1. Hestia, Demeter
2. Poseidon, Hades
3. Birth of Zeus
4. Zeus the King
5. The Titanomachy
6. The Gigantomachy
7. Zeus the God
8. Birth of Athena
9. Hera
10. Olympian Gods
11. Aphrodite, the Graces
12. Eleithyia, Artemis, Horae
13. Athena
14. The Muses
15. Hephaestus, Ares
16. Apollo, Asclepius
17. Hermes
18. Dionysus
19. Heracles the God
20. Britomartis
21. Plutus
22. Cults of the Gods
23. Minos
24. Rhadamanthys
25. Sarpedon
26. Idomeneus
27. Xanthus
28. Macareus
29. Tennes
30. Minos & Rhadamanthys




[5.68.1] To Cronus and Rhea, we are told, were born Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, and Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Of these, they say, Hestia discovered how to build houses, and because of this benefaction of hers practically all men have established her shrine in every home, according her honours and sacrifices. And Demeter, since the corn still grew wild together with the other plants and was still unknown to men, was the first to gather it in, to devise how to prepare and preserve it, and to instruct mankind how to sow it.

[5.68.2] Now she had discovered the corn before she gave birth to her daughter Persephonê, but after the birth of her daughter and the rape of her by Pluton, she burned all the fruit of the corn, both because of her anger at Zeus and because of her grief over her daughter. After she had found Persephonê, however, she became reconciled with Zeus and gave Triptolemus the corn to sow, instructing him both to share the gift with men everywhere and to teach them everything concerned with the labour of sowing.

[5.68.3] And some men say that it was she also who introduced laws, by obedience to which men have become accustomed to deal justly one with another, and that mankind has called this goddess Thesmophoros30 after the laws which she gave them. And since Demeter has been responsible for the greatest blessings to mankind, she has been accorded to most notable honours and sacrifices, and magnificent feasts and festivals as well, not only by the Greeks, but also by almost all barbarians who have partaken of this kind of food.

[5.69.1] There is dispute about the discovery of the fruit of corn on the part of many peoples, who claim that they were the first among whom the goddess was seen and to whom she made known both the nature and use of the corn. The Egyptians, for example, say that Demeter and Isis are the same, and that she was the first to bring the seed to Egypt, since the river Nile waters the fields at the proper time and that land enjoys the most temperate seasons.

[5.69.2] Also the Athenians, though they assert that the discovery of this fruit took place in their country, are nevertheless witnesses to its having been brought to Attica from some other region; for the place which originally received this gift they call Eleusis,31 from the fact that the seed of the corn came from others and was conveyed to them.

[5.69.3] But the inhabitants of Sicily, dwelling as they do on an island which is sacred to Demeter and Corê, say that it is reasonable to believe that the gift of which we are speaking was made to them first, since the land they cultivate is the one the goddess holds most dear; for it would be strange indeed, they maintain, for the goddess to take for her own, so to speak, a land which is the most fertile known and yet to give it, the last of all, a share of her benefaction, as though it were nothing to her, especially since she has her dwelling there, all men agreeing that the Rape of Corê took place on this island. Moreover, this land is the best adapted for these fruits as the poet also says:32

But all these things grow there for them unsown
And e’en untilled, both wheat and barley.

This, then, is what the myths have to say about Demeter.


[5.69.4] As for the rest of the gods who were born to Cronus and Rhea, the Cretans say that Poseidon was the first to concern himself with sea-faring and to fit out fleets, Cronus having given him the lordship in such matters; and this is why the tradition has been passed along to succeeding generations that he controls whatever is done on the sea, and why mariners honour him by means of sacrifices. Men further bestow upon Poseidon the distinction of having been the first to tame horses and to introduce the knowledge of horsemanship (hippikê), because of which he is called “Hippius.”

[5.69.5] And of Hades it is said that he laid down the rules which are concerned with burials and funerals and the honours which are paid to the dead, no concern having been given to the dead before this time; and this is why tradition tells us that Hades is lord of the dead, since there were assigned to him in ancient times the first offices in such matters and the concern for them.


[5.70.1] Regarding the birth of Zeus and the manner in which he came to be king, there is no agreement. Some say that he succeeded to the kingship after Cronus passed from among men into the company of the gods, not by overcoming his father with violence, but in the manner prescribed by custom and justly, having been judged worthy of that honour. But others recount a myth which runs as follows: There was delivered to Cronus an oracle regarding the birth of Zeus which stated that the son who would be born to him would wrest the kingship from him by force.

[5.70.2] Consequently Cronus time and again did away with the children whom he begot; but Rhea, grieved as she was, and yet lacking the power to change her husband’s purpose, when she had given birth to Zeus, concealed him in Idê, as it is called, and, without the knowledge of Cronus, entrusted the rearing of him to the Curetes who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Mount Idê. The Curetes bore him off to a certain cave where they gave him over to the Nymphs, with the command that they should minister to his every need.

[5.70.3] And the Nymphs nurtured the child on a mixture of honey and milk and gave him upbringing at the udder of the goat which was named Amaltheia. And many evidences o the birth and upbringing of this god remain to this day on the island.

[5.70.4] For instance, when he was being carried away, while still an infant, by the Curetes, they say that the umbilical cord (omphalos) fell from him near the river known as Triton, and that this spot has been made sacred and has been called Omphalus after that incident, while in like manner the plain about it is known as Omphaleium. And on Mount Idê, where the god was nurtured, both the cave in which he spent his days has been made sacred to him, and the meadows round about it, which lie upon the ridges of the mountain., have in like manner been consecrated to him.

[5.70.5] But the most astonishing of all that which the myth relates has to do with the bees, and we should not omit to mention it: The god, they say, wishing to preserve an immortal memorial of his close association with the bees, changed the colour of them, making it like copper with the gleam of gold, and since the region lay at a very great altitude, where fierce winds blew about it and heavy snows fell, he made the bees insensible to such things and unaffected by them, since they must range over the most wintry stretches.

[5.70.6] To the goat (aeg-) which suckled him Zeus also accorded certain honours, and in particular took from it a surname, being called Aegiochus.33 And when he had attained to manhood he founded a city in Dicta, where indeed the myth states that he was born; in later times this city was abandoned, but some stone blocks of its foundations are still preserved.


[5.71.1] Now Zeus, the myth goes on to say, surpassed all others in manly spirit and wisdom and justice and in the other virtues one and all, and, as a consequence, when he took over the kingly power from Cronus, he conferred benefactions of the greatest number and importance upon the life of mankind. He was the first of all, for instance, to lay down rules regarding acts of injustice and to teach men to deal justly one with another, to refrain from deeds of violence, and to settle their differences by appeals to men and to courts of justice. In short, he contributed in abundance to the practices which are concerned with obedience to law and with peace, prevailing upon good men by persuasion and intimidating evil men by threat of punishment and by their fear.


[5.71.2] He also visited practically the entire inhabited earth, putting to death robbers and impious men and introducing equality and democracy; and it was in this connection, they say, that he slew the Giants and their followers, Mylinus in Crete and Typhon in Phrygia.

[5.71.3] Before the battle against the Giants in Crete, we are told, Zeus sacrificed a bull to Helius and to Uranus and to Gê; and in connection with each of the rites there was revealed to him what was the will of the gods in the affair, the omens indicating the victory of the gods and a defection to them of the enemy. And the outcome of the war accorded with the omens; for Musaeus deserted to him from the enemy, for which he was accorded peculiar honours, and all who opposed them were cut down by the gods.


[5.71.4] Zeus also had other wars against the Giants, we are told, in Macedonia near Pallenê and in Italy on the plain which of old was named Phlegraean (“fiery”) after the region about it which had been burned,34 but which in later times men called Cumaean.

[5.71.5] Now the Giants were punished by Zeus because they had treated the rest of mankind in a lawless fashion and, confiding in their bodily superiority and strength, had enslaved their neighbours, and because they were also disobeying the rules of justice which he was laying down and were raising up war against those whom mankind considered to be gods because of the benefactions they were conferring upon men generally.

[5.71.6] Zeus, then, we are told, not only totally eradicated the impious and evil-doers from among mankind, but he also distributed honours as they were merited among the noblest of the gods and heroes and men. And because of the magnitude of his benefactions and his superior power all men accorded to him as with one voice both the everlasting kingship which he possesses and his dwelling upon Mount Olympus.


[5.72.1] And it was ordained, the myth continues, that sacrifices should be offered to Zeus surpassing those offered to all the other gods, and that, after he passed from earth into the heavens, a just belief should spring up in the souls of all who had received his benefactions that he is lord of all the phenomena of heaven, that is, both of rain and of thunder and of lightning and of everything else of that nature.

[5.72.2] It is for this reason also that names have been given him: Zên,35 because in the opinion of mankind he is the cause of life (zên), bringing as he does the fruits to maturity by tempering the atmosphere; Father, because of the concern and goodwill he manifests toward all mankind, as well as because he is considered to be the first cause of the race of men; Most High and King, because of the preëminence of his rule; Good Counsellor and All-wise, because of the sagacity he manifests in the giving of wise counsel.


[5.72.3] Athena, the myths relate, was likewise begotten of Zeus in Crete, at the sources of the river Triton, this being the reason why she has been given the name Tritogeneia.36 And there stands, even to this day, at these sources a temple which is sacred to this goddess, at the spot where the myth relates that her birth took place.


[5.72.4] Men say also that the marriage of Zeus and Hera was held in the territory of the Cnosians, at a place near the river Theren, where now a temple stands in which the natives of the place annually offer holy sacrifices and imitate the ceremony of the marriage, in the manner in which tradition tells it was originally performed.


[5.72.5] To Zeus also were born, they say, the goddesses Aphroditê and the Graces, Eileithyia and her helper Artemis, the Hours, as they are called, Eunomia and Dikê and Eirenê, and Athena and the Muses, and the gods Hephaestus and Ares and Apollo, and Hermes and Dionysus and Heracles.

[5.73.1] To each one of the deities we have named, the myth goes on to relate, Zeus imparted the knowledge of the things which he had discovered and was perfecting, and likewise assigned to them the honour of their discovery, wishing in this way to endow them with immortal fame among all mankind.


[5.73.2] To Aphroditê was entrusted the youth of maidens, the years in which they are expected to marry, and the supervision of such matters as are observed even yet in connection with weddings, together with the sacrifices and drink-offerings which men perform to this goddess. Nevertheless, all men make their first sacrifices to Zeus the Perfecter and Hera the Perfectress, because they are the originators and discoverers of all things, as we have stated above.

[5.73.3] To the Graces was given the adornment of personal appearance and the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze, and the further privilege of being the first to bestow benefactions and, on the other hand, of requiting with appropriate favours37 such men as have performed good acts.


[5.73.4] Eileithyia received care of expectant mothers and the alleviation of the travail of childbirth; and for this reason women when they are in perils of this nature call first of all upon this goddess.

[5.73.5] And Artemis, we are told, discovered how to effect the healing of young children and the foods which are suitable to the nature of babes, this being the reason why she is also called Kourotrophos.38

[5.73.6] And as for the Hours, as they are called, to each of them, according as her name indicates, was given the ordering and adornment of life, so as to serve to the greatest advantage of mankind; for there is nothing which is better able to build a life of felicity than obedience to law (Eunomia) and justice (Dikê) and peace (Eirenê).


[5.73.7] To Athena men ascribe the gift to mankind of the domestication and cultivation of the olive-tree, as well as the preparation of its fruit; for before the birth of this goddess this kind of tree was found only along with the other wild woody growths, and this goddess is the source of the care and experience which men even to this day devote to these trees.

[5.73.8] Furthermore, Athena introduced among mankind the making of clothing and carpentry and many of the devices which are used in the other arts; and she also was the discoverer of the making of pipes and of the music which they produce and, in a word, of many works of cunning device, from which she derives her name of Worker.


[5.74.1] To the Muses, we are further told, it was given by their father Zeus to discover the letters and to combine words in the way which is designated poetry. And in reply to those who say that the Syrians are the discoverers of the letters, the Phoenicians having learned them from the Syrians and then passed them on to the Greeks, and that these Phoenicians are those who sailed to Europe together with Cadmus and this is the reason why the Greeks call the letters “Phoenician,” men tell us, on the other hand, that the Phoenicians were not the first to make this discovery, but that they did no more than to change the forms of the letters, whereupon the majority of mankind made use of the way of writing them as the Phoenicians devised it, and so the letters received the designation we have mentioned above.39


[5.74.2] Hephaestus, we are told, was the discoverer of every manner of working iron and copper and gold and silver and everything else which requires fire for working, and he also discovered all the other uses to be made of fire and turned them over both to the workers in the crafts and to all other men as well.

[5.74.3] Consequently the workmen who are skilled in these crafts offer up prayers and sacrifices to this god before all others, and both they and all mankind as well call the fire “Hephaestus,” handing down in this way to eternal remembrance and honour the benefaction which was bestowed in the beginning upon man’s social life.

[5.74.4] Ares, the myths record, was the first to make a suit of armour, to fit out soldiers with arms, and to introduce the battle’s fury of contest, slaying himself those who were disobedient to the gods.


[5.74.5] And of Apollo men recount that he was the discoverer of the lyre and of the music which is got from it; that he introduced the knowledge of healing, which is brought about through the faculty of prophecy, whereby it was the practice in ancient times that the sick were healed;40 and as the discoverer of the bow he taught the people of the land41 all about the use of the bow, this being the reason why the art of archery is especially cultivated by the Cretans and the bow is called “Cretan.”

[5.74.6] To Apollo and Coronis was born Asclepius, who learned from his father many matters which pertain to the healing art, and then went on to discover the art of surgery and the preparations of drugs and the strength to be found in roots, and, speaking generally, he introduced such advances into the healing art that he is honoured as if he were its source and founder.


[5.75.1] To Hermes men ascribe the introduction of the sending of embassies to sue for peace, as they are used in wars, and negotiations and truces and also the herald’s wand, as a token of such matters, which is customarily borne by those who are carrying on conversations touching affairs of this kind and who, by means of it, are accorded safe conduct by the enemy; and this is the reason why he has been given the name “Hermes Koinos” because the benefit is common (koinê) to both the parties when they exchange peace in time of war.42

[5.75.2] They also say that he was the first to devise measures and weights and the profits to be gained through merchandising, and how also to appropriate the property of others all unknown to them. Tradition also says that he is the herald of the gods and their most trusted messenger, because of his ability to express clearly (hermêneuein) each command that has been given him; and this is the reason why he has received the name he bears, not because he was the discoverer of words and of speech, as some men say, but because he has perfected, to a higher degree than all others, the art of the precise and clear statement of a message.

[5.75.3] He also introduced wrestling-schools and invented the lyre out of a tortoise-shell after the contest in skill between Apollo and Marsyas, in which ,we are told, Apollo was victorious and thereupon exacted an excessive punishment of his defeated adversary, but he afterwards repented of this and, tearing the strings from the lyre, for a time had nothing to do with its music.43


[5.75.4] As for Dionysus, the myths state that he discovered the vine and its cultivation, and also how to make wine and to store away many of the autumn fruits and thus to provide mankind with the use of them as food over a long time. This god was born in Crete, men say, of Zeus and Persephonê, and Orpheus has handed down the tradition in the initiatory rites that he was torn in pieces by the Titans. And the fact is that there have been several who bore the name Dionysus, regarding whom we have given a detailed account at greater length in connection with the more appropriate period of time.44

[5.74.5] The Cretans, however, undertake to advance evidences that the god was born in their country, stating that he formed two islands near Crete in the Twin Gulfs, as they are called, and called them after himself Dionysiadae, a thing which he has done, they say, nowhere else in the inhabited earth.


[5.76.1] Of Heracles the myths relate that he was sprung from Zeus many years before that Heracles who was born of Alcmenê. As for this son of Zeus, tradition has not given us the name of his mother, but only states that he far excelled all others in vigour of body, and that he visited the inhabited earth, inflicting punishment upon the unjust and destroying the wild beasts which were making the land uninhabitable; for men everywhere he won their freedom, while remaining himself unconquered and unwounded, and because of his good deeds he attained to immortal honour at the hands of mankind.

[5.76.2] The Heracles who was born of Alcmenê was very much later, and, since he emulated the plan of life of the ancient Heracles, for the same reasons he attained to immortality, and, as time went on, he was though by men to be the same as the other Heracles because both bore the same name, and the deeds of the earlier Heracles were transferred to the later one, the majority of men being ignorant of the actual facts.45 And it is generally agreed that the most renowned deeds and honours which belong to the older god were concerned with Egypt, and that these, together with a city which he founded, are still known in that country.


[5.76.3] Britomartis, who is also called Dictynna, the myths relate, was born at Caeno in Crete of Zeus and Carmê, the daughter of Eubulus who was the son of Demeter; she invented the nets (dictya) which are used in hunting, whence she has been called Dictynna, and she passed her time in the company of Artemis, this being the reason why some men think Dictynna and Artemis are one and the same goddess; and the Cretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honour of this goddess.

[5.76.4] But those men who tell the tale that she has been named Dictynna because she fled into some fishermen’s nets when she was pursued by Minos, who would have ravished her, have missed the truth; for it is not a probably story that the goddess should ever have got into so helpless a state that she would have required the aid that men can give, being as she is the daughter of the greatest one of the gods, nor is it right to ascribe such an impious deed to Minos, who tradition unanimously declares avowed just principles and strove to attain a manner of life which was approved by men.


[5.77.1] Plutus, we are told, was born in Cretan Tripolus to Demeter and Iasion, and there is a double account of his origin. For some men say that the earth, when it was sowed once by Iasion and given proper cultivation, brought forth such an abundance of fruits that those who saw this bestowed a special name upon the abundance of fruits when they appear and called it plutus (wealth); consequently it has become traditional among later generations to say that men who have acquired more than they actually need have plutus.

[5.77.2] But there are some who recount the myth that a son was born to Demeter and Iasion whom they named Plutus, and that he was the first to introduce diligence into the life of man and the acquisition and safeguarding of property, all men up to that time having been neglectful of amassing and guarding diligently any store of property.


[5.77.3] Such, then, are the myths which the Cretans recount of the gods who they claim were born in their land. They also assert that the honours accorded to the gods and their sacrifices and the initiatory rites observed in connection with the mysteries were handed down from Crete to the rest of men, and to support this they advance the following most weighty argument, as they conceive it: The initiatory rite which is celebrated by the Athenians in Eleusis, the most famous, one may venture, of them all, and that of Samothrace, and the one practised in Thrace among the Cicones, whence Orpheus came who introduced them – these are all handed down in the form of a mystery,46 whereas at Cnosus in Crete it has been the custom from ancient times that these initiatory rites should be handed down to all openly, and what is handed down among other peoples as not to be divulged, this the Cretans conceal from no one who may wish to inform himself upon such matters.

[5.77.4] Indeed, the majority of the gods, the Cretans say, had their beginning in Crete and set out from there to visit many regions of the inhabited world, conferring benefactions upon the races of men and distributing among each of them the advantage which resulted from the discoveries they had made. Demeter, for example, crossed over into Attica and then removed from there to Sicily and afterwards to Egypt; and in these lands her choicest gift was that of the fruit of the corn and instructions in the sowing of it, whereupon she received great honours at the hands of those whom she had benefited.

[5.77.5] Likewise Aphroditê made her seat in Sicily in the region of Eryx, among the islands near Cythera and in Paphos in Cyprus, and in Asia in Syria; and because of the manifestations of the goddess in their country and her extended sojourn among the inhabitants of the lands appropriated her to themselves, calling her, as the case might be, Erycinian Aphroditê, and Cytherian, and Paphian, and Syrian.47

[5.77.6] And in the same manner Apollo revealed himself for the longest time in Delos and Lycia48 and Delphi, and Artemis in Ephesus and the Pontus and Persis and Crete;

[5.77.7] and the consequence has been that, either from the names of these regions or as a result of the deeds which they performed in each of them, Apollo has been called Delian and Lycian and Pythian, and Artemis has been called Ephesian and Cretan and Tauropolian and Persian, although both of them were born in Crete.

[5.77.8] And this goddess is held in special honour among the Persians,49 and the barbarians hold mysteries which are performed among other peoples even down to this day in honour of the Persian Artemis. And similar myths are also recounted by the Cretans regarding other gods, but to draw up an account of them would be a long task for us, and it would not be easily grasped by our readers.


[5.78.1] Many generations after the birth of the gods, the Cretans go on to say, not a few heroes were to be found in Crete, the most renowned of whom were Minos and Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. These men, their myth states, were born of Zeus and Europê, the daughter of Agenor, who, men say, was brought across to Crete upon the back of a bull by the design of the gods.

[5.78.2] Now Minos, by virtue of his being the eldest, became king of the island, and he founded on it not a few cities, the most renowned of which were the three, Cnosus in those parts of the island which look toward Asia, Phaestus on the seashore to the south, and Cydonia in the regions to the west facing the Peloponnesus.

[5.78.3] And Minos established not a few laws for the Cretans, claiming that he had received them from his father Zeus when conversing with him in a certain cave. Furthermore, he came to possess a great naval power, and he subdued the majority of the islands and was the first man among the Greeks to be master of the sea.

[5.78.4] And after he had gained great renown for his manly spirit and justice, he ended his life in Sicily in the course of his campaign against Cocalus, the details of which we have recounted in connection with our account of Daedalus, because of whom the campaign was made.50


[5.79.1] Of Rhadamanthys the Cretans say that of all men he rendered the most just decisions and inflicted inexorable punishment upon robbers and impious men and all other malefactors. He came also to possess no small number of islands and a large part of the sea coast of Asia, all men delivering themselves into his hands of their free will because of his justice. Upon Erythrus, one of his sons, Rhadamanthys bestowed the kingship over the city which was named after him Erythrae, and to Oenopion, the son of Minos’ daughter Ariadnê, he gave Chios, we are told, although some writers of myths state that Oenopion was a son of Dionysus and learned from his father the art of making wine.

[5.79.2] And to each one of his other generals, the Cretans say, he made a present of an island or a city Lemnos to Thoas, Cyrnus to Enyeus, Peparethos to Staphylus, Maroneia to Euanthes, Paros to Alcaeus, Delos to Anion, and to Andreus the island which was named after him Andros. Moreover, because of his very great justice, the myth has sprung up that he was appointed to be judge in Hades, where his decisions separate the good from the wicked. And the same honour has also been attained by Minos, because he ruled wholly in accordance with law and paid greatest heed to justice.


[5.79.3] The third brother, Sarpedon, we are told, crossed over into Asia with an army and subdued the regions about Lycia. Euandrus, his son, succeeded him in the kingship in Lycia, and marrying Deïdameia, the daughter of Bellerophone, he begat that Sarpedon who took part in the expedition against Troy,51 although some writers have called him a son of Zeus.


[5.79.4] Minos’ sons, they say, were Deucalion and Molus, and to Deucalion was born Idomeneus and to Molus was born Meriones. These two joined with Agamemnon in the expedition against Ilium with ninety ships, and when they had returned in safety to their fatherland they died and were accorded a notable burial and immortal honours. And the Cretans point out their tomb at Cnosus, which bears the following inscription:

Behold Idomeneus the Cnosian’s tomb, and by his side am I, Meriones, the son of Molus.

These two the Cretans hold in special honour as heroes of renown, offering up sacrifices to them and calling upon them to come to their aid in the perils which arise in war.


[5.80.1] But now that we have examined these matters it remains for us to discuss the peoples who have become intermixed with the Cretans. That the first inhabitants of the island were known as Eteocretans and that they are considered to have sprung from the soil itself, we have stated before;52 and many generations after them Pelasgians, who were in movement by reason of their continuous expeditions and migrations, arrived at Crete and made their home in a part of the island.

[5.80.2] The third people to cross over to the island, we are told, were Dorians, under the leadership of Tectamus53 the son of Dorus; and the account states that the larger number of these Dorians was gathered from the regions about Olympus, but that a part of them consisted of Achaeans from Laconia, since Dorus had fixed the base of his expedition in the region about Cape Malea. And a fourth people to come to Crete and to become intermixed with the Cretans, we are told, was a heterogeneous collection of barbarians who in the course of time adopted the language of the native Greeks.

[5.80.3] But after these events Minos and Rhadamanthys, when they had attained to power, gathered the peoples on the island into one union. And last of all, after the Return of the Heracleidae,54 Argives and Lacedaemonians sent forth colonies which they established on certain other islands and likewise took possession of Crete, and on these islands they colonized certain cities; with regard to these cities, however, we shall give a detailed account in connection with the period of time to which they belong.

[5.80.4] And since the greatest number of writers who have written about Crete disagree among themselves, there should be no occasion for surprise if what we report should not agree with every one of them; we have, indeed, followed as our authorities those who give the more probably account and are the most trustworthy, in some matters depending upon Epimenides who as written about the gods, in other upon Dosiades, Sosicrates, and Laosthenidas.55


[5.81.1] Now that we have discussed the subject of Crete in sufficient length, we shall undertake at this point to speak about Lesbos. This island has been inhabited in ancient times by many peoples, since it has been the scene of many migrations. The first people to seize it, while it was still uninhabited, was the Pelasgians, and in the following manner:

[5.81.2] Xanthus, the son of Triopas, who was king of the Pelasgians of Argos, seized a portion of Lycia, and, making his home there, at the outset he became king over the Pelasgians who had accompanied him; but later he crossed over to Lesbos, which was uninhabited, and divided the land among the folk, and he named the island, which had formerly been called Issa, Pelasgia after the people who had settled it.


[5.81.3] And seven generations later, after the flood of Deucalion had taken place and much of mankind had perished, it came to pass that Lesbos was also laid desolate by the deluge of waters. And after these events Macareus came to the island, and, recognizing the beauty of the land, he made his home in it.

[5.81.4] This Macareus was the son of Crinacus, the son of Zeus, as Hesiod and certain other poets state, and was a native of Olenus in what was then called Ias, but is now called Achaïa. The folk with him had been gathered from here and there, some being Ionians and the rest those who had streamed to him from every sort of people.

[5.81.5] Now at first Macareus made his home in Lesbos, but later, as his power kept steadily increasing because of the fertility of the island and also of his own fairness and sense of justice, he won for himself the neighbouring islands and portioned out the land which was uninhabited.

[5.81.6] And it was during this time that Lesbos, the son of Lapithes, the son of Aeolus, the son of Hippotes, in obedience to an oracle of Pytho, sailed with colonists to the island we are discussing, and, marrying Methyma, the daughter of Macareus, he made his home there with her; and when he became a man of renown, he named the island Lesbos after himself and called the folk Lesbians.

[5.81.7] And there was born to Macareus, in addition to other daughters, Mytilenê and Methymna, from whom the cities in the island got their names. Moreover, Macareus, essaying to bring under his control the neighbouring islands, dispatched a colony to Chios first of all, entrusting the leadership of the colony to one of his own sons;

[5.81.8] and after this he dispatched another son, Cydrolaüs by name, to Samos, where he settled, and after portioning out the island in allotments to the colonists he became king over it. The third island he settled was Cos, and he appointed Neandrus to be its king; and then he dispatched Leucippus, together with a large body of colonists, to Rhodes, and the inhabitants of Rhodes received them gladly, because there was a lack of men among them, and they dwelt together as one people on the island.

[5.82.1] The mainland opposite the islands, we find, had suffered great and terrible misfortunes, in those times, because of the floods. Thus, since the fruits were destroyed over a long period by reason of the deluge, there was a dearth of the necessities of life and a pestilence prevailed among the cities because of the corruption of the air.

[5.82.2] The islands, on the other hand, since they were exposed to the breezes and supplied the inhabitants with wholesome air, and since they also enjoyed good crops, were filled with greater and greater abundance, and they quickly made the inhabitants object of envy. Consequently they have been give the name Islands of the Blessed, the abundance they enjoy of good things constituting the reason for the epithet.

[5.82.3] But there are some who say that they were given the name Islands of the Blessed (macarioi) after Macareus, since his sons were the rulers over them. And, speaking generally, the islands we have mentioned have enjoyed a felicity far surpassing that of their neighbours, not only in ancient times but also in our own age;

[5.82.4] for being as they are the finest all in richness of soil, excellence of location, and mildness of climate, it is with good reason that they are called, what in truth they are, “blessed.” As for Macareus himself, while he was king of Lesbos he issued a law which contributed much to the common good, and he called the law the “Lion,” giving it this name after the strength and courage of that beast.


[5.83.1] When a considerable time had elapsed after the settlement of Lesbos, the island known as Tenedos came to be inhabited in somewhat the following manner. Tennes was a son of Cycnus, who had been king of Colonê in the Troad, and was a man who had gained renown because of his high achievements.

[5.83.2] Gathering together colonists and using as his base the mainland opposite to it, he seized an uninhabited island called Leucophrys; this island he portioned out in allotments among his followers, and he founded a city on it which he named Tenedos after himself.

[5.83.3] And since he governed uprightly and conferred many benefactions upon the inhabitants, during his lifetime he was in high favour, and upon his death he was granted immortal honours; for they built for him a sacred precinct and honoured him with sacrifices as though he were a god, and these sacrifices they have continued to perform down to modern times.

[5.83.4] But we must not omit to mention what the myths of the Tenedians have to tell about Tennes, the founder of the city. Cycnus his father, they say, giving credence to the unjust slanders of his wife, put his son Tennes in a chest and cast it into the sea; the chest was borne along by the waves and brought to shore on Tenedos, and since Tennes had been saved alive in this astonishing fashion by the providence of some one of the gods, he became king of the island, and becoming distinguished by reason of the justice he displayed and his other virtues, he was granted immortal honours. But it had happened, when his step-mother was slandering him, that a certain flute player had borne false witness against him, and so the Tenedians passed a law that no flute player should ever enter his sacred precinct.

[5.83.5] And when Tennes was slain by Achilles in the course of the Trojan War, on the occasion when the Greeks sacked Tenedos, the Tenedians passed a law that no man should ever pronounce the name of Achilles in the sacred precinct of the founder of their city. Such, then, is the account which the myths give regarding Tenedos and its ancient inhabitants.


[5.84.1] Since we have set forth the facts concerning the most notable islands, we shall now give an account of the smaller ones. While in ancient times the Cyclades were still uninhabited, Minos, the son of Zeus and Europê, who was king of Crete and possessed great forces both land and naval, was master of the sea and sent forth from Crete many colonies, and he settled the greater number of the Cyclades, portioning the islands out in allotments among the folk, and he seized no small part of the coast of Asia.56

[5.84.2] And this circumstance explains why harbours on the islands as well as on the coast of Asia have the same designation as those of Crete, being called “Minoan.” The power of Minos advanced to great heights; and having his brother Rhadamanthys as co-ruler, he envied him because of his fame for righteousness, and wishing to get Rhadamanthys out of the way he sent him off to the farthest parts of his dominion.

[5.84.3] Rhadamanthys went to the islands which lie off Ionia and Caria, spending his time upon them, and caused Erythrus to found the city which bears his name57 in Asia, while he established Oenopion, the son of Minos’ daughter Ariadnê, as lord of Chios.

[5.84.4] Now these events took place before the Trojan War; and after Troy was taken the Carians steadily increased their power and became masters of he sea; and taking possession of the Cyclades, some of the islands they appropriated to themselves, expelling the Cretans who had their homes on them, but in some islands they settled jointly with the Cretans who had been the first to dwell there. And at a later time, when the power of the Greeks increased, the major number of the Cyclades came to be inhabited by them, and the Carians, who were non-Greeks, were driven out of them. But of these matters we shall give a detailed account in connection with the appropriate period of time.

30. Law-giver.
31. Place of Advent.
32. Odyssey, 9. 109 f.
33. “Aegis-bearing,” a common epithet of Zeus, from aegis (“goat-skin”).
34. Cp. Book 4. 21. 5 f.
35. Cp. Book 3. 61. 6.
36. Another reason for this name is adduced in Book 1. 12. 8; cp. also 3. 70. 2.
37. The same word as “Graces” above.
38. Child-rearer.
39. On the “Phoenician” letters cp. Book 3. 67. 1.
40. A reference to the practice of incubation; the sick would sleep in temples in the hope that the god would reveal to them in dreams the cure for their maladies. Cp. Book 1. 25. 3.

41. i.e. where the invention was made.
42. But the expression has the meaning of “Hermes Share the Luck” in Menander, Epit. 67, 100.
43. Cp. Book 3. 59.
44. On the three of that name, cp. Book 3. 63 ff.
45. Cp. Book 3. 74. 4-5.
46. i.e. secretly.
47. As the Syro-Phoenician Astartê.
48. At Didyma near Miletus.
49. As the great Persian goddess Anaïtis or Anahita, a chief deity of Mazdaism.
50. Cp. Book 4. 79.

51. The MSS. state that he took part “with Agamemnon,” but Sarpedon was an ally of the Trojans.
52. Chap. 64. 1.
53. Cp. Book 4. 60.
54. Cp. Book 5. 57-8.
55. These writers on Cretan history are little more than names to us.
56. i.e. Asia Minor.
57. Erythrae.

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