He was autochthonous (born from the earth), like his predecessor. He married Pedias, a Spartan woman and daughter of Mynes, with whom he had three daughters: Cranae, Cranaechme (alternate reading: Menaechme), and Atthis. Atthis gave her name to Attica after dying, possibly as a young girl, although in other traditions she was the mother, by Hephaestus, of Erichthonius. Rarus was also given as a son of Cranaus.
During his reign the flood of the Deucalion story was thought to have occurred. In some accounts, Deucalion is said to have fled Lycorea to Athens with his sons Hellen and Amphictyon. Deucalion died shortly thereafter and was said to have been buried near Athens. Amphictyon is said to have married one of the daughters of Cranaus.
Cranaus was deposed by Amphictyon son of Deucalion, who was himself later deposed by Erichthonius. Cranaus fled to Lamptrae, where he died and was buried. His tomb was still there in the times of Pausanias. Cranaus was venerated as hero in Athens; his priests came from the family Charidae.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 3. 14. 5
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1. 2. 6
- Strabo, Geography, 9. 1. 18
- Hesychius of Alexandria s. v. Kranaou hyios
- Parian Chronicle, 4 - 7
- Eusebius, Chronicle, 2, p. 26
- Ps.-Apollod. 3. 14. 6
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1. 31. 3
- Hesychius of Alexandria s. v. Kharidai
- Aristophanes, Birds 123; Herodotus, Histories, 8. 44; Suda s. v. Kranaōn; Aeschylus, Eumenides 993: "children of Cranaus"
- Aristophanes, Acharnians, 75; Lysistrata, 481; Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Kranaē
- Pindar, Olympian Ode 7. 82
- Apollodorus; Gods & Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus, Michael Simpson (translator), The University of Massachusetts Press, (1976). ISBN 0-87023-205-3.
- Herodotus; Histories, A. D. Godley (translator), Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920; ISBN 0-674-99133-8. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece. W. H. S. Jones (translator). Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. (1918). Vol. 1. Books I–II: ISBN 0-674-99104-4. (Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.)
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