The myth about Minotaur is among the most known ancient Greek mythical narratives. He was known for many things, one of which his physical appearance. Being an amalgam creature, he had a man’s body, but with the bull’s head. In this Greek ancient society that believed on legends, he was seen as one. These stories reveal that Minotaur inhabited a labyrinth. It was a maze with only one opening that kept the Minotaur. Daedalus is credited with building this labyrinth. Due to his unique appearance, he had his strengths as well as weaknesses. Due to his muscular body and sharp horns, he was incredibly strong. He was a los known for being a vicious fighter who was known for his hunger for flesh (Evely, Lemos, and Sherratt 34). His major weakness was his lack of general knowledge. One could refer to him as a somehow top-heavy individual who is constantly hungry and angry.
His parents were Pasiphae, who at one time had become the Empress of Crete. His father was King Minos. Some stories believe that his mother was the deity of Crete. Due to this, his horns were thought to epitomize the moon. Consequently, mythology considered his father a sanctified white bull that was temporarily handed to King Minos to later sacrifice to these gods. Minotaur was not known to have any spouse. Stories that he had ate both male and female targets made marriage very unlikely for him (Angeletti 45). Due to this, he was not known to have any child.
Due to his significance, there have been major temples in Greece that celebrate the legend that he was. After his death and even in the Modern Greek mythology, his story is usually connected to Knossos. The original accounts of the narrative places the position of the maze close to Phaistos, located on Crete’s south coast. The people of this region were known for the large herds of holy astral cattle they had. Since the place was adjacent to Gortyn, known for Zeus who brought Europa in the form of a bull. People can still visit this labyrinth, but it is not a place for the fearful people. There is no cellular connection in the underground tunnels that are miles of the top. Some people believe that this labyrinth was just an ancient quarry (Evslin 56). Others argued that the Nazis used it during their settlement in Greece to act as their arms depot.
The basic story of Minotaur differs because of the variations in the stories brought up by the mythologists. One of the more believable stories indicate that before he appeared Pasiphae and Minos ruled Crete as its queen and king respectively. Minos in a bid to affirm his rightfulness on governance over his two brothers, asked a sign from the gods to assert himself as the rightful governor. Amazingly, a beautiful bull emerged that the people thought came from either Poseidon or Zeus. The original idea was that the king, for public relations operation would use the bull and then send it as a sacrifice it back to the divinities (Evslin 62). However, he fell in love with the bull that he let it remain to mate with his cattle, and instead sacrificed a different smaller bull.
It turned out to be a bad idea because Zeus asked Aphrodite to make the queen fall in love with the bull to the extent of having sexual relations with it. Daedalus assisted this by designing a replica cow suit to enable the ploy work. That is how the birth of Minotaur came to happen. However, he was so ferocious that a labyrinth had to be made to contain it. Later on, Minos demanded that Athens had to made tribute in form of young people and maids. These people were meant to be eaten by the Minotaur. Some have considered this as a punishment to the Cretans who were known for their daring bull-leaping competitions. Theseus who was the heir to the thrones of Athens organized to be among the cluster to pay honor. He achieved this with aid from Princess Ariadne, the princess of Crete (Hutton 57). He entered the labyrinth with a thread guiding him and managed to eliminate the Minotaur.
The Minotaur also has alternative spellings, some of which were considered misspelled. Some of these names included Minitore, Minatour, and Minataur. Some other stories have revealed Asterion as the other name for Minotaur. This is the name of Europa’s husband as well as the term that connects him to Zeus. When talking about the maze, the Cretans consider that it means “House of the Double Axe.” It might refer to the horns of a bull or in some cases a maze. A labyrinth only consists of opening that acts as the inlet and outlet from the midpoint. It usually has many closed ends designed to confuse and mislead a victim (Hutton 88). Therefore, one could argue that Theseus did not need the thread from Adriane because of the only a single way out the labyrinth had.
Today, it is common to see the myth of Theseus and Minotaur portrayed in different forms of artwork. In most of the depictions, the two are seen in a battle. In most cases, the Minotaur appears to be in a submissive role indicating that he was defeated during the war. The depiction is a popular subject matter because it personifies the fight between the natural and unnatural. Others view it as the struggle between civilized and the uncivilized. It has become a common figure in many Greek representations. Several coins from island of Crete have also revealed the construction of Labyrinth on reverse. To some extent, it confirms the existent of the Minotaur (Angeletti 91). Combined with the reverence for bulls among the Cretans as well as their architectural complexities, the story might be true.
- Angeletti, Roberta. The Minotaur of Knossos. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
- Evely, D, I S. Lemos, and S Sherratt. “Minotaur and Centaur: Studies in the Archaeology of Crete and Euboea Presented to Mervyn Popham.” Bar International Series (supplementary). 638 (1996). Print.
- Evslin, Bernard. The Minotaur. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. Print.
- Hutton, Warwick. Theseus and the Minotaur. New York: M.K. McElderry Books, 1989. Print.