With links to fun and simple websites with games and activities. Russell Punter was born in Bedfordshire, England. From an early age he enjoyed writing and illustrating his own stories. He later trained as a graphic designer at art college in West Sussex before entering publishing.
Since then, he has written over fifty books for children, including original fiction in both picture book and young reader formats. Read more about Russell Punter. For links to specially selected websites with video clips and activities or a pronunciation guide for this book, visit the Usborne Quicklinks website.
Sign Up. See Inside Author information. He neglected, however, to put up the white sail. King Aegeus, from his lookout on Cape Sounion , saw the black-sailed ship approach and, presuming his son dead, committed suicide by throwing himself into the sea that is since named after him. This essentially Athenian view of the Minotaur as the antagonist of Theseus reflects the literary sources, which are biased in favour of Athenian perspectives.
The contest between Theseus and the Minotaur was frequently represented in Greek art. A Knossian didrachm exhibits on one side the labyrinth, on the other the Minotaur surrounded by a semicircle of small balls, probably intended for stars; one of the monster's names was Asterion "star". While the ruins of Minos' palace at Knossos were discovered, the labyrinth never was.
The enormous number of rooms, staircases and corridors in the palace has led some archaeologists to suggest that the palace itself was the source of the labyrinth myth, an idea generally discredited today.
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Some modern mythologists regard the Minotaur as a solar personification and a Minoan adaptation of the Baal - Moloch of the Phoenicians. The slaying of the Minotaur by Theseus in that case indicates the breaking of Athenian tributary relations with Minoan Crete. According to A. Cook , Minos and Minotaur are only different forms of the same personage, representing the sun-god of the Cretans, who depicted the sun as a bull.
He and J. Pottier, who does not dispute the historical personality of Minos, in view of the story of Phalaris , considers it probable that in Crete where a bull cult may have existed by the side of that of the labrys victims were tortured by being shut up in the belly of a red-hot brazen bull. The story of Talos , the Cretan man of brass , who heated himself red-hot and clasped strangers in his embrace as soon as they landed on the island, is probably of similar origin.
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A historical explanation of the myth refers to the time when Crete was the main political and cultural potency in the Aegean Sea. As the fledgling Athens and probably other continental Greek cities was under tribute to Crete, it can be assumed that such tribute included young men and women for sacrifice. This ceremony was performed by a priest disguised with a bull head or mask, thus explaining the imagery of the Minotaur. Once continental Greece was free from Crete's dominance, the myth of the Minotaur worked to distance the forming religious consciousness of the Hellene poleis from Minoan beliefs.
Dante and Virgil encounter the beast first among the "men of blood": those damned for their violent natures. Some commentators believe that Dante, in a reversal of classical tradition, bestowed the beast with a man's head upon a bull's body,  though this representation had already appeared in the Middle Ages. In these lines Virgil taunts the Minotaur in order to distract him, and reminds the Minotaur that he was killed by Theseus the Duke of Athens with the help of the monster's half-sister Ariadne. The Minotaur is the first infernal guardian whom Virgil and Dante encounter within the walls of Dis.
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Giovanni Boccaccio writes of the Minotaur in his literary commentary of the Commedia: "When he had grown up and become a most ferocious animal, and of incredible strength, they tell that Minos had him shut up in a prison called the labyrinth, and that he had sent to him there all those whom he wanted to die a cruel death".
Virgil and Dante then pass quickly by to the centaurs Nessus, Chiron, Pholus, and Nessus who guard the Flegetonte "river of blood" , to continue through the seventh Circle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the mythological monster. For other uses, see Minotaur disambiguation.
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This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Minotaur bust, National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Get away, you beast, for this man does not come tutored by your sister; he comes to view your punishments. Retrieved 20 July Through the Labyrinth. Munich, London, New York: Prestel. There she conceived and bore three sons, Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys.
Cambridge University Press. The annual period is given by J. Zimmerman cites Virgil, Apollodorus, and Pausanias.
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The nine-year period appears in Plutarch and Ovid. I6, iv. Modern scholarship generally discounts the idea; see Kern, Through the Labyrinth , Prestel, , p. Encyclopaedia Britannica Company. IV, pl.