The Legend of the Minotaur

The Legend of the Minotaur

Knossos was the centre of one of the most potent ancient civilisation of the entire world. The king of this period, Minos gave his name to this civilisation.

Minos was called the King, and apparently, many successors were taking the title. However, according to mythology, Minos was the son of Zeus and the Princess of Finikis, Europe.

Minos was one of the children he acquired, according to the legend, after the kidnapping of Europe by the masked bull Jupiter. God of gods gave Minos the right to be a king and to make laws with the advice of his father, whom he visited every nine years.

Minos was married to Pasiphae, daughter of Helios, the Sun, and Perse which was the oldest of the nymphs.

Once the people of Crete questioned the right of Minos to be a king, Minos pleaded with the gods and Neptune sent him a bull to sacrifice. The bull was so beautiful that Minos was unable to sacrifice him, but he tried to deceive the gods. Instead, he killed one of his bulls.

This action of Minos made angered the god of the sea, Poseidon, and made Pasiphae fall in love with the bull. The result of this union was the Minotaur, who was half a man, half a bull.

Minos asked the famous architect, Daedalus, to build a maze to imprison the Minotaur.

Meanwhile, Minoos' son, Androgeus, went to Athens to fight in the races. Androgeus won, and the king of Athens sent him to Marathon to kill a bull. The bull murdered Androgeus. When he learned it, Minos preached war against Athens. At the side of Minos stood his father.

The Jupiter destroyed the city, and the king of Athens was forced to retreat and do what Minos called for. Minos asked seven young girls and boys, to be sent every nine years to Crete to feed for the Minotaur.

Once among in these young people was Theseus, the son of the King of Athens. The daughter of Minos, Ariadne, fell in love with Theseus and helped him to kill the Minotaur (according to the myth of Mito of Ariadne).

Minos punished Daedalus and his son Icarus by closing them in the maze. However, they managed to escape with the feathers that Daedalus had made.

The myth of the Minotaur has several theories about its meaning. According to one of them, it symbolises the abolition of the barbaric custom of human sacrifice, while others claim that Minos and Minotaur are the same person who represents the god Helios. Finally, there is the view that the killing of the Minotaur symbolises the liberation of the Greeks from the domination of Minoan Crete.