Posts Tagged ‘King Minos of Crete’

“Greek Myths and Graffiti Murals”: “Collaboration With Resa McConaghy”⭐:


⇒About This Post. Abstract:

The following article is composed of two sections, each one of them including murals from Argentina and Canada, respectively. This post aims to analyze with a with a free, but still judiciously, well-founded criteria how certain mythological greek themes and characters might be recurrent, despite time and even against it.

As Resa and I found some graffitis which seemed to have mythological and even philosophical equivalents we decided we wanted to try to show those connections. Resa´s mural is from the University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) whilst mine are from The Planetarium (Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina). With that being said, we just wanted to say that, after finding many similarities, we are quite pleased with the outcome. Both of, Resa and I believe the convergences are striking. And being so, they broaden and deepen the value of the immortal Ancient Greek Legacy.

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⇒Section I. Murals: The Planetarium:🇦🇷

The Galileo Galilei planetarium, commonly known as Planetario, is located in Parque Tres de Febrero in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The building was officially opened to the public on April 5, 1968. It consists of a cylindrical framework with independent projectors for the Moon, the Sun and the visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) and two spheres in the extremes that project 8,900 stars, constellations and nebulas.
Nowadays the Planetarium is surrounded by a thin sheet metal with many murals on it. We´ll present here some of them, aiming to find mythological  and philosophical corollaries.
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⇒Eros and Psyche… And the Planetarium above them!:

This graffiti is quite the finding. It is based on an original painting “The abduction of Psyche” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1894). 
The artist included a Planetarium above the couple.
According to the greek myth Aphrodite was jealous due to men’s admiration for Psyche, so she asked her son, Eros, to poison men’ souls in order to kill off their desire for Psyche. But Eros fell in love with Psyche. Thus, against his mother´s wishes, he asked the west wind, Zephyr, to waft her to his palace.
They consummated their love that same night. But for that Eros had to make Psyche believe that he was an ugly beast, as the Oracle had told her parents that Psyche would marry an ugly beast whose face she would never be able to see. And apparently she firmly believed so!…
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⇒The Horned goat with human hands:

This mural with goat head and human hands might remind us of the constellation Capricornus .
Its name is Latin for “horned goat” or “goat horn” or “having horns like a goat’s”.
This constellation protected by Hestia, represents Pan, the god of the wild and shepherds. The myth tells us that, in order to escape Typhon, Pan cast himself into the river, making the lower part of his body look like a fish, and the rest a goat: Zeus, admiring his shrewdness, put this shape among the constellations .
However, in this mural, we lack of the sea elements… But the resemblance between hands and fins couldn´t go unnoticed, either way.
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⇒The Bull Surrounded by Snakes:

This mural seem to evoke the Great Greek Bull. It could be linked to the Minotaur.
According to the respective myth, after Pasiphae (the daughter of Helios, the Sun, by the eldest of the Oceanids Perse) become impregnated by a white bull, she gave birth to a sort of hybrid child, the bull-headed Minotaur.
Angered with his wife, Minos imprisoned the minotaur in the labyrinth of Crete in Knossos. Presumably, Minos was one of the three sons from the union of Europa and Zeus; when Zeus was in the form of a bull.

As to snakes, let´s remember the rod of Asclepius, God of Medicine and Apollo´s son. It symbolizes the healing arts by combining the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility. The Asclepius Wand, often confused with the Caduceus wand of Hermes, is the symbol of the medical profession.

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⇒Tiempo- Time:

The words on this mural mean: Time.
But what is exactly time. St Augustine of Hippo says in his “Confessions”: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know”… Time is such an elusive concept, indeed!.
In Greek mythology, Chronos was the personification of time, not to be confused with Cronus, the Titan and father of Zeus.
The Greeks had two different words for time: Chronos refers to numeric or chronological time, while another word kairos refers to the more qualitative concept of the right or opportune moment. The figure of Chronos was typically portrayed as a wise old man with a long grey beard: Father Time.
Furthermore, the Horae or Hours were the goddesses of the seasons and the natural flow of time, generally portrayed as personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, and with the cycle of the seasons themselves symbolically described as the dance of the Horae.
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⇒Number 8. Toward Infinity… and beyond!:

This mural is certainly esoteric. The eyes, placed in circular shape, surround the central number eight (8).

Eight (8) is the Number of the perfection, the infinity. In mathematics the symbol of the infinity is represented by a 8 laid down.

The Pythagoreans believed that number 8 was the symbol of love and friendship, prudence and rational thinking. . It was the Pythagoreans who held that there are in man eight organs of knowledge; sense, fantasy, art, opinion, prudence, science, wisdom, and mind.

The person who actually introduced the infinity symbol was John Wallis, in 1655. This symbol is sometimes called the Lemniscate. It presumably evolved from the Etruscan numeral for 1000, which looked like this: CIƆ. There is another theory that he actually derived the infinity symbol from omega (ω), the last letter of the Greek alphabet. 


The ouroboros symbol, showing a a snake twisted into a horizontal figure eight (8) and biting its own tail, is also said to be a most plausible basis for the infinity symbol because it is a fitting depiction of endlessness.

As to the eyes in this mural, we could think of the Eye of Providence Symbol (which appears in the USA dollar bill). It represents the eye of God, the singular divine power that has created the entire universe. The eye is most times enclosed in a triangle. At times, the Eye is also depicted as surrounded by clouds or bursts of light. Both of these images are representative of holiness and divine glory and so, here too, the symbol signifies that the Almighty is keeping a watchful eye on His creation.

The Eye of Providence Symbol.

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⇒Section II. Murals: University of Toronto: 🇨🇦

The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College. It comprises twelve colleges, each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs.
The mural in question is in an underpass that runs from Hart House Circle under Queen’s Park Crescent West to Wellesley Street. Resa came across this mural as she walked under Queen’s Park Crescent. She went by Hart House and exited using the King’s Park Circle. In the slide show below you can see some photographs of the location and buildings. The mural comes soon after!. 
About Resa Mc Conaghy:
Resa is a canadian artist, costume designer and author. 
She hosts two blogs: Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns.
You can find her version of this post here. Furthermore, Resa has written a book, “Nine Black Lives, available on Amazon. Find Resa on Twitter, too!.
(Disclaimer: All murals photographs and photographs from University of Toronto were taken by Resa and featured on her blog Graffiti Lux and Murals. © Resa McConaghy. 2017). Please check out Resa´s post regarding this collaboration here.
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⇒Damarchus / Lycanthropeis or Werewolf Man-Wolf:

This graffiti could be linked to the Werewolf Man-wolf, or Lycanthropeis. Meaning, a mythological human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction.
A few references to men changing into wolves are found in Ancient Greek literature and mythology.
For instance, Herodotus, wrote that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia, were all transformed into wolves once every year for several days, and then changed back to their human shape. 
Furthermore, we have the story of Damarchus. He was a victorious Olympic boxer from Parrhasia (Arcadia) who is said to have changed his shape into that of a wolf at the festival of Lycaea, only to become a man again after ten years. The festival of Lycaea involved human sacrifice to Zeus. A young boy was killed and then consumed by one of the participants, in this case by Damarchus, and as a result Zeus would transform the cannibal into a wolf.
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On the Left: A man wearing a wolf-skin. Attic red-figure vase, c. 460 BC. On the Right: Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf, engraving by Hendrik Goltzius. 16th century.

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⇒The Woman With an Extra Hand:

Following the hindu mythology pattern, according to which goddesses have many hands, we could conclude that having more than two hands is a mark of Divinity. Humans have two arms, so someone with multiple becomes special and out of the league. More hands at times also represents more strength.The multiplicity of hands also emphasizes the power and ability to perform several acts at the same time. 

As to number three, it represents the Holy Trinity. From a philosophical perspective, number  three is symbolic of the reconciliation of opposites, as with Hegel‘s dialectic: “thesis + antithesis = synthesis”.
Besides, it is both a lunar and a solar number.
The moon has three major phases – the two crescents and the full moon, while the sun has three primary points in its existence: the low winter solstice; the high summer solstice, and the two equinoxes of March and September.

⇒The Kholkikos Drakon or Colchian Dragon:

The Kholkikos Drakon or (Colchian Dragon) was the ever awake serpent that guarded the Golden Fleece in a grove sacred to Ares in Kolkhis. When the Argonauts came to aquire the Fleece, they had to get past it. There are two theories as towards how they past the Drakon, either Medea put the monster to sleep so Jason could grab the fleece while it slumbered or Jason slew it. There is also a belief that the monster swallowed Jason and then regurgitated him thanks to the power of Medea, so that Jason could then slay the beast. Different cultural traditions have portrayed dragons with reptilian or serpentine traits so that it may seem to resemble cobras, crocodiles or lizards. The word ‘dragon’ traces its origin in the Greek word ‘drakon’ that means a huge serpent or a giant sea fish.
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⇒Apollo (AKA previously Helios) and his Chariot:

Before Artemis became goddess of the moon, the Titaness Selene owned the Moon chariot, which she drove across the sky at night. Soon after, Artemis was the legatee of the carriage. In the same way, Apollo received the Chariot of the Sun, once Helios became identified with him.
Helios (Apollo), the Sun god, drives his chariot across the sky each day while Selene (Artemis) is also said to drive across the heavens. And, while the sun chariot has four horses, Selene´s (Artemis´) usually has two, described as “snow-white” by Ovid. 

As to the horse symbolism, it is often known as a solar symbol. Sometimes, horses are related to the sun, moon, and water. It acts as the mediator between Earth and Heaven. Horse symbolizes power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength, and freedom.

The woman looking at Apollo (former Helios) could be his twin sister, Artemis (Former Selene). Artemis was the Goddess of Hunting and of  Goddess of the Moon. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Both Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as Lunar Goddesses, although only Selene was considered a personification of the moon itself.

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►Greek Mythology:

“The Labyrinth of Crete, Theseus and The Minotaur”:


"Theseus and Ariadne at the Entrance of the Labyrinth" by Richard Westall (1810).-

“Theseus and Ariadne at the Entrance of the Labyrinth” by Richard Westall.-



PASFAE1Minos was the king of Crete and Pasipahe´s husband. As we already know, Pasiphae was the Mother of the Minotaur.

After Pasiphae become impregnated by a white bull, she then gave birth to an hybrid child, the bull-headed Minotaur.

Angered with his wife, Minos imprisoned the minotaur in the labyrinth of Crete in Knossos.

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.

My blogger friend María, from The Tropical Flowering Zone held in one of her comments in my previous post that “the Minotaur was spawned from the liaison of a woman and a bull, and symbolizes this ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ (meeting of opposites) of feminine and masculine, creature and human, rational and irrational, spiritual and instinctual, deity and demon, good and evil”…  As to Pasipahe´s pregnancy she believes it could be understood as a “symbol of a mother’s unconditional love, as well as her ability to conceive entrains a assumption and materialization of Poseidon’s punishment”.

Doda, from My space in the Inmense Universe, said that  “it is unfair to pay the price for faults we have never committed”. By highlighting then that: “Pasiphae, was the expiatory victim for Minos’ inconsistency and hybris”

min2In the ancient Greek language, the word Labyrinth means “the house of lavrys.” The lavrys is the double-edged axe – one of the basic sacred symbols of the Minoan religion. Usually interpreted as an astro-solar symbol, the lavrys is etched on many sculptured stones in Minoan palaces and other buildings, as well as on vases, pots, and various other works.

There are clear and straight connections between Minoan Crete and Greece. In this sense, my blogger friend, Aisha from Aisha´s Oasis has highlighted in one of her latest comments that Agamemnon’s father, Atreus (Greek), got married Princess Aerope, who was the daughter of King Catreus of Crete. Being therefore Aerope the mother of Agamemnon and his twin brother Menelaus (the famous husband of Helen).

Aisha also found an analogy worth noting. Which applies to the two respective myths, as Atreus also came into the possession of a lamb with a golden fleece. He had promised to sacrifice it to Artemis, but reneged on his vow and kept the lamb (or its fleece) hidden away. Minos, by his part, owned a white bull, which was supposed to be sacrificed to Apollo, he also reneged on his words and keep it to himself in the gardens of the Palace of Knossos.

Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete, had several children before the Minotaur. The eldest of these, Androgeus  set sail for Athens to take part in the Pan-Athenian games. Being strong, he did very well, winning some events outright. He soon became a crowd favorite, much to the resentment of the Pallantides, and they assassinated him, incurring the wrath of Minos.

When King Minos heard of what befell his son, he ordered the Cretan fleet to set sail for Athens. Minos asked Aegeus for his son’s assassins, and if they were to be handed to him, the town would be spared. However, not knowing who the assassins were, King Aegeus surrendered the whole town to Minos’ mercy. His retribution was that, at the end of every Great Year  (seven solar years), the seven most courageous youths and the seven most beautiful maidens were to board a boat and be sent as tribute to Crete, never to be seen again.

In another version, Minos had waged war with the Athenians and was successful. He then demanded that, at nine-year intervals, seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls were to be sent to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, who was also Pasiphae´s son and lived in the Labyrinth built by Daedalus

On the third occasion, Theseus,  the son of the King of Athens. volunteered to slay the Minotaur.

But in that occasion he also  fell in love with Minos’ daughter Ariadne, who would on no account let her beloved become food for the Minotaur.

theseus_minos1Daedalus’ aid was requested once more, and he gave Ariadne a clue or ball of strong thread. Theseus, following Daedalus’ advice, tied one end of the string to the Labyrinth entrance, and walked through the maze unwinding it until he found the Minotaur. Once he had killed the monster, he followed the thread back out.

Theseus managed to escape with all of the young Athenians and Ariadne as well as her younger sister Phaedra. Then he and the rest of the crew fell asleep on the beach.

Goddess Athena woke up Theseus and told him to leave early that morning, leaving Ariadne and Phaedra on the beach.

Stricken with distress, in hre trip back home, Theseus forgot to put up the white sails instead of the black ones, so the king assumed Theseus had failed and committed suicide.In some versions throwing himself off a cliff and into the sea, thus causing this body of water to be named the Aegean.

Theseus then became King of Athens.  His “mistake” when he sailed home implied tha the  became King as a result of it.

So, as Aisha has commented: “that was an ironic twist at the end… And one wonders if it was really a mistake”.

In the meanwhile, Dionysus later saw Ariadne  of Crete, crying out for Theseus and took pity on her and decided to marry her.

During Minos’ reigning years, Daedalus, from Athens , took up residence in Knossos, after he was exiled to Crete for committing a crime in his own country. In Crete he eventually became the official architect and sculptor for Minos. In Knossos he built the Palace, the Labyrinth, the wooden likeness of a cow for Pasiphae, and even as said before, helped Ariadne and Theseus kill the horrible Minotaur.

However, when Minos became disillusioned with Deadalus because he had betrayed him, he jailed him together with his son in the labyrinth.

Daedalus wanted to scape, so made a pair of wings for himself and Icarus and they flew away.

The wings were made of feathers held together with wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, as it would melt his wings, and not too close to the sea, as it would dampen them and make it hard to fly. 

They successfully flew from Crete, but Icarus grew exhilarated by the thrill of flying and began getting careless. Flying too close to the sun, the wax holding together his wings melted from the heat and he fell to his death, drowning in the sea. The Icarian Sea, where he fell, was named after him. 

You can check out more on this last topic in this post: Icarus´Fall: “The Myth. Symbolism and Interpretation”.-



"Les sept athéniennes livrées au Minotaure" par Jean-Baptiste Peytavin.-

“Les sept athéniennes livrées au Minotaure” par Jean-Baptiste Peytavin.-

"Athenians being Delivered to the Minotaur in the Cretan Laby" by Gustave Moreau.-

“Athenians being Delivered to the Minotaur in the Cretan Laby” by Gustave Moreau.-

"Ariadne and Theseus" by Jean-Baptiste Regnault.-

“Ariadne and Theseus” by Jean-Baptiste Regnault.-

" Ariadne in Naxos, from the Story of Theseus" by Master of the Campana Cassoni.-

” Ariadne in Naxos, from the Story of Theseus” by Master of the Campana Cassoni.-



►Literary and Philosophical Notes:

minotaur•The Minotaur, appears briefly in Dante´s “Divine Comedy”, Inferno, (Canto XII). 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 seems to represent the entire zone of Violence, and serves a similar role as gatekeeper for the entire seventh Circle.

•I suggest you to check out this post The Labyrinth of The Soul at E-Tinkerbel´s blog. There, Stefy relates the classic elements of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur´s myth to James Joyce´ book “Ulysses” . Worth reading.

•If you want to read a beautiful brief story about the labyrinth and the Minotaur, check out: “The House of Asterion” / “La Casa de Asterión” (English/Spanish) by argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.-



"Dante´s  Hell XII", by William Blake.-

“Dante´s Hell XII”, by William Blake.-



Danke schön: Thanks to Aisha, María and Doda for their collaboration and notes on this post. Thanks also to Stefy for posting such an interesting article on the labyrint and Joyce’s “Ulysses”.

 Visit their blogs, they are Brilliant!.  Cheers, Aquileana 😛

►Updates: Mario Cornejo Cuevas has written a remarkable post, inspired by this one. Its title is “Socrates y el Minotauro” (“Socrates and the Minotaur”).

In his post, he analyzed Plato’s dialogue “Phaedo” (which main topics are Socrates´death and the Immortality of the Soul) linking it to the myth of the Minotaur and his further death by Theseus. I truly recommend it.

Rubén García suggested me to read this exceptional brief  story by Antonio Tabucchi: “Sueño de Dédalo, arquitecto y aviador” (“Dream of Daedalus, Architect and Aviator” ).  Worth reading.


Credit photo: Inesemjphotography. Thank you very much 😀



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