Sarpedon is one of the three sons of Zeus and Europa. Europa moved to Crete, and married the king Asterius. Later, the three fell into a quarrel over the love of a boy. Minos drove the other two from Crete. Sarpedon went on to found the Lycian race in Asia Minor. He later is found fighting in the Trojan War. There is a large time difference between the time of Minos and the Trojan War, which Apollodorus explains by writing that Zeus allowed his favorite son to live for three lifetimes.
During the Trojan War, he is the leader of the Lycian forces, under the command of Hector. Sarpedon was eventually killed by Patroclus, and a fight for his body ensued. Not wanting his son to go unburied, Zeus commanded Apollo to bring the body back to Lycia for burial.