Mythology

The Greek Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur

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angry minotaur fighting warriorsThe Minotaur, the creature who was part man and part bull, terrified the people of King Minos’s kingdom and ultimately, the people of Attica.. The child of a bull and King Minos’s wife, Pasiphae, the people of the land were cursed to undergo yearly sacrfices to satisfy the Minotaur’s hunger. A total of fourteen people – seven males and seven females – were cursed to enter into the Minotaur’s labyrinth each year so that the beast could track and kill them. Here’s the story of how this fearsome monster finally met its death:

King Minos’s Eldest Son Travels to Athens

Before Queen Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, she bore several other children for King Minos. However, the tale of how Theseus slays the Minotaur begins with their eldest son, Androgeos, who arrived in Athens to participate in the Pan-Athenian games. This was a much anticipated event since they only take place every four years. Androgeos became a clear crowd favorite and he won several events. Out of jealousy, Pallantides assassinated Androgeos, which angered King Minos. He left Crete and set sail for Athens to avenge his son’s death.

King Minos Arranges for the Sacrifice

When King Minos went to Athens to avenge his son’s death, he brought with him several assassins. He demanded that the individual who killed his son come forward, or else he would unleash his wrath to the whole of Athens. King Aegeus, the ruler of Athens at the time, complied by arranging for seven males and seven females to set sail for Crete every seven years in order to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. The Minotaur had an intense appetite and these sacrifices prevented him from killing the people of Crete.

Theseus Puts a Stop to the Sacrifices

Seeing how much of a toll these sacrifices placed on the people of Athens, he vowed to do something about. When one of the seven-year cycles was about to begin, he volunteered to be one of the seven males. However, he didn’t have any intentions of being eaten by the monster. He wanted to slay the monster to free his people from the threat of being sacrificed to the monster.

Ariadne Assists Theseus’ in Killing the Monster

Once Theseus arrived on Crete, Ariadne, King Minos’s daughter, fell in love with him and decided to help him. She told him that the Labyrinth was cursed and that those who entered were charmed into forgetting their way home. She gave him a ball of yarn that he could use to find his way out once he killed the monster. He also hid some of his guards inside his cloak so that he would have many fighters on his side when it came time to battle the creature. Deadalus, the creator of the Labyrinth, also gave him instructions on how to find the monster.

When he arrived, he found the Minotaur sleeping. When the beast awake, a battle ensued that ultimately made Theseus the victor. Thus, the people of Athens were released from the curse of being sacrificed to the monster.

Sources:

Wikipedia – Theseus

Wikipedia – Minotaur

Wikipedia – Minos

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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