Katreus and Glaukos

Polyidos and Glaukos by Paul Spencer
Polyidos and Glaukos by Paul Spencer

Minos's son Katreus had three daughters (Airope, Klymene, Apemosyne) and a son Althaimenes. When he asked the oracle how his life would end, he was told that one of his children would be the cause of his death. He therefore hid the oracle in a secret place, but Althaimenes learned of it and, not wanting to be the killer of his father, went with his sister Apemosyne to a place in Rhodes which he called Kretinia. From a mountain named Mount Atabyrion he could see all the way to Crete, and he erected there an altar to Zeus Atabyrios.

The god Hermes was in love with Althaimenes' sister Apemosyne, but she was such a fast runner that even he could not catch her. Therefore he lay some freshly-skinned oxhides on the path she took on her way back from a nearby spring, and when she slipped on the hides he raped her. She told her brother what had happened, but he thought she was lying and kicked her to death.

Katreus gave his daughters Airope and Klymene to Nauplios to drown (since they had been seduced by servants or foreigners) or to sell in foreign lands. Nauplios himself married Klymene, and their sons were Oiax and Palamedes. Airope was married to Atreus of Mycenae, and their sons were Agamemnon and Menelaos.

When Katreus was an old man, he wanted to give his kingdom to his son Althaimenes, and so he went to Rhodes to find him. Landing on Rhodes, Katreus and his crew got into a fight with local herdsmen, who thought they were invading pirates. Katreus tried to explain who he was, but his words were drowned out by the barking of the herdsmen's dogs. Althaimenes arrived, but did not recognize his father and killed him with a spear. When he learned what he had done, he prayed to the gods and then threw himself into a deep chasm.

When Minos' son Glaukos was a young child, he chased a mouse and fell into a pot of honey and died. Minos searched everywhere for his missing son, and gathered a crowd of seers and fortune-tellers to help him. On the advice of the Kouretes or the Delphic oracle, he asked all the seers to describe a certain tri-colored cow in his herds (or a cow whose color changed daily from white to red to black) and, when Polyidos compared the cow to a mulberry, Minos sent him to look for Glaukos. Polyidos found Glaukos in the honey pot, but then Minos ordered him to restore the boy to life and locked up the seer with the corpse.

While Polyidos was imprisoned, a serpent entered and Polyidos threw a stone at it and killed it. Another serpent appeared, saw the first one dead, and left. Soon the second serpent returned with a certain herb, which it placed over the body of the first, who immediately came back to life. Amazed by this, Polyidos put the herb on the body of Glaukos, and the boy also came back to life.

Minos ordered Polyidos to teach his magic power to Glaukos before he could leave Crete. Polyidos did so, but as he was leaving he ordered Glaukos to spit in his mouth. When the boy did this, he immediately forgot what he had learned.

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