June 15, 2021 — One of the most famous myths of ancient Greece is that of the bull-headed human-animal Minotaur that comes from the island of Crete.

The story of the bestial Minotaur trapped in a labyrinth created for him by his horrified stepfather, King Minos of Crete, dining on human flesh in his underground prison, has enthralled for generations. Motifs of bulls and mazes have been discovered on the Mediterranean island, the last vestiges of the ancient Minoan culture, while the legend has evolved over the centuries in both Greek and Roman cultural manifestations.

In Greek mythology, King Minos was one of the three sons born to Zeus and Europa. When their step-father, King Asterion, died, Minos declared himself king and appointed his brother Sarpedon as lawmaker of all the islands. Sarpedon questioned his brother’s authority, but Minos said that it was the will of the gods for him to become king.

As proof, Minos sacrificed a bull Poseidon and asked the god to send a new bull for the same purpose. Poseidon listened to his request and sent a beautiful white bull from the sea. King Minos and Crete was impressed, and because the bull was so beautiful, Minos set it free — and sacrificed a lesser bull.