Many of the Greek mythological tales have Cretan roots or unfold in Cretan territories. Some of the most known are the following:
According to greek mythology Zeus, the King of gods, was born in Crete. Cronus, his father, trying to avoid a prophecy that he would lose the ruling of the sky from one of his children, swallowed all his newborns. Rhea, his wife, terrified and chased by her husband, found refuge in Crete and gave birth to her last child Zeus, in a cave (some say at Psychro on Dicte, other the Idaion cave on Ida). She fooled Cronus by giving him a rock in diapers to swallow and covering the noise of the newborn’s cry by the loud singing and dancing of demons “Kourites”.
Mythology also claims that Zeus fell in love with princess Europa (from which we get the modern name for our continent), disguised as a bull and brought Europa to Crete. Their union produced a son, Minos, who ruled Crete and turned it into a mighty island empire of the seas.
When Minos asked Poseidon for a sign that would mean he would become the King of Crete, from the sea emerged a beautiful bull that Minos refused to sacrifice, thus irritating Poseidon who punished Minos by making his wife Pasiphae fall in love with the white bull. Pasiphae, with the help of a wooden cow made by Daedalus, was united with the bull and gave birth to Minotaur, who had the body of a human and the head of a bull.
Minos, enraged at the loss of his daughter Ariadne, not to mention the killing of his pet Minotaur, shut Daedalus and his son Icarus into the Labyrinth, knowing that Theseus could not have accomplished the deed without inside help. Daedalus managed to get out of the Labyrinth – after all, he had built it and knew his way around. Daedalus decided that he and his son Icarus had to leave Crete and get away from Minos, before he brought them harm. And the only way to accomplish that was only by air, since Minos controlled the land and all sea routes.