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.
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
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.