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The Minotaur and the Labyrinth

To present his case for occupying the throne of Crete, Minos had claimed that the gods would answer whatever prayer he offered them. When he prayed that a bull should emerge from the sea, which he would then sacrifice, Poseidon sent a dazzling white bull ashore. Minos, struck by its beauty, decided to sacrifice another bull in its place. Poseidon was offended and to avenge this slight made Minos’ wife, Pasiphae, fall in love with the white bull. She asked Daedalus, a famous Athenian craftsman living in exile in Crete, to help her. Daedalus built a hollow wooden cow in which Pasiphae could hide and approach the white bull. The white bull mounted the cow and consequently Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, a monster with a bull’s head and a human body. Minos asked Daedalus to build a maze, called the Labyrinth, where he concealed the Minotaur.
Some say that the Labryinth was the actual palace of Knossos. Its amazing size and complexity created the illusion of a maze. The bull and the double axe, called labrys, were the symbols of the Minoan civilization and appeared everywhere in the palace.