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Listed 39 sub titles with search on: Homeric world  for wider area of: "KNOSSOS Minoan settlement CRETE" .

Homeric world (39)

Ancient myths

Daedalus & Icarus

KNOSSOS (Minoan settlement) CRETE
Daedalus; resides with Minos at Cnosus, makes an artificial cow for Pasiphae, constructs the Labyrinth , besought by Ariadne to disclose the way out of the labyrinth, makes wings for himself and flies to Sicily. Icarus; son of Daedalus, flies too high and falls into the sea, body of, washed ashore on Icaria and buried by Herakles.

Daedalus: He was a skilful artificer, who constructed the Labyrinth. Homer compares the dancing-floor, which was constucted by Daedalus for Ariadne in Cnosus, with the one on the shield of Achilles, which Hephaestus wrought (Il. 18.592).
More information for Daedalus at the Attic Deme of Daidalidae

Icarus, son of Daedalus. All articles for Icarus are available at Icaria island, which named after him.

Greek heroes of the Trojan War


Meriones, son of Molus and comrade of Idomeneus, took part in the Trojan War (Il. 2.651, 7.165, 17.610, 23.112).

   Son of Molus, a halfbrother of Idomeneus of Crete, whom he accompanied to Troy with eighty ships. In Homer we read that he was there one of the bravest in the fight, and with Teucer specially distinguished in archery, an art in which the Cretans had always excelled. According to a later legend, on his return from Troy his vessel was driven to Engyion in the north of Sicily, which was supposed to be a Cretan settlement. At Gnossus in Crete his grave was shown, and both he and Idomeneus, his friend and companion in battle, were honoured as heroe.

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

Greek leaders in the Trojan War


Idomeneus, son of Deucalion, grandson of Minos (Il. 12.117, 13.445-454, 17.608) was the leader of the Cretans in the Trojan War (Il. 2.645, 4.252). He managed to arrive in Crete safe with his followers (Od. 3.191).

Idomeneus.The son of Deucalion of Crete, and grandson of Minos. Being one of Helen's suitors, he and Meriones, the son of his half-brother, went with eighty ships to Troy, where he appears in Homer as among the bravest of heroes. He is described by Homer ( Od.iii. 191) as one of those who safely returned to his native land. According to a later story, he was caught in a storm on his way home, and vowed to Poseidon that, if he returned in safety, he would sacrifice to the god whatever he should first meet on his landing. His son came out to meet him, and was accordingly sacrificed; a plague thereupon broke out, he was banished by the Cretans, and betook himself to Calabria. He afterwards withdrew to Colophon in Asia, where he is said to have been buried. His tomb, however, was shown by the Cretans at Cnosus, where he and Meriones were worshipped as heroes

Idomeneus, a son of Deucalion, and grandson of Minos and Pasiphae; and hence he traced his pedigree to Zeus and Helios. He was a man of great beauty, and is mentioned among the suitors of Helen (Hon. Il. xiii. 450, &c., Od. xix. 181; Paus. v. 25. 5; Apollod. iii. 3.; Hygin. Fab. 81). He is sometimes called Lyctius or Cnosius, from the Cretan towns of Lyctus and Cnosus (Virg. Aen. iii. 400; Diod. v. 79). In conjunction with Meriones, the son of his half-brother Molus, he led the Cretans in 80 ships against Troy, and was one of the bravest heroes in the Trojan war. He offered to fight with Hector, and distinguished himself especially in the battle near the ships, where he slew several Trojans (Hom. Il. ii. 645, &c., iii. 230, iv. 251, v. 43, vii. 165, xiii. 361, &c., xvi. 345). Philostratus (Her. 7) even relates that while the Greek heroes were waiting at Aulis, Cretan ambassadors came to Agamemnon to announce that Idomeneus would join him with one hundred Cretan ships, if Agamemnon would share the supreme command with him. After the fall of Troy, Idomeneus returned home in safety (Hom. Od. iii. 1.91; Diod. v. 79), though the post-Homeric traditions inform us that once in a storm he vowed to Poseidon to sacrifice to him whatever he should meet first on his landing, if the god would grant him a safe return. The first person he met on landing was his own son. He accordingly sacrificed his son; and as Crete was thereupon visited by a plague, the Cretans expelled Idomeneus. He went to Italy, where he settled in Calabria, and built a temple to Athena. From thence he is said to have again migrated to Colophon, on the coast of Asia, to have settled near the temple of the Clarian Apollo, and to have been buried on Mount Cercaphus (Serv. ad Aen. iii. 121, 401, 531, xi. 264; Strab. x.; Schol. ad Hom. Od. xiii. 259). At Olympia his statue, the work of Onatas, stood among the images of those who drew lots as to who was to fight with Hector, and on his shield a cock was represented (Paus. v. 25.5; comp. Hom. Il. vii. 161, &c.). His tomb was shown at Cnosus, where he and Meriones were worshipped as heroes (Diod. v. 79).
Another personage of the name of Idomeneus is mentioned among the sons of Priam. (Apollod. iii. 12.5)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

Cnosus, city of the island of Crete, participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.646 & 18.501, Od. 19.178).



A son of Zeus by Europa, brother of Minos (Il. 14.321, Od. 7 323) and father of Erythrus. In the Odyssey, Homer mentions that he dwelt in the Elysian plain (Od. 4.564).

   (Rhadamanthos) and Rhadamanthys (Rhadamanthus). The son of Zeus and Europa, and brother of King Minos of Crete. From fear of his brother he fled to Ocalea in Boeotia, and there married Alcmene. In consequence of his justice throughout life, he became, after his death, one of the judges in the lower world or in the Islands of the Blessed, where he has for his associates Aeacus and Minos. The name points to an Egyptian origin of the myth.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

  Rhadamanthys deserves admiration for the way in which, as we are told, he judged cases of law, in that he perceived that the men of his time had a clear belief in the existence of gods,--and naturally so, seeing that most men at that time were the offspring of gods, he himself among others, as the story declares. Probably he thought that he ought not to entrust lawsuits to any man, but only to gods, from whom he obtained verdicts that were both simple and speedy; for he administered an oath to the disputants regarding each matter in dispute, and thus secured a speedy and safe settlement. But nowadays, when, as we say, a certain section of mankind totally disbelieve in gods, and others hold that they pay no regard to us men, while a third party, consisting of the most and worst of men, suppose that in return for small offerings and flatteries the gods lend them aid in committing large robberies, and often set them free from great penalties,--under such conditions, for men as they now are, the device of Rhadamanthys would no longer be appropriate in actions at law.

Rhadamanthus, the first to establish laws





She was the daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, who fell in love with Theseus and helped him to find his way out of the labyrinth by giving him a clue of thread. The Athenian hero sailed away from the island of Crete and took Ariadne with him, whom he abandoned at the island of Naxos, where Dionysus saw her, fell in love with her and married her. (Il. 18.592, Od. 11.321).
More information for Ariadne can be found in Naxos island.

Phaidra (Phaedra)

Daughter of Minos by Pasiphae or Crete, wife of Theseus, intervention of Amazons at her marriage, dedicates image of Ilithyia, loves Hippolytus and falsely accuses him to Theseus, hangs herself, her grave, her myrtle-tree, painted in a swing by Polygnotus.
More information for Phaedra can be found in Ancient Troezen.


Minos & Pasiphae, Crete

There is a land called Crete, in the midst of the wine-dark sea, a fair, rich land, begirt with water, and therein are many men, past counting, and ninety cities. They have not all the same speech, but their tongues are mixed. There dwell Achaeans, there great-hearted native Cretans, there Cydonians, and Dorians of waving plumes, and goodly Pelasgians. Among their cities is the great city Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus, and was father of my father, great-hearted Deucalion. Now Deucalion begat me and prince Idomeneus. Idomeneus had gone forth in his beaked ships to Ilios with the sons of Atreus; but my famous name is Aethon; I was the younger by birth, while he was the elder and the better man. There it was that I saw Odysseus and gave him gifts of entertainment; for the force of the wind had brought him too to Crete, as he was making for the land of Troy, and drove him out of his course past Malea. So he anchored his ships at Amnisus, where is the cave of Eilithyia, in a difficult harbor, and hardly did he escape the storm.

Minos: Son of Zeus and Europa, husband of Pasiphae. Pasiphae: Sister of Aeetes, wife of Minos, daughter of the Sun, bewitches Minos, loves the bull, with the complicity of Daedalus, image of, Pasiphae a surname of the moon.

  Minos. The son of Zeus and Europa, brother of Rhadamanthus, was the king and legislator of Crete. After his death he became one of the judges of the shades in Hades. He was the father of Deucalion and Ariadne; and, according to Apollodorus, the brother of Sarpedon. Some traditions relate that Minos married Itone, daughter of Lyctius, by whom he had a son, Lycastus, and that the latter became, by Ida, the father of another Minos. But it should be observed that Homer and Hesiod know of only one Minos, the ruler of Cnossus, and the son and friend of Zeus; and that they relate nearly the same things about him which later traditions assign to a second Minos, the grandson of the former. In this case, as in many other mythical traditions, a rationalistic criticism attempted to solve contradictions and difficulties in the stories about a person, by assuming that the contradictory accounts must refer to two different personages.
  Assuming, however, the fact of a second Minos, he was also a king and lawgiver of Crete. He is described as the husband of Pasiphae, a daughter of Helios; and as the father of Catreus, Deucalion, Glaucus, Androgeos, Acalle, Xenodice, Ariadne, and Phaedra. After the death of Asterius, Minos aimed at the supremacy of Crete, and declared that it was destined to him by the gods; in proof of which, he asserted that the gods always answered his prayers. Accordingly, as he was offering up a sacrifice to Poseidon, he prayed that a bull might come forth from the sea, and promised to sacrifice the beast. The bull appeared and Minos became king of Crete. Minos, however, admiring the beauty of the bull, did not sacrifice him, but substituted another in his place, whereupon Poseidon rendered the bull furious, and made Pasiphae conceive a passion for the animal. Daedalus enabled Pasiphae to gratify her passion, and she became by the bull the mother of the Minotaurus, a monster with a human body and a bull's head, or, according to others, with a bull's body and a human head. The monster was kept in the labyrinth at Cnossus, constructed by Daedalus. Daedalus fled from Crete to escape the wrath of Minos and took refuge in Sicily. Minos followed him to Sicily, and was there slain by Cocalus and his daughters.
  Minos is further said to have divided Crete into three parts, and to have ruled nine years. The Cretans traced their legal and political institutions to Minos. He is said to have been instructed in the art of legislation by Zeus himself; and the Spartan Lycurgus was believed to have taken the legislation of Minos as his model. In his time Crete was a powerful maritime State; and Minos not only checked the piratical pursuits of his contemporaries, but made himself master of the Greek islands of the Aegean. The most ancient legends describe Minos as a just and wise lawgiver, whereas the later accounts represent him as an unjust and cruel tyrant. In order to avenge the wrong done to his son Androgeos at Athens, he made war against the Athenians and Megarians. He subdued Megara, and compelled the Athenians either every year or every nine years to send him as a tribute seven youths and seven maidens, who were devoured in the labyrinth by the Minotaurus. The monster was slain by Theseus.
  It is generally held that the tradition of Minos embodies a certain amount of historical truth, and that there really was a king of that name who ruled Crete before the Dorian migration, and developed a formidable sea-power, which he used in putting down piracy. Cf. Thuc. i. 4, 8; Aristotle, Polit. ii. 10; iv. 10;

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

  The Cretan constitution approximates to that of Sparta, but though in a few points it is not worse framed, for the larger part it has a less perfect finish. For the Spartan constitution appears and indeed is actually stated1 to have been copied in most of its provisions from the Cretan; and as a rule old things have been less fully elaborated than newer ones. For it is said that when Lycurgus relinquished his post as guardian of King Charilaus and went abroad, he subsequently passed most of his time in Crete because of the relationship between the Cretans and the Spartans; for the Lyctians were colonists from Sparta, and the settlers that went out to the colony found the system of laws already existing among the previous inhabitants of the place; owing to which the neighboring villagers even now use these laws in the same manner, in the belief that Minos4 first instituted this code of laws. And also the island appears to have been designed by nature and to be well situated to be under Greek rule, as it lies across the whole of the sea, round which almost all the Greeks are settled; for Crete is only a short distance from the Peloponnese in one direction, and from the part of Asia around Triopium and from Rhodes in the other. Owing to this Minos won the empire of the sea, and made some of the islands subject to him and settled colonies in others, but finally when making an attack on Sicily he ended his life there near Camicus. The Cretan organization is on the same lines as that of Sparta. In Sparta the land is tilled by the Helots and in Crete by the serfs;

  According to history, Minos was an excellent law-giver, and also the first to gain the mastery of the sea; and he divided the island into three parts and founded a city in each part... As Ephorus states, Minos was an emulator of a certain Rhadamanthys of early times, a man most just and bearing the same name as Minos's brother, who is reputed to have been the first to civilize the island by establishing laws and by uniting cities under one city as metropolis and by setting up constitutions, alleging that he brought from Zeus the several decrees which he promulgated. So, in imitation of Rhadamanthys, Minos would go up every nine years, as it appears, to the cave of Zeus, tarry there, and come back with commandments drawn up in writing, which he alleged were ordinances of Zeus; and it was for this reason that the poet says, "there Minos reigned as king, who held converse with great Zeus every ninth year".
  Such is the statement of Ephorus; but again the early writers have given a different account of Minos, which is contrary to that of Ephorus, saying that he was tyrannical, harsh, and an exactor of tribute, representing in tragedy the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, and the adventures of Theseus and Daedalus. Now, as for these two accounts, it is hard to say which is true; and there is another subject that is not agreed upon by all, some saying that Minos was a foreigner, but others that he was a native of the island. The poet, however, seems rather to advocate the second view when he says, "Zeus first begot Minos, guardian o'er Crete". In regard to Crete, writers agree that in ancient times it had good laws, and rendered the best of the Greeks its emulators, and in particular the Lacedaemonians, as is shown, for instance, by Plato and also by Ephorus, who in his Europe has described its constitution. But later it changed very much for the worse; for after the Tyrrhenians, who more than any other people ravaged Our Sea (The Mediterranean), the Cretans succeeded to the business of piracy; their piracy was later destroyed by the Cilicians; but all piracy was broken up by the Romans, who reduced Crete by war and also the piratical strongholds of the Cilicians. And at the present time Cnossus has even a colony of Romans.

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

Of the numerous accounts of the Carians, the one that is generally agreed upon is this, that the Carians were subject to the rule of Minos, being called Leleges at that time, and lived in the islands; then, having migrated to the mainland, they took possession of much of the coast and of the interior, taking it away from its previous possessors, who for the most part were Leleges and Pelasgians. In turn these were deprived of a part of their country by the Greeks, I mean Ionians and Dorians.

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

  Now Minos, it is said, went to Sicania, which is now called Sicily, in search for Daedalus, and perished there by a violent death. Presently all the Cretans except the men of Polichne and Praesus were bidden by a god to go with a great host to Sicania. Here they besieged the town of Camicus, where in my day the men of Acragas dwelt, for five years. Presently, since they could neither take it nor remain there because of the famine which afflicted them, they departed. However, when they were at sea off Iapygia, a great storm caught and drove them ashore. Because their ships had been wrecked and there was no way left of returning to Crete, they founded there the town of Hyria, and made this their dwelling place, accordingly changing from Cretans to Messapians of Iapygia, and from islanders to dwellers on the mainland. From Hyria they made settlements in those other towns which a very long time afterwards the Tarentines attempted to destroy, thereby suffering great disaster.
Commentary: Minos found Daedalus in Camicus, the city he had built for Cocalus the Sican king. He was hospitably received by Cocalus, but enticed into a warm bath and there slain by the king or his daughters.

This extract is from: Herodotus. The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

  And the first person known to us by tradition as having established a navy is Minos. He made himself master of what is now called the Hellenic sea, and ruled over the Cyclades, into most of which he sent the first colonies, expelling the Carians and appointing his own sons governors; and thus did his best to put down piracy in those waters, a necessary step to secure the revenues for his own use.(Thuc. 1.4.1)
  The islanders, too, were great pirates. These islanders were Carians and Phoenicians, by whom most of the islands were colonized, as was proved by the following fact. During the purification of Delos by Athens in this war all the graves in the island were taken up, and it was found that above half their inmates were Carians: they were identified by the fashion of the arms buried with them, and by the method of interment, which was the same as the Carians still follow. But as soon as Minos had formed his navy, communication by sea became easier, as he colonized most of the islands, and thus expelled the malefactors. The coast populations now began to apply themselves more closely to the acquisition of wealth, and their life became more settled; some even began to build themselves walls on the strength of their newly-acquired riches. For the love of gain would reconcile the weaker to the dominion of the stronger, and the possession of capital enabled the more powerful to reduce the smaller towns to subjection. And it was at a somewhat later stage of this development that they went on the expedition against Troy.(Thuc. 1.8.1)

This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910). Cited Nov 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

Pasiphae, a daughter of Helios (the Sun) and Perseis, and a sister of Circe and Aeetes. She was the wife of Minos, by whom she became the mother of Androgeos, Catreus, Deucalion, Glaucus, Acalle, Xenodice, Ariadne, and Phaedra. Hence Phaedra is called Pasipheia (Ovid, Met.xv. 500). As a punishment for Minos who had failed to carry out a vow that he had made, Pasiphae was inspired by Poseidon with a violent passion for a bull. By a device of the artisan Daedalus, who enclosed her in a wooden cow, Pasiphae was enabled to gratify her desires, and became by the bull the mother of the monster Minotaurus, a creature half man and half bull. There is a poem De Pasiphae of twenty-two lines in the Latin Anthology, ascribed to Rufinus Antiochensis

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

Crete (Krete), a daughter of Asterion, and wife of Minos. According to others, she was the mother of Pasiphae by Helios (Apollod. iii . 1.2; Diod. iv. 60). There are two other mythical personages of this name. (Apollod. iii. 3.1; Diod. iii. 71.)

Deucalion, Deucalus

He was the king of Crete, son of Minos by Pasiphae, father of Idomeneus, an Argonaut and participated in the hunting of the Calydonian boar (Il. 13.451).
This Deucalion is not to be confounded with the more famous Deucalion in whose time the great flood took place.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus pretended in front of Penelope to be the son of Deucalion (Od. 19.180).

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