Miletus (mythology)

Miletus (Ancient Greek: Μίλητος) was a character from Greek mythology.


According to Robert Graves, Miletus' name tentatively suggests "red earth" miltos referring to the fact that Cretans had a complexion that was redder than that of the Greeks.[1]


Miletus was son of Apollo and Areia, nymph-daughter of Cleochus, of Crete.[2] His mother in other accounts was Acacallis, a daughter of Minos who consorted with Apollo.[3] Yet another source calls Miletus' mother Deïone, and himself by the matronymic Deionides.[4] Finally, one source gives Miletus as the son of Euxantius, himself son of Minos by a Telchinian woman Dexithea.[5]

Miletus married either Eidothea, daughter of King Eurytus of Caria,[3] or Tragasia, daughter of Celaenus,[6] or Cyane, daughter of the river god Maeander,[7] or Areia[citation needed], and by her had a son Kaunos (Caunus) and a daughter Byblis.[8][9]

A different family of Miletus was given by Nonnus, his father was Asterius, son of Minos and Androgenia while Caunus and Byblis became his siblings instead of his children.[10]

Comparative table of Miletus' family
Relation Names Sources
Sch. on Apollon. Parthenius Ovid Apollodorus Antoninus Nonnus
Parents Euxantius
Apollo and Deione
Apollo and Areia
Apollo and Acacallis
Consorts Tragasia
Siblings Caunus
Children Caunus


When Areia gave birth to her son she hid him in a bed of smilax; Cleochus found the child there and named him Miletus after the plant.[5] In the tradition in which his mother was Acacallis, the daughter of Minos fearing her father's wrath, exposed the child but Apollo commanded the she-wolves to come down and nurse the child.[3]

He was loved by both Minos and Sarpedon, but showed preference for the latter, and this became the reason why Sarpedon was expelled from Crete by his brother. Following the advice of Sarpedon, Miletus with an army also left Crete for Samos, then moved to Caria and became the mythical founder and eponym of the city of Miletus.[2][3][5] Myths further relate that the hero Miletus founded the city only after slaying Asterius, son of Anax; and that the region known as Miletus was originally called 'Anactoria'.[11]


  1. ^ "Miletus". Mythology Names.
  2. ^ a b Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 1. 2
  3. ^ a b c d Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, 30
  4. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9. 442
  5. ^ a b c Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 185
  6. ^ Parthenius, Love Romances, 11
  7. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9. 446 - 665
  8. ^ Conon, Narrations, 2
  9. ^ Scholia on Theocritus, Idyll 7, 115
  10. ^ Nonnus. Dionysiaca, Book 13.546ff
  11. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7. 2. 5

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.