In This Chapter

Legends of Crete and Athens

Authored by: Robin Hard

The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology

Print publication date:  June  2008
Online publication date:  October  2003

Print ISBN: 9780415186360
eBook ISBN: 9780203446331
Adobe ISBN: 9781134664061


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Of the three main branches of the Inachid family, only the smallest remains to be considered, the branch that was established by Europa on Crete after she was abducted to that island by Zeus. As was explained in Chapter 7, the early Argive, Theban and Cretan royal lines were all descended from Io, an Argive princess who settled in Egypt, through one or other of her two great-grandsons, Belos, king of Egypt, or Agenor, king of Phoenicia (see pp. 231ff). Europa and her brother Kadmos, the founder of the Theban royal line, were children of the latter. As we saw at the beginning of the previous chapter, the abduction of Europa led to the scattering of Agenor’s family since he sent his sons in search of her and they remained abroad after failing to find her. Unbeknown to them all, Zeus had taken her across the sea to Crete, where he had fathered a family of sons by her. Her line in Crete is much shorter than those of Kadmos in Thebes or Danaos in Argos (even if some mythographers tried to remove the chronological inconsistency, see below), and it is also of lesser significance overall, although it includes a few figures of high note, above all the great Minos.

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