Minos, in Greek mythology and legends, a Cretan hero and lawgiver. According to Homer, he was the son of Jupiter by Europa, brother of Rhadamanthus, and the father of Deucalion and Ariadne. The logographers make him also the brother of Sarpedon and husband of Pasiphae. Some later writers distinguish two kings of the name, grandfather and grandson, but only one Minos was known to Homer, Hesiod, or the poets and historians to the time of Aristotle. To obtain possession of the throne of Crete, he affirmed that the uls granted to him everything for which he prayed. He accordingly prayed that a bull might come forth from the sea, and promised to sacrifice it to Neptune. The bull appeared, and he obtained the kingdom; but, admiring the beauty of the animal, he sacrificed another in its place. Thereupon Neptune afflicted his wife Pasiphae with a monstrous passion for the bull, for the gratification of which the inventor Dsedalus contrived means, and she became the mother of Minotaur, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull, which was imprisoned by Minos in the Cnos-sian labyrinth.

The Cretans traced their legal and political institutions to Minos, and he was said to have been instructed in the art of lawgiving by Jupiter himself; and Lycurgus was believed to have followed his legislation as a model. After death he was constituted one of the judges in Hades. Later accounts represent him as an unjust and cruel tyrant. He is said to have acquired great maritime power, conquered the Aegean islands, made war upon Athens, and compelled the Athenians to send to Crete periodically a tribute of seven y«»uths and seven maidens to be devoured by the Minotaur. Theseus with the aid of Ariadne at length slew the monster and abolished the tribute. In a subsequent attempt to conquer Sicily Minos failed and was killed.