In Greek mythology, Rhadamanthus (/ˌrædəˈmænθəs/) or Rhadamanthys (Ancient Greek: Ῥαδάμανθυς) was a wise king of Crete. In later accounts he is said to be one of the judges of the dead.

Tomb of the Judgement Radamanthys
Depiction of Rhadamanthys in the Tomb of Judgement, Lefkadia, c.300-250 BCE


Rhadamanthus' name might mean 'rod diviner' derived from two Greek words mantis "soothsayer, seer" and rhabdos "rod, wand". It could also be etymologically related to Greek adámas "invincible, untamed", damázo "to overpower, to tame, to conquer."


Rhadamanthus was the son of Zeus and Europa and brother to Sarpedon and Minos (also a king and later a judge of the dead).[1] Together with his brothers, Rhadamanthus was raised by Asterion, their stepfather. He had two sons, Gortys (associated with Gortyn, Crete) and Erythrus (founder of Erythrae).

Other sources (e.g. Plutarch, Theseus 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 of Minos, Rhadamanthys' brother; another Ariadne was the daughter of Minos' grandson and namesake, who features in the Theseus legend, and was rescued by Dionysus.



Although he was frequently considered one of the judges of the dead in the underworld, he was known for few legislative activities. There is a reference to a law of Rhadamanthus ordering the Cretans to swear oaths by animals[2] and to another law of Rhadamanthus saying if a person defends themselves against another who initiated violence then they should suffer no penalty.[3]

Exile from Crete

Driven out of Crete by Minos, who was jealous of his popularity, he fled to Boeotia, where he wedded Alcmene, widow of Amphitryon and mother of Heracles. Also, according to some traditions, he was a tutor to Heracles.[4] This is also mentioned by Tzetzes, a medieval historian.

In general, the particular sphere of activity of Rhadamanthus tends to be the Aegean islands, apart from Crete itself, where Minos was active. He is also often connected by ancient authors with central Greece.[4]


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). He is portrayed in Books 4 and 7 of Homer's Odyssey. Virgil (69–18 BC) makes Rhadamanthus one of the judges and punishers of the unworthy in the Underworld (Tartarus) section of the Aeneid.

Homer represents him as dwelling in the Elysian Fields (Odyssey iv. 564), the paradise for the immortal sons of Zeus. 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 Isles of the Blest in True History.

Argive Genealogy

Argive genealogy in Greek mythology
Colour key:



  1. ^ Bulfinch, Thomas; Scott, J. Loughran (John Loughran) (24 January 1898). "The age of fable; or, Beauties of mythology". Philadelphia, D. McKay – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Porphyry, De Abstinentia III.16.6, on which see Jean Bouffartigue, Porphyre, De l'abstinence, (Paris) 1979, p. 171 n. 2.
  3. ^ Apollodorus Library of Greek Mythology, II.4
  4. ^ a b John Davidson, Rhadamanthys and the Family of Herakles. L'antiquité classique, 1999, Vol 68, pp. 247-252

External links

Media related to Rhadamanthus at Wikimedia Commons

38083 Rhadamanthus

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All species in the genus are obligate troglobites, and each species is usually endemic to a single cave system; they are unpigmented, and have no functional eyes.

Aphaenops abodiensis Dupre, 1988

Aphaenops alberti Jeannel, 1939

Aphaenops bessoni Cabidoche, 1962

Aphaenops bonneti Foures, 1948

Aphaenops bouilloni Coiffait, 1955

Aphaenops bourdeaui Coiffait, 1976

Aphaenops bucephalus Dieck, 1869

Aphaenops carrerei Coiffait, 1953

Aphaenops catalonicus Escola & Cancio, 1983

Aphaenops cerberus Dieck, 1869

Aphaenops chappuisi Coiffait, 1955

Aphaenops cissauguensis Faille & Bourdeau, 2008

Aphaenops coiffaitianus A. Gaudin, 1947

Aphaenops crypticola Linder, 1859

Aphaenops delbreili Genest, 1983

Aphaenops eskualduna Coiffait, 1959

Aphaenops fresnedai Faille & Bourdeau, 2011

Aphaenops hidalgoi Espanol & Camas, 1985

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Aphaenops jauzioni Faille, Deliot & Queinnec, 2007

Aphaenops jeanneli Abeille da Perris, 1905

Aphaenops laurenti Genest, 1983

Aphaenops leschenaulti Bonvouloir, 1862

Aphaenops linderi Jeannel, 1938

Aphaenops loubensi Jeannel, 1953

Aphaenops ludovici A. Gaudin, 1935

Aphaenops mariaerosae Genest, 1983

Aphaenops mensioni Mascaro, 1976

Aphaenops michaeli Foures, 1954

Aphaenops ochsi L. Gaudin, 1925

Aphaenops orionis Fagniez, 1913

Aphaenops parallelus Coiffait, 1955

Aphaenops parvulus Faille, Bourdeau & Fresneda, 2010

Aphaenops pluto Dieck, 1869

Aphaenops queffelici Cabidoche, 1966

Aphaenops rebereti A. Gaudin, 1947

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Aphaenops sioberae Foures, 1954

Aphaenops tiresias Piochard de la Brulerie, 1872

Aphaenops valleti Casale & Genest, 1986

Aphaenops vandeli Foures, 1954


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