I don’t feel like I got a lot done today. I’m tired and sore and depressed. I did some rewriting and got a few new paragraphs written. Ah well, at least it’s something. Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep tonight and do better tomorrow.
I’m not sure why, but the story of the Minotaur has been on my mind. Last time I saw my brother I told him the whole story of Icarus. The minotaur involves some of the same characters so maybe I’ll tell him this one next time. I wish when we were little I had spent time instilling in him the love for reading and curiosity about things that I’ve always had, but honestly, we were just trying to survive, and reading was my escape.
So anyway, Pasiphae was the daughter of the sun god Helios and sister to the sorceress Circe. She was a skilled sorceress in her own right. She married King Minos of Crete, becoming Queen. King Minos asked the sea god Poseidon for a magnificent bull, which he would then sacrifice. He asked for the bull to prove his right of rulership. Poseidon granted this wish and a pure white bull rose from the sea. This was such an awesome animal that King Minos decided he was going to keep it and sacrifice another bull in its stead. Of course this pissed off Poseidon. (These mortals are painfully stupid at times. )
So, at this point we have two versions with the same result. Either Poseidon or Aphrodite, depending on the version, cursed King Minos’s wife Pasiphae to have an uncontrollable lust for the bull in question. Yes, the woman wanted bull penis. That’s a pretty nasty curse, especially since the Queen isn’t the one who pissed off the Gods. So, the bull, being a bull, wasn’t much interested in her. She had the craftsman Daedelus, father of Icarus, build a wooden cow and cover it with cow skin. This allowed her to get inside it in a “receptive” position. They wheeled the thing out to the meadow, and the white bull was turned on by the funny looking cow and mated with it, and thereby Pasiphae inside it. I do not know if once she did the deed her lust subsided or if this was an ongoing affair. I also do not know if there were splinters involved for either party.
As a result of this union, Pasiphae gave birth to the minotaur; half man, half bull. King Minos was tipped off by the birth that something wasn’t kosher and was quite unhappy. However, Pasiphae, being a badass sorceress, put a curse on him that caused him to ejaculate scorpions, snakes and other venomous creatures, which would then kill his lovers. Only she was immune. I suppose that’s one way to insure fidelity. Anyway, she named the minotaur Asterion, meaning “starry one”. I like that quite a bit.
She fed and took care of the minotaur when it was a calf, but as it got older, it started eating people. King Minos, who had locked up Daedelus and Icarus for their help with his wife’s unnatural desire, trotted them back out and put them to work building the labyrinth. Meanwhile, King Minos’ only human son Androgeos was killed in Athens. This had to do with his prowess at the games. King Minos held Athens responsible for bringing his line to an end. (I shudder to think what sort of offspring would arise from scorpion ejaculate) So he demanded from them a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens either yearly or every nine years, depending on the version. The Delphic oracle told Athens to do as the King wanted so they did. In the third batch of tributes, King Aegeus’ son Theseus volunteered as a tribute.
King Minos had two daughters named Ariadne and Phaedra, both of whom fell madly in love with the studly Theseus. Ariadne begged Daedelus for the secret of the labyrinth and then ran to tell Theseus. She gave him a ball of string to help him find his way back out. Theseus kills the Minotaur, escapes the labyrinth, and runs off with both daughters on his ship back to Athens. Along the way, he abandons Ariadne at an island. Some versions say he did this on his own, while others say he did it at the behest of the god Dionysus, who wanted Ariadne for himself. Either way, dick move.
Theseus was supposed to put up white sails on his way home to let his father know he lived. He forgot (or so he said), and seeing the black sails, King Aegeus jumps to his death into the sea, which is ever after known as the Aegean sea.
So. That’s the story of the minotaur, including all the bits your middle school mythology book left out. I actually had some things to say about this whole story, but I’ve run out of time so I’ll pick up again tomorrow. For now, there’s the myth, and attached are a few works of related artwork I have listed in my redbubble shop. I hope you enjoyed the story and now you can regale your friends with stories of scorpion semen at the next party.
Ariadne – Herbert James Draper
Ariadne – John William Waterhouse
The Minotaur – George Frederick Watts