Minos in Greek mythology was King of Crete. The kingdom of Minos included the whole of Crete, which had one hundred cities, and the Cyclades, which were called Minoides. The capital of the Minoan kingdom was Knossos, located 6 km outside Heraklion, Crete.
Minos was the son of Zeus and Europe. His wife was Pasiphae, and they had eight children, four girls, and four boys. The name of Minos is involved in many of the myths of Greek mythology. From Minos, was named Minoan civilization, which was developed in Crete from 3000 to 1450 BC.
As Minos was the legislator of Crete and founder of the naval supremacy of the island, he dominated the Aegean during his reign. According to mythology, Minos promised to Poseidon to sacrifice in honor of a beautiful bull he had seen coming out of the sea. However, he changed his mind and sacrificed another animal, causing Poseidon to be annoyed and cursed Minos’wife. Pasiphae fell in love with a beautiful bull that Poseidon sent her and her mating with the bull, created a monster-child, the Minotaur.
Minos ordered the architect of the palace, Daedalus, to build the famous Labyrinth, where the Minotaur was placed. However, Minos decided to imprison Daedalus and his son, Icarus. Some believe the reason was that he helped Ariadne by giving him the mito. Some others believe that the reason for his imprisonment was the help he offered to Poseidon in order to get in contact with the bull. The result, however, was Daedalus and Icarus to be imprisoned. From there, they managed to escape with the use of wings, but Icarus found a tragic end.
Minoas’ son, Androeus, participated in fights organized by the king of Athens, Aegeus, Panathenaia. Because he won, almost always in all the competitions, his opponents decided to kill him. When Minos was informed of the loss of his son, he was in Paros, where sacrifices were made in honor of the Graces. His first reaction was to remove the flower wreath that he wore on his head and to order the suitors to stop playing. However, he continued to sacrifice to the end. Since then this sacrifice has been done without music. Then he decided to wage war against the Athenians and asked for the help of his father, Zeus. According to myth, Zeus sent epidemic and pestilence to Athens. As the Athenians could not cope with Minos’ siege, they decided to make every wish for him to stop the war. The tribute to them was to send seven young men and seven young men each year to feed the Minotaur.
After the escape of Daidalos, Minos sought him everywhere. He finally found him in Sicily, where he had resorted to the court of King Kamikou, Kokkalos. Minos asked Kokkalos to hand over Daedalus. Kokkalos pretended to give his request, but he asked him first to participate in a symposium he would organize. Prior to the symposium, Minos had to wash his hair. Kakkalo’s daughters threw hot water on Minos, causing Minos to find horrible death.
According to Plato, Minos was very wise and with considerable legislative work. The impressive palaces of Minos covered an area of 20,000 sq.m. Impressions are caused by the variety of building materials, colored mortars, ornaments and frescoes decorating rooms and corridors. These palaces consisted of an almost entire city, with guest houses, outdoor baths, sanctuaries, craft workshops for decorating and grooming the palaces, food storerooms, kings’ rooms, throne room, shelters, banquet rooms and ceremonies with innumerable stairs and terraces. From an architectural and artistic point of view, Minos’ palace in Knossos is something unique in the whole world, as is the unique archaeological interest they cause.
The figure of Minos is a central theme in several works by great painters. Mikalantzelos presents in a wall painting, at the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, Minos as the Judge of Hades,
Also in Dante’s Hell, Minos is described, standing at the entrance of Hades and judging the souls, deciding their punishments, and to which underground level of the underworld would go according to the sins they committed