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Crete

by Dr Alena Trckova-Flamee Ph.D.
According to the Greek tradition Crete was a nymph, who gave her name to the island Crete. The name Crete could have probably some connection with the Greek words krato, -ein, "reign," and kratis, -o, "strong, powerful."

The same as the name of the nymph Crete also her origin and her life were associated in various tales with a legendary history of the island. Crete was sometimes considered as the daughter of one of the nine Curetes, the sons of the Earth and the attendants of the young Zeus in Crete. Elsewhere she was mentioned as the daughter of King Asterion (the "Starry One"), who married Europa and adopted her sons Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. But it was also said about the origin of Crete, that she was one of the daughters of Atlas, who had various children.

According to some stories Crete was a wife of Minos. But Crete (or Persis) and Helios (the "Sun") are usually noted as the parents of Queen Pasiphae, the wife of the Cnossian king Minos. And Crete and Zeus became the parents of Car, the father of one of the Greek tribes the Carians. Due to this relation with Zeus they said sometimes, that Crete was a wife of Ammon. Zeus-Ammon was adopted in Greece from the Lybian seer and ram-god Ammun, who became in the Egyptian New Kingdom Ammun-Re identified also with the sun god.

The name of this nymph - Crete and the tales about her origin and about her relations with Helios or Zeus had to demonstrate the glory of the island Crete, showing it as a powerful and an important region, which was visited even by some gods.


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