Rhadamanthus

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In Greek mythology, Rhadamanthus (Ῥαδάμανθυς; also transliterated as Rhadamanthys or Rhadamanthos) was a wise king, the son of Zeus and Europa. Later accounts even make him out to be one of the judges of the dead. His brothers were Sarpedon and Minos (also a king and later a judge of the dead). Rhadamanthus was raised by Asterion. He had two sons, Gortys and Erythrus. Other sources (e.g., Plutarch; Thes. 20) credit Rhadamanthys rather than Dionysus as the husband of Ariadne, and the father of Oenopion, Staphylus and Thoas. In this account, Ariadne was the daughter King Minos, Rhadamanthys' brother; another Ariadne was the daughter of Minos' grandson and namesake, who features in the Theseus legend, and was rescued by Dionysus.

According to one account, Rhadamanthus ruled Crete before Minos, and gave the island an excellent code of laws, which the Spartans were believed to have copied.

Driven out of Crete by his brother, Minos, who was jealous of his popularity, he fled to Boeotia, where he wedded Alcmene. Homer represents him as dwelling in the Elysian Fields (Odyssey, iv. 564), the paradise for the immortal sons of Zeus.

According to later legends (c. 400 BC), on account of his inflexible integrity he was made one of the judges of the dead in the lower world, together with Aeacus and Minos. He was supposed to judge the souls of easterners, Aeacus those of westerners, while Minos had the casting vote (Plato, Gorgias, 524A).

Virgil (69–18 BC) makes Rhadamanthus one of the judges and punishers of the damned in the Underworld (Tartarus) section of The Aeneid.

Pindar says that he is the right-hand man of Cronus (now ruling Elysium) and was the sole judge of the dead.

Lucian depicts Rhadamanthus as presiding over the company of heroes on the Isle of the Blessed in True History.

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