A Conversation for The Minoan Civilisation of Crete
Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) Started conversation Oct 3, 2002
I often wonder whether the story of the Minotaur was concocted by the later Greek invaders in order to defame the reputation of the Minoan civilisation in light of the fact that it predated their own by so many years.
The legend runs that the Minotaur was sired by the "Cretan Bull" upon the queen of the Minoans who had fallen in love with the beast as a result of a derangement. A priest somehow managed to disguise her as a cow well enough to fool the bull and prompt him to do the deed (how on earth this didn't result in the queen's rather painful demise is never explained). The end result is the Minotaur who is hidden away beneath the palace and fed comely Greek heroes on a regular basis at the behest of the Minoan king. As bestiality is seen as taboo in most societies then the story seems to imply a negative attitude to the culture of the Minoan people and infer that they took their reverance towards the bull too far.
On reflection the story has marked similarities to tales that have been told by one culture about their neighbours habits and practices either before an invasion through envy or after through the need to suppress the conqueror's own culutral inferiority to the conquered.
Gnomon - time to move on Posted Oct 3, 2002
This reminds me of a story about the Spaniards invading Mexico. They concluded that the locals were cannibals, because they found pictures drawn by the locals of people eating other people.
It was only years later when they learned to decipher the writing that they discovered these were pictures of Spaniards eating people.
It's like Britain in the dark ages. You have the Christians thinking that the pagans worship the devil because they have a horned god and the pagans thinking that the Christians eat babies because they worship the infant Christ and then have a ceremony where they claim to eat of his body and drink of his blood!
Gnomon - time to move on Posted Oct 3, 2002
To get back to the Greeks, I think the reason that Greek Mythology is so complicated, with so many gods, is because as each small tribe conquered the next, they adopted their gods either as parents of their own or as monsters that their own gods had conquered. So we have Uranus father of Saturn and the Titans, while Saturn was father of Zeus. Probably what happened was the Saturn worshippers conquered the Uranus worshippers. Then the Zeus worshippers conquered them. Saturn became an old man that ate his children.
You're probably right about the same process happening with the Greeks and the Minoans.
Exactly what happened in ancient Egypt with Horus and Set. The worshippers of Horus conquered and subsumed the followers of Set and from there on the latter was cast in the role of the murderous userper and the former as the gallant and noble hero of the tale.
Stealing your nieghbours land and then casting his god as the bad guy might seem cheeky, but not as cheeky as the Romans who just nicked the Greek's gods and changed their names!
Or Christian soceity in general that just turned the gods of other people into another manifestation of the devil!
Researcher 205179 Posted Oct 3, 2002
I think there is a free exibition on the minoan civilisation open in birmingham at the moment, just off victoria square.
manolan Posted Oct 3, 2002
The legend is actually that Daedalus created a cow-like contraption that the queen could climb inside. And it was for this knowledge, among other things, that he was imprisoned.
The most likely origin of the Minotaur legend is in the bull dancing ceremonies, as the Entry states. As Crete straddled many of the most important trade routes, various Mediterranean city states had to pay tribute and it is possible that young men and women came to train and perform the bull dance for a number of years before returning home. Or perhaps these were the sons and daughters of the rulers of those city states, being held hostage against their parent's good intentions - that would explain the Perseus myth.
Gnomon - time to move on Posted Oct 4, 2002
Do you mean the Theseus myth? I'm not familiar with the story about Perseus.
Ah, so the old fella was Dedalus...and I do recall a strange cow-like device being made for the queen to hide inside of, strange times those.
Narapoia Posted Oct 9, 2002
There was also quite a lot of assimilation going on (I guess the Borg had to get the idea from somwhere). In a lot of cultures it was easier for the dominant civilisation to superimpose their deities onto the indigenous ones as a less confrontational way (or a more insidious one) of getting the natives to worship the new gods. I've just been on holiday in Turkey where you can track how worship of Cybele changed to Artemis and so on to Diana. Or was it Aphrodite then Venus?
Whatever, it's a lot easier to keep the locals happy by saying "it's the same thing, really" than by forcing them to change. And I think that's why a lot of pagan practices survived the arrival of the Christians in Britain.
anachromaticeye Posted Jan 22, 2008
I thought there was fairly strong evidence that during the aftermath of the second destuction there was a degree of ritual canabalism amongst the Minoans which may have lead to the myth of the Minotaur. Hasn't it been proved that this second destruction was caused by a Tsunami? Maybe I can't remember my tv documentaries right
Also, why does this link to the Santorini entry but not the other way round?
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) (Oct 3, 2002)
- 2: Gnomon - time to move on (Oct 3, 2002)
- 3: Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) (Oct 3, 2002)
- 4: Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) (Oct 3, 2002)
- 5: Gnomon - time to move on (Oct 3, 2002)
- 6: Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) (Oct 3, 2002)
- 7: Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) (Oct 3, 2002)
- 8: Researcher 205179 (Oct 3, 2002)
- 9: manolan (Oct 3, 2002)
- 10: Gnomon - time to move on (Oct 4, 2002)
- 11: Mat Lindsay (the researcher formerly known as Nylarthotep...now he has a name, all he needs is a face) (Oct 4, 2002)
- 12: manolan (Oct 4, 2002)
- 13: Narapoia (Oct 9, 2002)
- 14: anachromaticeye (Jan 22, 2008)