Miletus was son of Apollo and Areia, daughter of Cleochus, of Crete. When Areia gave birth to her son she hid him in a bed of smilax; Cleochus found the child there and named him Miletus after the plant. Another tradition relates that Miletus' mother by Apollo was Akakallis, the daughter of Minos. Fearing her father's wrath she exposed the child, but Apollo commanded the she-wolves to come down and nurse the child. Yet another source calls his mother Deione, and himself by the matronymic Deionides. Finally, one source gives Miletus as the son of Euxantius, himself son of Minos by a Telchinian woman Dexithea.
He was loved by both Minos and Sarpedon, but showed preference for the latter, and this became the reason why Sarpedon was expelled from Crete by his brother. Following the advice of Sarpedon, Miletus also left Crete for Samos, then moved to Caria and became the mythical founder and eponym of the city of Miletus. Myths further relate that the hero Miletus founded the city only after slaying a giant named Asterius, son of Anax; and that the region known as Miletus was originally called 'Anactoria'.
Miletus married either Eidothea, daughter of Eurytus, or Tragasia, daughter of Celaenus, or Cyanee, daughter of the river god Maeander, or Areia, and by her had a son Kaunos (Caunus) and a daughter Byblis, who happened to develop incestuous feelings for each other.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 1. 2
- Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 185
- Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, 30
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9. 442
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7. 2. 5
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9. 446 - 665
- Parthenius, Love Romances, 11
- Conon, Narrations, 2
- Scholia on Theocritus, Idyll 7, 115