Minos was the ruler of the Minoan empire. It is believed that “Minos” was actually a title synonym to “king” that was adopted by all subsequent rulers of Crete.
According to myth, Minos was one of the three sons of the god Zeus by the mortal Europa. When Minos’ step-father, King Asterion, died, he proclaimed himself king of Crete and the islands of the Aegean Sea.
With instruction from Zeus himself, Minos authored the laws and constitution of Crete and established an unmatched naval force. Minos married the demigoddess Pasiphae, and fathered several children, including Ariadne and Androgeus. When Minos’ brother, Sarpedon, questioned his brother’s authority, Minos posited that it was the will of the gods for him to become king.
In order to prove his claim, he sacrificed a bull to the god Poseidon and then asked the god to send a new bull for the same purpose. Poseidon conceded to the request and sent a beautiful white bull from the sea.
Minos was so impressed by the majestic beauty of the bull, that he set it free and sacrificed a different bull. As punishment for Minos’ hubris, Poseidon cursed Pasiphae to give birth to the Minotaur, a powerful beast with a human body and the head of a bull.
When Minos’ son Androgeus was killed by the Athenians, Minos declared war against the city-state of Athens. During this campaign, Minos also attacked Megara, but Nisus, the king of Megara, could not be defeated due to an enchanted lock of crimson hair on his head.
The god Eros caused Nisus’ daughter, Scylla, to fall in love with Minos, and she cut off her father’s enchanted lock of hair in order to prove her love to the king of Crete. WITH Nisus’ enchantment gone, Megara fell, and Athens followed shortly afterwards.
Minos obliged the conquered Athens to send seven young men and seven young women to be sacrificed to the Minotaur every nine years. The Minotaur was ultimately slain by the hero Theseus, with help from Minos’ own daughter, Ariadne. When the master engineer Daedalus escaped from Crete, Minos became obsessed with recapturing him.
Minos ultimately found Daedalus in Camicus, Sicily, and demanded that King Cocalus would surrender Daedalus in his custody. Cocalus seemingly agreed to the demand, but managed to convince Minos to take a bath first.
Then Cocalus’ daughters and Daedalus, trapped Minos in the bath and scalded him to death with boiling water. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades together with Aeacus and Rhadamanthus.