Crete is the largest and most populous island in Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica.
Its name means state, as well as “strong, powerful”.
According to ancient Greek mythology, the island was named after Crete, one of the Esperidian nymphs.
Another legend, however, states that Crete was the name of the wife of Ammon, the god of Egypt, who fled his country because it had fallen into habitation, and went to Crete. There he founded his new kingdom, to which he gave his wife’s name.
Finally, there are reports claiming that Crete was named after Cre, who was the son of Zeus and the nymph Idaia.
Crete, the homeland of Zeus
Crete, among other things, is considered the home of Zeus, the “Father of the Gods”. When Zeus was born, Rea’s mother hid him in a cave to save him from his father, Saturn, who ate his children. There he was nourished by Dictus’ larvae, while Crete’s elders, the Cretans, made noises by shouting their shields so that the baby’s cries would not be heard.
Zeus and Europe
When Zeus kidnapped Europe from Phoenix as a bull, he brought her to Crete. There, Europe gave birth to the three sons of Zeus: Minos, Rhodes and Sarpedon.