Friday, October 11, 2013

The Minotaur

The Minotaur, rarely remembered by his name Asterion (the "starry one"), was the result of King Minos' hubris. In the grip of a fraternal power struggle for the throne of Crete, Minos appealed to Poseidon. The god sent him a white bull from the sea, which Minos was to sacrifice. It was such a splendid beast that the king kept it for himself and sacrificed a lesser animal instead. In revenge, Poseidon asked Aphrodite to make Minos' wife, Pasiphae, fall hopelessly in love with the bull, which she did.
She then commanded Daedalus to build a wooden cow into which she could climb to consummate her passion. She suckled the resultant bull-headed child, the Minotaur, but when it became too wild and aggressive, Minos ordered Daedalus to build the labyrinth to imprison it. Through political machinations, Minos was able to demand tribute from Aegeus, King of Athens, in the form of a supply of maidens and youths to feed the Minotaur.

After three years, the Athenian hero Theseus volunteered to be part of the tribute. With the help of Ariadne, Minos' daughter, and a ball of twine to mark the route, he fought and killed the Minotaur, cut off its head, and escaped from the labyrinth.
by Viv Croot, 30-Second Mythology

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