Lamborgini asterion

This article is about the figure in Greek mythology. For other uses, see Asterion (disambiguation). For the theologian, see Asterius the Sophist.

In Greek mythology, Asterion /əˈstɪriən/ (Greek: Ἀστερίων, literally “starry”) or Asterius /əˈstɪriəs/ (Ἀστέριος)[1] denotes two sacred kings of Crete, as well as a river and its god in Argos.



Asterion I

The first Asterion, the son of Tectamus, son of Dorus, called by the Greeks “king” of Crete, was the consort of Europa and stepfather of her sons by Zeus,[2] who had to assume the form of the Cretan bull of the sun to accomplish his role. The sons were Minos, the just king in Crete who judged the Underworld; Rhadamanthus, presiding over the Garden of the Hesperidesor in the Underworld; and Sarpedon, likewise a judge in the Afterlife. When he died, Asterion gave his kingdom to Minos, who promptly “banished” his brothers after quarrelling with them. Crete, daughter of Asterion, was a possible wife of Minos.


Asterion II

According to Karl Kerenyi[3] and other scholars, the second Asterion, the star at the center of the labyrinth on Cretan coins, was in fact the Minotaur, as the compiler of Bibliotheca (III.1.4) asserts:

Pasiphaë gave birth to Asterius, who was called the Minotaur. He had the face of a bull, but the rest of him was human; and Minos, in compliance with certain oracles, shut him up and guarded him in the Labyrinth.

“Minotaur” is simply a name of Hellene coining to describe his Cretan iconic bull-man image: see Minotaur. Coins minted atCnossus from the fifth century showed the kneeling bull or the head of a goddess crowned with a wreath of grain[4] and on the reverse—the “underside”—a scheme of four meander patterns joined at the centre windmill fashion, sometimes with sickle moons or with a star-rosette at the center: “it is a small view of the nocturnal world on the face of the coin that lay downward in the printing process, and is, as it were, oriented downward”.

As long as it is recalled that the myth of Asterion, who appears in no anecdotal Hellenic context, is Minoan, it will be perceived that the figure of Zeus is an interloper, and that rather than the “stepfather” role to which he has been displaced, Asterion is originally the father of the Underworld progeny.[citation needed]





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