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|“||It falls to me, King Minos, to make the final decision. Your future is cloaked in shadow. The realm of the afterlife is not yet ready for you. Beyond that door waits your destiny.||”|
In Greek mythology, Minos (Greek: Μίνως) was a mythical king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. He ordered Daedalus to construct the Labyrinth to house the Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades. The Minoan civilization of pre-Hellene Crete has been named after him. By his wife, Pasiphaë, he fathered Ariadne, Androgeus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Glaucus, Catreus, Acacallis, and many others.
Minos, along with his brothers, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon, was raised by king Asterion (or Asterius) of Crete. When Asterion died, his throne was claimed by Minos who banished Sarpedon and (according to some sources) Rhadamanthys too.
It is not clear if Minos was a name or a title, the Cretan word for "king", or indeed, to take a euhemerist position, the name of a particular king that was subsequently used as a title. Scholars have noted the interesting similarity between Minos and the names of other ancient founder-kings, such as Menes of Egypt, Mannus of Germany, Manu of India, and so on. There is a name in Minoan Linear A mi-nu-te that may be related to Minos. According to La Marle's reading of Linear A, we should read mwi-nu ro-ja (Minos the king) on a Linear A tablet. The royal title ro-ja is read on several documents, including on stone libation tables from the sanctuaries, where it follows the name of the main god, Asirai (the equivalent of Sanskrit Asura, and of Avestan Ahura). La Marle suggests that the name mwi-nu (Minos) is expected to mean 'ascetic' as Sanskrit muni, and fits this explanation to the legend about Minos sometimes living in caves on Crete. If royal succession in Minoan Crete descended matrilinearly— from the queen to her firstborn daughter— the queen's husband would have become the Minos, or war chief
In God of War III
The statue of King Minos, along with the statues of his brothers Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, are the judges of the Underworld, and judge the heart of every dead soul, determining if they will go to Elysium or Tartarus. When Kratos entered the Underworld in God of War III, he had to present himself before all three judges. Aeacus and Rhadamanthus could not decide on his fate, so it was up to Minos to make the final decision. Minos declared that the Underworld was not yet ready for Kratos, and so the three judges let the Spartan warrior continue his way. When Kratos obtained the Cestus, he used it to destroy Minos and the other two judges to release the Chain of Balance.
- In God of War III, King Minos is voiced by Mark Moseley.
- In The Inferno segment of Dante's Divine Comedy, King Minos plays the role of judge of the dead in Limbo, sentencing the damned souls to their proper Circle of Hell.