The Minotaur

By December 4, 2016

The Minotaur

Greetings!  I, Agathon, the great zoologist of Olympia, am back.  Today we will learn about the Minotaur, and the hero Theseus.  The Minotaur is half man, and half bull.  He has the head and tail of a bull, and a body of a man.   This creature is extremely strong, has sharp horns, and is hungry for flesh.

The Minotaur was born to Pasiphae, queen of crete, and a white bull sent by Poseidon in order for Pasiphae’s husband, king Minos to sacrifice back to him.  Minos could not bear to kill the beautiful animal and as a punishment, Poseidon made Pasiphae fall madly in love with it.  The Minotaur was born, but instead of killing it, king Minos kept it and made the people of Athens every nine years to give him seven maidens and seven youth’s for him to sacrifice to the Minotaur.  

Although being superbly strong, the Minotaur has weaknesses.  He is not very bright, and is constantly angry and hungry.  He is also heavy and cannot move as fast as a normal man can.

Theseus was not even born when his father, Aegeus, left for Athens.  But before he departed,  Aegeus took a sword and a pair of shoes, put them in a hollow, and covered them with a large boulder.  He told his wife that as soon as Theseus was big enough to remove the boulder and take the items, he should come after him to find him.  When the time came, Theseus lifted the boulder, took the things, and so eager was he to become a hero, that he declared he would go by land to Athens, rather than by sea, for it was not adventuress enough for him.

When he arrived there, stories of how he had slain many dangerous robbers along the road were already passing around the city, so the king (Aegeus), invited him to a banquet, not knowing it was his son.  For there, Aegeus meant to poison him because his popularity was a threat to his rule.  But when the king was handing him the poison cup, Theseus decided to make himself known to his father and drew his father’s old sword from his tunic, whereas Aegeus, seeing who the traveller was, dashed the cup on the ground.

Then came the time when the king had to offer up fourteen from his kingdom to give to the Minotaur.  Theseus offered to be chosen as one the victims, and told only his father that he meant to kill it.  He promised that if he was successful he would fly a white flag from the mast on the way home so that the king could see long before he landed if Theseus was safe or not.

When the victims landed in Crete, Ariadne, the daughter of king Minos, fell in love with Theseus at first sight.  She gave him a ball of thread which he should trail behind him so that the way out would be clear.  He used this method and came upon the Minotaur sleeping.  He beat it to death with his fists and followed the thread back out of the labyrinth, the other victims following.  Then they fled, Ariadne coming with.  Theseus forgot to raise the white flag and his father watching from shore, saw the black flag up, meaning his son did not live.  He then died of grief before Theseus arrived.

The Minotaur lived in a labyrinth made by the clever Daedalus.  It was so thick and had so many passageways that if a victim never ended up finding the Minotaur,  he would eventually die of starvation.  Although it is called a labyrinth, the Minotaur’s lair was more like a maze.  The word “labyrinth” really means a single path leading to a chamber, whereas this had many paths.  

The Minotaur is a symbol of what happens when mankind try to take matters into their own hands.  It is simply the selfishness of one human that can put thousands of other people into misery.


Author hesiodmythmaker

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