimmentary: This account of the murder of Androgeus is repeated almost verbally by the Scholiast on Plat. Minos 321a. Compare Diod. 4.60.4ff.; Zenobius, Cent. iv.6; Scholiast on Hom. Il. xviii.590. All these writers mention the distinction won by Androgeus in the athletic contests of the Panathenian festival as the ultimate ground of his undoing. Serv. Verg. A. 6.14 and Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Achill. 192 say that, as an eminent athlete who beat all competitors in the games, Androgeus was murdered at Athens by Athenian and Megarian conspirators. Paus. 1.27.10 mentions the killing of Androgeus by the Marathonian bull. According to Hyginus, Fab. 41, Androgeus was killed in battle during the war which his father Minos waged with the Athenians.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Another deed of Theseus they have represented in an offering, and the story about it is as follows: The land of the Cretans and especially that by the river Tethris was ravaged by a bull. It would seem that in the days of old the beasts were much more formidable to men, for example the Nemean lion, the lion of Parnassus, the serpents in many parts of Greece, and the boars of Calydon, Eryrmanthus and Crommyon in the land of Corinth, so that it was said that some were sent up by the earth, that others were sacred to the gods, while others had been let loose to punish mankind. And so the Cretans say that this bull was sent by Poseidon to their land because, although Minos was lord of the Greek Sea, he did not worship Poseidon more than any other god. They say that this bull crossed from Crete to the Peloponnesus, and came to be one of what are called the Twelve Labours of Heracles. When he was let loose on the Argive plain he fled through the isthmus of Corinth, into the land of Attica as far as the Attic parish of Marathon, killing all he met, including Androgeos, son of Minos. Minos sailed against Athens with a fleet, not believing that the Athenians were innocent of the death of Androgeos, and sorely harassed them until it was agreed that he should take seven maidens and seven boys for the Minotaur that was said to dwell in the Labyrinth at Cnossus. But the bull at Marathon Theseus is said to have driven afterwards to the Acropolis and to have sacrificed to the goddess; the offering commemorating this deed was dedicated by the parish of Marathon.

This extract is from: Pausanias. Description of Greece (ed. W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., & H.A. Ormerod, 1918). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.



Heroines

Apemosyne

  Catreus, son of Minos, had three daughters, Aerope, Clymene, and Apemosyne, and a son, Althaemenes. When Catreus inquired of the oracle how his life should end, the god said that he would die by the hand of one of his children. Now Catreus hid the oracles, but Althaemenes heard of them, and fearing to be his father's murderer, he set out from Crete with his sister Apemosyne, and put in at a place in Rhodes, and having taken possession of it he called it Cretinia. And having ascended the mountain called Atabyrium, he beheld the islands round about; and descrying Crete also and calling to mind the gods of his fathers he founded an altar of Atabyrian Zeus. But not long afterwards he [p. 309] became the murderer of his sister. For Hermes loved her, and as she fled from him and he could not catch her, because she excelled him in speed of foot, he spread fresh hides on the path, on which, returning from the spring, she slipped and so was deflowered. She revealed to her brother what had happened, but he, deeming the god a mere pretext, kicked her to death.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Acacallis, Acalle

  Daughter of king Minos and queen Pasiphae of Crete.
  Apollo fell in love with her and seduced her, and she bore him two sons: Amphithemis and Garamas. Because of this, Minos banished Acacallis to Libya. There, she was seduced by Zeus and bore him the son Ammon. Later, Hermes seduced her, and by him she had Cydon, who went to Crete and became the founder of the town Cydonia on the island.
  On Crete they called the flower Narcissus Acacallis.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.


Acacallis (Akakallis), daughter of Minos, by whom, according to a Cretan tradition, Hermes begot Cydon; while according to a tradition of the Tegeatans, Cydon was a son of Tegeates, and immigrated to Crete from Tegea (Paus. viii. 53.2). Apollo begot by her a son Miletus, whom, for fear of her father, Acacallis exposed in a forest, where wolves watched and suckled the child, until he was found by shepherds who brought him up (Antonin. Lib. 30). Other sons of her and Apollo are Amphithemis and Garamas (Apollon. iv. 1490, &c.). Apollodorus (iii. 1.2) calls this daughter of Minos Acalle (Akalle), but does not mention Miletus as her son. Acacallis was in Crete a common name for a narcissus. (Athen. xv.; Hesych. s. v.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Dexithea

Concubine of Minos, mother of Euxanthius


Kings

Asterius

Prince of Crete, marries Europa, dies childless, father of Crete, according to Asclepiades.


Catreus, Creteus

Creteus (Kreteus) or Catreus (Katreus), a son of Minos by Pasiphae or Crete, and king of Crete. He is renowned in ancient story on account of his tragic death by the hand of his own son, Althemenes. (Apollod. ii. 1.2, iii. 1.2; Diod. iv. 59; Paus. viii. 53.2)


Euxantius

And in the tenth month the bride with beautiful hair bore Euxantius, to be ruler over the glorious island daughters city cut deep by the sun's rays.


Leucus

(...)Palamedes, the son of Nauplius and Clymene daughter of Catreus, had been stoned to death through the machinations of Ulysses. And when Nauplius learned of it, he sailed to the Greeks and claimed satisfaction for the death of his son; but when he returned unsuccessful ( for they all favoured King Agamemnon, who had been the accomplice of Ulysses in the murder of Palamedes), he coasted along the Grecian lands and contrived that the wives of the Greeks should play their husbands false, Clytaemnestra with Aegisthus, Aegialia with Cometes, son of Sthenelus, and Meda, wife of Idomeneus, with Leucus. But Leucus killed her, together with her daughter Clisithyra, who had taken refuge in the temple; and having detached ten cities from Crete he made himself tyrant of them; and when after the Trojan war Idomeneus landed in Crete, Leucus drove him out.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Nymphs

Paria

A nymph, a concubine of Minos. He begat with her sons Eurymedon, Nephalion, Chryses, and Philolaus


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