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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[which?], 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.

References in Literature

In George Eliot's "Mill on the Floss" the derivative adjective Rhadamanthine is used.[1]


  1. ^ Mill on the Floss; book 1 Boy and Girl p.46

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  • RHADAMANTHUS — Iovis ex Europa fil. Rex Lyciae, qui quod severus fuerit iustitiae minister, finguitur a poetis apod in feros nocentum culpas explorare. Virgil. Aen. l. 6. v. 566. Gnosius haec Rhadamanthus habet durissima regna, Castigatque auditque dolos,… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Rhadamanthus — bezeichnet eine Gattung der Hyazinthengewächse (Hyacinthaceae), siehe Rhadamanthus (Gattung) einen Asteroiden, siehe (38083) Rhadamanthus Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rhadamanthus — Rhad a*man thus, prop. n. [L., fr. Gr. ???.] (Greek Mythol.) One of the three judges of the infernal regions; figuratively, a strictly just judge. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rhadamanthus — Rhadamanthus, myth., des Minos Bruder, Gehilfe und Nachfolger, wie er Todtenrichter in der Unterwelt …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Rhadamanthus — [rad΄ə man′thisrad΄ə man′thəs] n. 〚L < Gr Rhadamanthos〛 Gr. Myth. a son of Zeus and Europa, rewarded for his exemplary justice by being made, after his death, a judge of the dead in the lower world: also Rhadamanthys [rad΄ə man′this]… …   Universalium

  • Rhadamanthus — 1580s, from Latin, from Gk. Rhadamanthos, one of the judges of the lower world (son of Zeus and Europa); used allusively of inflexible judges …   Etymology dictionary

  • Rhadamanthus — [rad΄ə man′thisrad΄ə man′thəs] n. [L < Gr Rhadamanthos] Gr. Myth. a son of Zeus and Europa, rewarded for his exemplary justice by being made, after his death, a judge of the dead in the lower world: also Rhadamanthys [rad΄ə man′this]… …   English World dictionary

  • Rhadamanthus — noun Date: 15th century a judge of the underworld in Greek mythology …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Rhadamanthus — Synonyms and related words: Aeacus, Aides, Aidoneus, Astraea, Cerberus, Charon, Cora, Despoina, Dike, Dis, Dis pater, Erebus, Hades, Hel, Jupiter Fidius, Justice, Justitia, Kore, Loki, Minos, Nemesis, Orcus, Osiris, Persephassa, Persephone, Pluto …   Moby Thesaurus

  • RHADAMANTHUS —    in the Greek mythology a son of Zeus and Europa, and a brother of MINOS (q.v.), was distinguished among men for his strict justice, and was after his death appointed one of the Judges of the dead in the nether world along with Æacus and Minos …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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