1. A poet and prophet of Crete. His father's name was Dosiades or Agesarces. We have an account of him in Diogenes Laertius (1.100.10), which, however, is a very uncritical mixture of heterogeneous traditions, so that it is difficult, if not altogether imposible, to discover its real historical substance. The mythical character of the traditions of Epimenides is sufficiently indicated by the fact of his being called the son of a nynmph, and of his being reckoned among the Curetes. It seems, however, pretty clear, that he was a native of Phaestus in Crete (D. L. 1.109; Plut. Sol. 12; de, Defect. Orac. 1), and that he spent the greater part of his life at Cnossus, whence he is sometimes called a Cnossian. There is a story that when yet a boy, he was sent out by his father to fetch a sheep, and that seeking shelter from the heat of the midday sun, he went into a cave. He there fell into a sleep in which lie remained for fifty-seven years. On waking he sought for the sheep, not knowing how long he had been sleeping, and was astonished to find everything around him altered. When he returned home, he found to his great amazement, that his younger brother had in the meantime grown an old man. The time at which Epimenides lived, is determined by his invitation to Athens
According to some accounts, Epimenides was reckoned among the seven wise men of Greece (Diog. Laert. Prooem. § 13; Plut. Sol. 12); but all that tradition has handed down about him suggests a very different character from that of those seven, and he must rather be ranked in the class of priestly bards and sages who are generally comprised under the name of the Orphici; for everything we hear of him, is of a priestly or religious nature : he was a purifying priest of superhuman knowledge and wisdom, a seer and a prophet, and acquainted with the healing powers of plants.