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The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Again, the legend of the Minotaur a being part human, part bull could have arisen from exaggerated accounts of bull leaping in ancient Crete.
Minos too turned to Daedalus, requesting him to build a Labyrinth, from which the Minotaur could not escape.
Theseus, great hero of Attic legend, son of Aegeus, king of Athens, and Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, king of Troezen in Argolis , or of the sea god, Poseidon, and Aethra.
Legend relates that Aegeus, being childless, was allowed by Pittheus to have a child Theseus by Aethra. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
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Internet URLs are the best. 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.
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.
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": 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. Giovanni Boccaccio writes of the Minotaur in his literary commentary of the Commedia: 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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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 Munich, London, New York: There she conceived and bore three sons, Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys.
The annual period is given by J. Zimmerman cites Virgil, Apollodorus, and Pausanias. The nine-year period appears in Plutarch and Ovid.
Modern scholarship generally discounts the idea; see Kern, Through the Labyrinth , Prestel, , p. Maffei "erroneously deemed the piece to be from Classical antiquity ".
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