Out on the dark blue sea there lies a rich and lovely land called Crete that is densly populated and boasts 90 cities... One of the 90 cities is called Knosos and there for nine years, King Minos ruled and enjoyed the friendship of the mighty Zeus.
5,000 years ago, around 3,000 BCE, people living on Crete developed an illustrious civilization which left the longest lasting influence on the character of the island: the Minoan Civilization. Named after the legendary King Minos, this was the first advanced civilization to emerge in Europe. According to Greek mythology, Minos was the son of Zeus and Europa and attained the throne with the help of Poseidon. By his wife, Pasiphae, he fathered Ariadne, Androgeus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Glaucus, Catreus, Acacallis, and other children. He was the grandfather of King Idomeneus, who led the Cretans to the Trojan War.
There are many myths associated with the colorful character of King Minos: the myths of Theseus, Pasiphae, the Minotaur, Daedalus, Glaucus, and Nisus.
Minos was challenged as king and prayed to Poseidon for help. Poseidon sent a giant white bull out of the sea. Minos planned on sacrificing the bull to Poseidon, but then decided to substitute a different bull. In rage, Poseidon cursed Pasiphae, Minos' wife, with zoophilia. Daedalus built her a wooden cow, in which she hid. The bull mated with the wooden cow and Pasiphae soon gave birth to a monster, the Minotaur (half man half bull). Daedalus then built a complicated maze called the Labyrinth and Minos put the Minotaur in it. To make sure no one would ever know the secret of who the Minotaur was and how to get out of the Labyrinth (Daedalus knew both), Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son, Icarus, along with the monster. Fortunately, both Daedalus and Icarus escaped the Labyrinth and the Minotaur's clutches, but they were marooned on Crete. Daedalus and Icarus flew away on wings Daedalus invented, but Icarus' wings melted because he flew too close to the sun. Icarus fell in the sea and drowned.
Some time later, Minos' son, Androgeus, won every game in a contest against Aegeas of Athens. Alternatively, the other contestants were jealous of Androgeus and killed him. Minos was angry and declared war on Athens. He offered the Athenians peace if they sent Minos seven young men and seven virgin maidens to feed the Minotaur every nine years (which corresponded directly to the Minoans' meticulous records of lunar alignments - a full moon falls on the equinoxes once every eight years). This continued until Theseus killed the Minotaur with the help of Ariadne, Minos' lovestruck daughter.
Minos was also part of the King Nisus story. Nisus was King of Megara, and he was invincible as long as a lock of purple hair still existed, hidden in his white hair. Minos attacked Megara but Nisus knew he could not be beaten because he still had his lock of purple hair. His daughter, Scylla, fell in love with Minos and proved it by cutting the purple hair off her father's head. Nisus died and Megara fell to Crete. Minos spurned Scylla for disobeying her father. She was changed into a seabird, relentlessly pursued by her father, who was a sea eagle.
Minos searched for Daedalus by travelling from city to city asking a riddle. Minos presented a spiral seashell to Daedalus and asked for it to be strung all the way through. When he reached Camicus in Sicily King Cocalus, knowing Daedalus would be able to solve the riddle, fetched the old man. He tied the string to an ant, which walked through the seashell, stringing it all the way through. Minos then knew Daedalus was in the court of King Cocalus and demanded he be handed over. Cocalus managed to convince him to take a bath first. Cocalus' daughters and Daedalus then killed Minos by burning him with boiling water.
Adapted from Wikipedia