Culture . Tradition Mythology & Legends

Mythology: The king’s daughter Ariadne, the Minotaur and Theseus

The king's daughter Ariadne, the Minotaur and Theseus
"Tribute to the Minotaur", print after a painting by A. Gendron(1817 - 1881)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
How did the Minotaur get into the Labyrinth?

King Minos was the undisputed ruler of Crete. In order to strengthen its position even more, he claimed that one day that even the gods would not deny him any wish.

So he prayed that the gods should send him a white bull from the sea, which afterwards he then would sacrifice.

Poseidon sent him a white bull on the shore near the palace; King Minos was so dazzled by its beauty that he decided to sacrifice a bull inferior in its place. Poseidon recognized this trick and retaliated ….. he arranged that the wife of Minos, Pasiphae, fall in love with the immortal white bull.

Pasiphae asked Daedalus, a famous Athenian craftsmen, who lived in exile in Crete, to help her. Daedalus built a hollow wooden cow in which Pasiphae hid and so mated the white bull. Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, a monster with a bull’s head and human body.

Instead of killing the monster Minos agreed to the entreaties of his daughter Ariadne and commissioned Daedalus to construct a building in which he could hide the Minotaur to the world.

Many believe that the labyrinth was the palace of Knossos itself; its amazing size and complexity are similar in fact a maze.
In addition, the bull and the double ax called “Labrys” were symbols of the Minoan civilization and were excavated throughout the palace.

The end of the Minotaur

According to the myth, King Minos condemned his enemies to imprisonment in the labyrinth of the Minotaur, where they were eaten by the monster; the labyrinth was such a complicated design that no one could ever find the way out.

One day the son of Minos, Androgeus, traveled to Athens to participate in the Panathenaic games, he was killed during the marathon by the same bull, who had impregnated his mother Pasiphae.

This act enraged Minos so much that he demanded of Aegeus, king of Athens, as compensation, to send seven men and seven women as a sacrifice to the Minotaur every 9 years.

The king's daughter Ariadne, the Minotaur and Theseus

“Theseus und Minotaurus”, 1961, by Nikos Engonopoulos (1907-1985), Greek poet and painter

At this point, Theseus enters into the scenery, a son of Aegeus, who joined the third tribute-ride as one of the victims in order to kill the Minotaur.

His father tried unsuccessfully to stop him; he knew that even if Theseus killed the monster, he could never find a way out of the maze.

Immediately after the arrival of the ship with the human victims, the view of the king’s daughter Ariadne felt on Theseus, and she fell in love with him. She let him get on with her famous woven thread to untangle it while deeper into the maze.

Theseus defeated the Minotaur and found with the help of the thread back out of the labyrinth, and together with Ariadne they sailed to the hometown of Theseus, Athens.

Here are 2 more further myths connected with the above

One of the voluntary death of King Aegeus, who upon seeing black sails of the ship of his sun Theseus rushed upon the cliffs of the Cape Sounion, and second, the myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus, who had enraged the Minos lock in the maze.

Our tip: the historical novel on this, by Mary Renault “The king must die”. Exciting!

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Leave a Reply

wpDiscuz