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Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


King Minos of Knossos clearly was a real person, but the treatments of Homer are difficult to discern, since the poet liked to toy with his readers in intermixing fact with embellishment. Factually Minos reigned at Knossos as the king of all Crete prior to the Trojan War (early to mid second millennium BC).

Legend holds that Poseidon gave Minos a splendid bull for sacrifice, the elegance of the bull placed Minos in awe, so that he refused to sacrifice the animal. The enraged Poseidon punished Minos by causing his wife, Pasiphae, to have a child that was half-bull, half-man, the Minotaur. Minos ordered Daedalus, his master architect, to design the labyrinth at Knossos to confine the bull-man Minotaur.

Minos' human son Androgeus competed in the first Panathenaic Games in Athens, but King Aegeus was angered when Androgeus won all the contests; Aegeus slayed Androgeus, with Minos responding with war on Athens; Athens capitulated to a peace by sending seven fair young women and men yearly to Crete to be imprisoned with Minotaur in the labyrinth.

The Minotaur stalked them within the giant maze; the process endured for three years until Aegeus' other human son, Theseus, penetrated the labyrinth and slayed the Minotaur; Theseus Minos' daughter, Ariadne, gave Theseus a spool of thread, which he unwound as he explored the labyrinth, allowing him to retrace his steps and escape the enormous maze. The above story is further memorialized by the historian Plutarch, who further muddles fact with fiction and adds a moralistic ending.

In any case the actual Minos was a potent king who died on Sicily in an attempt to re-capture Daedalus.
C Michael Hogan Posted by C Michael Hogan
26th December 2007ce
Edited 14th August 2008ce

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