Crete is the biggest island of Greece. It is a region with a rich history, famous not only for its amazing landscapes, the local food, and the authentic hospitality and culture, but also for the Greek Mythology that is connected to it and has influenced the art and literature worldwide.
Let’s clear up how the story goes!
Zeus was one of the children of Kronos and Rea. He was the one who survived from his father’s cruelty (he ate his children because he was afraid of a prophecy telling that one of them would dethrone him), as Mother Earth hide him at Diktaio Andro, the plateau in Lasithi, Crete. There he was fed by the milk of a goat, Amaltheia and then, he was raised by shepherds into a cave called Idaio Andro, in Rethymno.
Dikteon Cave, Crete Birthplace of Zeus - credits: ABBPhoto/depositphotos
Contrary to the rest of the Greek Mythology, the original Cretan tradition says that Zeus was born and died every year. Proof of that is the embossed depiction of his dead head in the slope of a hill in Heraklion, called Giouhtas. This version of the myth it is said that symbolises the circle of nature.
Zeus, Europe and Minoas
Being in love with Europe, Zeus was transformed into a beautiful, white bull in order to seduce her. He made it, as Europe was delighted by its beauty. At the time she jumped on her back, the bull started running away and he finally reached Crete’s seashores, having travelled the whole ocean. There, Europe gave birth to three boys -Minoas, Rodamanthis, and Sarpidonas.
As Zeus was not a faithful man, one day he left Europe. Afterwards, she married Asterias who adopted her 3 sons. After his death, Minoas became the new king of Crete. He was the lord of Crete for many many years and he managed to develop the island’s fleet and trade, making it the most powerful and wealthy region throughout the Mediterranean Sea. The tradition says that each year Minoas and his brother Rodamanthis, who was the legislator of Crete, visited the cave of Zeus and took a new law system, aiming to rule Crete with justice.
Minoas' kingdom was connected to the Minoan Civilisation -the first advanced civilisation in Europe- and the notable Palaces of Knossos and Phaistos.