theseus killing the minotaur

the signs as ancient heroes
  • aries: aeneas - first true hero of rome, ancestor of romulus and remus, founded rome. book about him, the aenead
  • taurus: cadmus - founder of and first king of thebes
  • gemini: atlanta - virgin huntress, fought like a man, and refused to marry
  • cancer: diomedes - king of argos, one of the best fighters in the trojan war
  • leo: achilles - demigod, killed hector and the best fighter in the trojan war
  • virgo: bellerophon - the hero who slew the chimera
  • libra: perseus - great grandfather of heracles, son of zeus, beheaded medusa and saved andromeda from the sea monster cetus
  • scorpio: jason - leader of the argonauts, retrieved the Golden Fleece
  • sagittarius: heracles - most famous for performing the 12 labours, greatest of the greek heroes
  • capricorn: theseus - son of poseidon, king of athens, killed the minotaur
  • aquarius: odysseus - incredibly cunning, fought in the trojan war and sailed home, the odyssey was written about him
  • pisces: orpheus - legendary musician who attempted to retrieve his wife from the underworld
Dionysos and Ariadne

Have you ever noticed in many paintings when Dionysos comes to rescue or perhaps collect Ariadne on the island of Naxos she often looks just like this?

Now I don’t know about you, but this is not the romantic meeting that I wish to picture in my head.  Frankly she looks as if she could take or leave him, preferably leave him and ‘will you just get out of my face already.’  

This use to bug me a lot.  I wanted the Hollywood ideal of her falling into his arms in gratitude.  I wanted her to immediately see Dionysos as a beautiful, caring god who came to save her from, at very least, starving to death on the desolate island full of rocks.  The vast majority of artists especially those who painted before the 18th century do not see it that way.

Naturally I blamed the painters for not meeting my demands from 300 plus years ago.  I decided that despite everyone concerned being naked or nearly they were purposefully trying not to show any sexual intimacy or bent on painting Ariadne ungrateful and bitchy.   Perhaps they just wanted to make Dionysos all the more benevolent for putting up with her.  It all seemed screwy to me.  

That was all wrong.  It turned out, I was condemning before I fully considered all the facts. 

The story of Ariadne, at least in the incarnation pictured above, begins with her parents.  Her mother was Pasiphae, a daughter of Helios, who was the sun, and her father was Minos, the son of Zeus and Europa.  (Europa was seduced by Zeus while he was in a bull’s form.  An interesting detail considering how the life of her son Minos turned out)

This makes Ariadne both the granddaughter of the sun and the granddaughter of Zeus.  It also makes Dionysos (the son of Zeus) her Uncle. 

Now when Minos stepfather Asterios died, he decided he wanted to become king of Crete, but the people demanded a sign from the gods.  Minos pointed out he was the son of Zeus, but that was all too familiar to carry any real weight.  So Minos prayed to Poseidon, because they were on an island presumably, to send a “bull from the depths” of the sea.  If the sea god did so, Minos promised that he would sacrifice the bull to Poseidon.  

Poseidon granted Minos’ request and made a big spectacle of sending a great bull from the waves to the shore.  Upon seeing the magnificent animal, Minos decided to go back on his word and keep the bull, sacrificing another instead.  

Poseidon, nobody’s fool, got angry and punished Minos in two ways.  First he made the bull mad so that no one could approach him, and he also made Minos’ wife Pasiphae fall in love (lust) with the bull.  

It just so happened that the famous architect named Daaidalos was living then in Crete after being exiled from Athens.  Although he is more famous for building the Labyrinth and making wings for himself and his son Ikaros, Daidalos’ most remarkable accomplishment was what he now made for Pasiphae.  

For her, he made a wooden framework on wheels, with a cows skin stretched over it.  He constructed it in such a way that Pasiphae could get inside it, pedal it to the field where the mad bull was raving.  After that, she could position herself so when the bull mounted the artificial cow it would also have sex with Pasiphae inside.

Pasiphae became pregnant by the bull and gave birth to the Minotaur (or Asterion), who had a human body and a bull’s head.  Minos, who, of course, wanted to conceal the product of his wife’s adulterous bestiality, consulted oracles.  They told him to have Daidalos build an enormous maze, the Labyrinth, and to put the Minotaur in its center (from which no one could find the way out).

Eventually, the Minotaur’s father, the bull that had been sent by Poseidon, was captured by Herakles for his seventh labor and taken to Eurystheus.  In time, they released him, and he wandered around Greece and eventually came to Marathon near Athens.  At this time, King Aigeus of Athens was holding athletic games during the Panathenean festival, and Minos’s son Androgeos came to compete and won all the events.  Aigeus then sent Androgeos to fight the bull at Marathon, but the bull killed him.

So in other words, Androgeos, oldest brother of Ariadne, was murdered by the bull their mother Pasiphae had an affair with and whose was also the father of Asterion (the Minotaur), their half brother.  It’s a lot of ‘A’ names I know.

When Minos heard of the death of his son, Androgeous, he made all haste to sail to Athens for revenge.  Despite it being his fault for not sacrificing the deadly bull when he had the chance.  Once there, he invaded Athens, and the war dragged on for some time.  Minos prayed to his father Zeus and the great father god afflicted Athens with plague and famine because that’s what he does.

The Athenians then learned from an oracle that their only hope was to pay whatever tribute Minos would demand.  Mad with power, Minos ordered Athens to send to Crete, every year, seven young men and seven maidens to be eaten by the Minotaur.

Now let’s consider Ariadne’s point of view in all of this.  The vast majority of her life, up to this point, has been miserable.  All due to the actions of the gods, Poseidon, Zeus and the demigod that was her father, Minos.  She had to watch her mother degrade herself to become impregnated, had to watch her youngest sibling Asterion disgraced and isolated.  She was the only one who could handle being near him and so it was safe to assume she was a mother to him. She also knew the people of Athens were suffering terribly for no other reason then they made Minos’s shit list for the day and Zeus was down that year for mass destruction.    

She had to watch her baby brother, who she raised and loved, be forced to subsist on an annual feeding of human meat from innocent and pleading youths and maidens.  All of this because the gods lack not all for sheer creativity, maliciousness, and overreactions.

From there most know the story.  When she saw Theseus, one of the tributes for the Minotaur, she saw a strong young man, strong enough for her purposes, at least. She wished to get out of Crete and leave the city with a sound wound if at all possible.  So she found a way to gave Theseus a ball of thread and explained to him how to escape the Labyrinth.  Only Ariadne knew how to navigate it entirely, even Daidalos, the architect, claimed he would be unable to find the way out.

Theseus succeeded, killing the Minotaur and putting holes into Minos’s entire fleet of ships.  He saved everyone about to be sacrificed and sailed away with Ariadne in the night.  She was finally free!  Free from that horrid castle where she had to live, free of her father’s tyrannical rule.  She mourned for her Minotaur brother but she knew his entire existence was pain, and it was better this way.  

Then Theseus started romancing her, talking of the babies they would have together and a life for her in another castle that he would set up.  It would be a nice place, a safe place, full of servants to care for her and make her comfortable.  Ariadne looked at him and knew that he represented yet another prison for her, the prison of domesticity and that just wasn’t going to fly, no matter how sound his intent.

There are various accounts of what happened next.  I like to believe that, after Theseus’s grand proposal, she said not a word.  Instead she jumped overboard, straight into the sea with a splash.  Leaving Theseus (who was not the villain people like to make him out to be) standing there open mouthed.  He could have turned the boat around to get her, but he didn’t.  The girl was clearly mad, so why bother. She had a lovely sister that he eventually did marry. 

Ariadne swam to the shore of Naxos and sat herself on a rock, letting the sun (who was her grandfather!) dry her.  After a bit, she began to feel sorry for herself.  Then, surprise, Aphrodite herself walked out of the sea (with or without the seashells), as she does.  She consoled Ariadne with the promise that she would have an immortal lover, instead of the mortal one she had lost. 

After the sea goddess had left, Ariadne took the time to consider her proposed eternal lover.  An immortal lover, undoubtedly, meant a god.  Ariadne saw no joy in the prospect, only dread.  The gods had never done anything for her. They only gave her pain in so many ways.  

By the time Dionysos showed up, fresh from his conquering of India, no simple feat, Ariadne was literally out of fucks to give.  ( Naxos was Dionysos’s favorite island. It was the same one that he had told the Tyrrhenian pirates to carry him to, when they treacherously attempted to sell him into slavery.)  Ariadne might have known who he was by lineage, but she had no idea to his personality or anything else about him.  All she knew was that he was a god. She knew he wouldn’t be as easy to evade as Theseus was.  When she looked at him, she just saw another type of prison where she would be eternally trapped.

I would like to believe, that after he had got over the surprise of her icy shoulder, Dionysos understood.  Whereas the majority of the other gods, major and minor, would have gotten angry at their good graces being rebuffed or meant with scorn, he simply got down to her level and talked to her.  A feat he could accomplish with ease as he was half human himself.  

He might have talked to her about Beroe, the goddess of a city, whom he wooed until Poseidon came in there and decided he wanted the goddess for himself.  He might have talked about Ampelos, that fatal love affair.  No matter what he said we know that he said one thing, for we know what kind of god Dionysos is.  

He promised her that when she was with him, she would always be free.  There would be no castle where she would be forced to stay.  She would never be placed somewhere to be kept safe.  It wasn’t his intent to make her comfortable but to challenge her and help her grow.  He promised to take her to Olympus to be his bride.  Then he was honest and told her that he was a needy god.  In fact, he lived in his own labyrinth of emotions and sensations. For that reason, he needed her, Ariadne, the mistress of the labyrinth, to be part of him and part of his world.

Ariadne looked at him and saw her little brother Asterion (Minotaur) in his eyes, she saw the pain he carried from a lifetime of strife.  There was also love in him, overflowing amounts of it.  It’s not only for her, but for the world and all living things, big and small.  She realized this is no ordinary god.  Dionysos is nothing like any of the others she had experienced before.  

In that moment she fell in love and in that way she goes from the picture above to what we see pictured below.


Minotaur and Labyrinth Coin from Gortyn, Crete

Silver stater struck in Gortyn circa 425-360 BC
Obverse: Minotaur in a kneeling-running stance to right, its head facing
Reverse: Labyrinth, in the form of a swastika, five pellets in a floral pattern at the center, four sunken squares in the corners

This fascinating coin depicts an image of one of the most famous of all mythological creatures, the Minotaur, which had the head of a bull and the body of a man. The myth surrounding this beast dates from the period of the Minoan civilization on Crete, long before the Greeks inhabited the island. The reasons for the destruction of the Minoan culture are not clear, but might have been the result of an earthquake or an invasion. When the Greeks discovered the complex remains of the palace of Knossos centuries later, the legend of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth were born. The Minotaur was said to have been imprisoned in the Labyrinth, designed by Daedalus for King Minos to hold it captive, and was fed with condemned criminals, maidens and young boys sent from Athens as tribute to the Cretan King. In the well-known mythical tale, the Minotaur was killed by Theseus, who had tied a ball of string, given to him by Ariadne, to the entrance to the Labyrinth upon entering so that he would be able to find his way back. When he discovered the Minotaur deep within the Labyrinth, a fierce struggle ensued before Theseus killed the monster with his sword. Although this coin appears from its style to be archaic in origin, with the Minotaur positioned in the familiar kneeling-running stance, it does in fact date from the classical period. This is usually attributed to the fact that Crete was more isolated than the city-states on the mainland and therefore developed more slowly. Crete also relied upon imported coins for the silver used to strike its coinage; the traces of the overstruck coin can be seen on the obverse of the above example.

totalelasticity  asked:

imagine solangelo just sitting one day and its dark outside and theyre just by the water and nico just turns to will and goes "hey, will, look, i know we've known each other only a small while but you may as well know im gay" and will nods, doesnt say anything, just nods, and nico knows its going to be okay (pt 1)

(cont.) and then suddenly will is all “yeah well i have something to say too” and nico gets a lil bit excited because what if but also a bit worried and then suddenly will takes off his shirt, and nico goes all red automatically because well here’s his crush right in front of him shirtless, but then he looks a bit closer but he looks closer and suddenly he knows, and will puts his shirt back on and says “i never go swimming because of those scars, i hate knowing that i used to have them” and nico just nods and smiles and scoots a tiny bit closer because he knows that will trusting him with the fact that hes trans means that will trusts him with anything (the end :D)

Oh my god yes this so much I love trans!Will so much

  • Hedge is his protector and finds him in the woods outside of Charleston SC after The Python attacked him at school
  • Similar to how Percy killed the Minotaur, who was originally defeated by Theseus, another son of Poseidon, The Python hunts for the children of it’s killer
  •  /parallels/
  • Hedge asks him what his name is
  • He’s quiet for a while before saying his name’s Will
  • Hedge knows that’s not what it said on his class list when he checked in on him by faking to be a sub a few months ago
  • he just rolls with it because he’s seen some weird shit in his day and he has other things to worry about like the giant snAKE
  • they get to camp and everyone loves him like look at this chubby little babu with a Southern accent has he not seen snow before omg he’s adorable 
  • Will almost cries when he’s claimed as Apollo’s son and later it doesn’t bother him that his dad doesn’t visit much because he knows he’s accepted and that’s enough
  • Will’s worried about what all the people at camp think of him but after telling his older brother Lee he gets so much support like
  • Athena cabin teaching him about the Stonewall riots and the trans emperor of Rome and how  their mom would be considered genderfluid by today’s standards because the values of wisdom and military strategy had no gender so Athena appeared as both in the old stories and they give him a bunch of books and resources translated into ancient greek
  •    his siblings helping him bind safely and discussing surgery options with him and Chiron
  •  Someone in Cabin 10 sews him a really good binder and they give him haircuts and help him with donating a bunch of his old clothes around camp and taking up donations for new ones.
  • Hermes cabin helps him get hormones (they ensure the pills are legit even if their methods are dubious)
  • Demeter campers and the Dionysus twins help grow fruits and veggies that balance out testosterone and estrogen levels
  • Will stays at camp year round most of the time even though he loves his mom to pieces, because he feels more at home here than South Carolina, where they still fly Confederate flags  for gods’ sake.
  • Will being trans and know he’s accepted and loved is so important

Minoan Religion and the Ancient Near East: A Connection?

Leonine demon/spirit servants present libations to Goddess, queen, or high priestess.  On a ring from Tiryns, 14th century B.C.


           The Mediterranean Sea connected many cultures to each other, all throughout Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Near East.  Ancient cultures traded not only goods and supplies with each other but also stories, ideas, and religious beliefs.  This is evident in some of the gods and goddesses who had different names or diffusions in various Mediterranean religions.  One of the most obscure ancient Mediterranean religions was that of the Minoans a civilization that was situated primarily on the island of Crete but also on other islands of the Aegean Sea, an embayment of the Mediterranean.  Over the years since its discovery, there has been some thought among scholars that the religion and culture of the Minoans (and possibly their successors the Mycenaeans) was heavily influenced by its Near Eastern neighbors.

Before I continue I must stress that the archaeological evidence from Minoan Crete and the other islands is limited and from what artifacts that were recovered not many complete ideas or stories are able to formed, let alone verified.  Most of the sources that I cite are from scholars with their own interpretations but have done their best to make a solid argument; however I will provide criticism to these arguments if need be.  Also, the Minoan civilization was a part of the Bronze Age an era of prehistory meaning that the Minoans lived in a time before recorded written history.  To clarify, the Minoans and some other ancient civilizations did have a language and writing system but it has little decipherment and is considered by historians to be proto-writing.  The main writing system of the Minoans has been dubbed Linear A and is believed that have been based off symbols and images like all other proto-writings.  Due to the littler deciphering of the Linear A script, most of the suggested names of the Minoan deities comes from both later etymological versions in Linear B of the Mycenaeans and the Greek language, and also earlier versions of Indo-European as some the deities worshiped in these cultures may be the deities from the Minoan culture just with different names. 

One of the most notable aspects of Minoan religion, based on archaeological evidence, is presence of multiple female figures whether mortal or goddesses.  When Sir Arthur Evans original unearth and discovered the ruins and artifacts of Minoan Crete he believed that the constant presence of these female figures was evidence that the Minoans worshiped a Great Goddess of nature who was accompanied by a male god who was either her son or consort; an idea he based on James Frazer’s The Golden Bough (1).  This Goddess, her name, who she is, and who the supposed male god that aided her is, are all subject to debate.  This debate is based on the aforementioned limited archaeological evidence.  We don’t exactly know who the women and men are in the pots, frescoes, coins, and rings that remain; but that does not mean we cannot try to find out who they are.

The Goddess, or whomever the prominent female figure truly is, was believed to be a vegetation, fertility, nature deity primarily linked with symbol of the sacred tree, although she had a host of other symbols such as pillars, axes, stones, snakes, bees, birds, poppy flowers which may symbolize her multiple roles (2).  Due to these multiple symbols is has been theorized by some scholars that instead of multiple different goddesses there was one supreme goddess with multiple faces or roles.  It would not be wrong to think that the primary goddess of the Minoans was linked with plants and fertility as many important goddess from the Near East were sovereigns over such roles.  Furthermore this has led to scholars believed that the Minoan Goddess may just be the Minoan version of an important Near Eastern goddess.  One issue regarding all this is the Goddess’ name.

Debates rage on as to what the Goddess’ name is and also the name of the male god who is with her.  Robert Graves and Karl Kerényi put forth an interesting idea that the Goddess could really be Ariadne, a woman most notably from the myth of Theseus fighting the Minotaur.  Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphaë of Crete and the granddaughter of the sun god Helios.  Minos, Ariadne’s father, took youths from Greece as sacrifices to appease the Minotaur who lived in the labyrinth under the palace at Knossos. When Theseus went to kill the Minotaur, Ariadne, who had fallen in love with Theseus, tied a thread to the hero so that he could find his way through the labyrinth.  Theseus succeeded in killing the Minotaur (who was actually Ariadne’s half-brother) however he left her behind in Crete unable to reciprocate her love and eventually became king of Athens.

 Kerényi bases part of his idea that Ariadne is the Minoan Goddess from an inscription found on a small clay tablet at Knossos. The inscription reads “da-pu-ri-to-jo / po-ti-ni-ja me-ri” which transliterates to “To the mistress of the labyrinth honey” (po-ti-ni-ja is a Mycenean Greek word that means “mistress” or “lady” and gave way to the more recent Greek potnia); and “mistress of the labyrinth” is title given to Ariadne based on her aid to Theseus (3).  Kerényi links the “mistress of the labyrinth” to a winding and unwinding ecstatic dance, often depicted by female figures on some Minoan rings and also believes that Ariadne’s name is a Cretan-Greek form for “Arihagne” meaning “utterly pure” with the adjective adnon from hagnon (4).  Ariadne was also associated with the god Dionysus who may have been the Minoan God who aided the Goddess as in the original Greek myth after Theseus leaves Crete Ariadne is eventually taken by Dionysus to Olympus.  In Argos, a part of mainland Greece, there was a tomb for Ariadne which gradually became an altar to her in which the people made her a subterranean (or chthonic, which is considered to be an aspect of the Minoan Goddess) deity; however, the site was also a sanctuary of Dionysus Kresios, or Dionysus the Cretan (5).

 The ancient writer Pausanias in his multi-volume work Description of Greece believed that this was where Dionysus buried Ariadne before her ascension to godhood thus linking Dionysus to the Goddess even more (6).  Most of this proposed evidence puts forth that Ariadne, whether she truly existed or not, was either deified as the Minoan Goddess or in the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur was a humanized incarnation of the Goddess.  In a much earlier post, Lady Xoc already mentioned as to how the Sumerian queen Kubaba may have been deified as the Hurrian goddess Hannahannah who was also closely identified with the goddess Hebat and how she eventually became the Phrygian god Kybele then the Greco-Roman goddess Cybele.  It was also said that Queen Kubaba was also given sovereign over the world by the god Marduk whom Kubaba ordered offerings to.  Kubaba’s devotion and relationship to Marduk is similar (but not necessarily connected) to Ariadne’s devotion and relationship to Dionysus.  However, Ariadne and Dionysus’ relationship mostly resembles the relationship between that of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar and her consort Dumuzi/Tammuz.

This is where the possible connection to the ancient Near East comes in.  The relationship between Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz is one of the most well-known and documented myths of the Near East.  Inanna/Ishtar is the goddess of love, war, sex, and fertility and her lover Dumuzi/Tammuz won her over after a contest.  Their sexual union has been called hieros gamos, which is Greek for “sacred marriage”, and is said to cause the vegetation and fertility of the world to grow. Eventually Sumer would adopt a symbolic version of the union between their kings and the high priestesses of Inanna.

The romantic and sexual relationship between Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz is strikingly similar to Dionysus, a very sexual god of ecstasy, wine, decadence, grape harvest, and fertility and Ariadne, if we are to assume that she is the Minoan Goddess associated with many different roles. However, as pointed out earlier, Ariadne is not the exact name given to the Minoan Goddess.  Based on Linear A tablets and votive stone libations, along with phonetics of Linear B, it was been suggested by some scholars that the Minoan Goddess’ name is A-sa-sa-ra or Asasara or Asasarame (7).  This name sounds similar to multiple Near Eastern goddesses including Asherah (Athirat), Ishtar, and Astarte/Ashtoreth.  I will continue on these possible connections but I have not completely ruled out Ariadne and will return to her.

 It’s not impossible for the Minoan Goddess and the Minoan God to be Cretan versions of goddesses and gods from the Near East. For example, it’s been highly speculated that Aphrodite and her lover Adonis are Greek versions of Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz (8).  Obviously, as Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz diffused through the Near East and the Mediterranean, aspects of their worship and duties changed.  Given the aforementioned name Asasara, it’s possible for the Goddess to have been the Cretan versions of either the goddess Asherah or the goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth.  Astarte/Ashtoreth is believed to be the immediate Canaanite version of Inanna/Ishtar (9). Asherah, also called Athirat, appears to be her own goddess.

What may connected the Minoan Goddess to either Asherah or Inanna/Ishtar (the later through Astarte/Ashtoreth) is the sacred tree symbol.  The sacred tree was one of the symbols of the Minoan Goddess which possibly links her to nature and fertility.  Bother Asherah and Inanna/Ishtar had some reverence to trees in their cults and myths.  What also connected them to her was their titles as Queen/Lady/Mistress of Heaven/the Gods, of which Nanno Mariantos believes the Minoan Goddess had this title believing the word po-ti-ni-ja to be the Mycenaean equivalent of the Ugarit rbt which meant “lady” (10).  The original Ugarit rbt pt meant “lady of heaven” and the like and was used by multiple powerful goddesses across the Near East (11).

Back to the tree, the first tree connection comes from the myth of Inanna and the huluppu tree.  In the myth the huluppu tree is planted on the banks of the Euphrates River and Inanna cares for it while it is attacked by the elements and various creatures take refuge in it.  Inanna laments to her brother Utu but he does nothing, she then turns to Gilgamesh who helps her by driving away the creatures and cutting the tree down and both he and Inanna make gifts for each other from it.  As for Asherah, there is no real myth or story that associates her with a tree, rather it is shown in her cult among the Canaanites and Israelites.  The asherim, or sacred poles, were symbols of Asherah made from trees and were place on both the lofty hills under trees and next to altars in the temple where she was worshiped alongside Yahweh (12).

Returning to Ariadne, she too was associated with a tree. One version of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur ends with Ariadne committing suicide by hanging before Dionysus comes for her.  Furthermore, in ancient Attica (Central Greece) the cult of Dionysus tied masks, representing young girls who committed suicide, to a pine tree in a vineyard and eventually dolls were added to represent Ariadne (13).  Both the tree and the aforementioned tomb-altar make Ariadne similar to the Minoan Goddess who was believed to reign over life and death. Another Ariadne tomb was at Amathus in Cyprus in the grove of Aphrodite-Ariadne (14).  And it is here that I believe there is further connection between Ariadne, the Minoan Goddess, and goddesses of the Near East.  

Given the name Aphrodite-Ariadne, it is most likely that at Cyprus that a goddess was worshiped who was a combination of these two.  Cyprus itself is the “birthplace” of Aphrodite and Adonis, whom most likely are Greek versions of Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz.  The first wave of settlers of Cyprus, confirmed by both the ancient historian Herodotus and modern historians and archaeologists, were Mycenaean Greeks around 1400 B.C. (15th century B.C.) from Argos the same place where the altar-tomb of the chthonic Ariadne associated with Dionysus Kresios was located.  In the 8th century B.C., Cyprus was colonized by the Phoenicians (Canaanites) and sometime after was conquered by the Assyrians.  And it was the Phoenicians who brought the goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth to Cyprus.  

Aphrodite and Adonis link back to Inanna/Ishtar and Dumuzi/Tammuz through the deities Baal and Astarte both of whom were worshiped by the ancient Cypriots after the Phoenicians brought them over, especially at Amathus; the location of both the syncretized Aphrodite-Ariadne and other Ariadne tomb (15).  It is most likely that the Greek Aphrodite came about through the Levantine Astarte who is a diffusion of the Mesopotamian Inanna/Ishtar.  There is some crossover of events and periodization between the Minoans and Mycenaeans in the years.  The Minoans themselves are believed to arrive on Crete from either mainland Greece or the Levant or Anatolia (modern day Israel, Lebanon, and Syria and Turkey respectively).  The former would go along with the original Ariadne tomb in Argos with the eventual Ariadne tomb in Cyprus theory, whereas the latter agrees that a Near Eastern goddess was imported to the Mediterranean.  

Knossos, the center of Minoan Cretan culture, was in power until roughly 1200 B.C. (13th century), about thirty years after Theseus supposedly killed the Minotaur and met Ariadne and the beginning of the Iron Age in the Mediterranean and Near East.  The myth and history of Ariadne with Theseus was written down physically by the Roman Plutarch in the 1st century A.D. with his work Lives, alternatively titled Parallel Lives or Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans.  The original legend was passed down orally for centuries and most of Plutarch’s sources for it are from the fourth and fifth centuries.  It’s possible that Ariadne’s story happened in the 13th century and then continued as oral tradition until Plutarch.  However, given the aforementioned periodization and dates it is safe to say that Ariadne, despite her connections to Near Eastern goddesses and the Minoan Goddess, was Mycenaean not Minoan.

What’s even more interesting is that the many statues and figurines of women found at Crete- whether they be goddesses, priestesses, or queens- are not as old as the Minoan period and are actually from the Mycenaean period (16).  Most archaeologists and historians of religion do believe that Aphrodite was imported from the Near East to Greece.  Pausanias agreed with this as well but claimed that Aphrodite originated among the Assyrians, then came to Cyprus, then to the Phoenicians who brought her to Cythera (17).  Some do believe she was connected to the Minoan Goddess as well.  It is most likely true that the Minoan Goddess was an import of a Near Eastern goddess, however, as to which goddess specifically and her connection to Ariadne both become mystified due to the dates of the Phoenician colonization of Cyprus, although it is possible that Astarte was brought to Cyprus before the official colonization.

Minoan Crete was a trade center and many other cultures went there to trade.  Minoan artwork, or artwork inspired by it, has been seen in mainland Greece, Egypt, and the Levant.  The Mycenaeans took over much of what the Minoans originally owned and possibly including their religion.  Cathy Gere claims that based on remaining Minoan archaeology, a cult involving Dionysus swept across Greece in the 6th century B.C. that incorporated the worship of Aphrodite-Ariadne (18).  Furthermore, certain traditions and rituals that originally revolved around Ariadne eventually passed to Dionysus, her consort, when his cult swept through 6th century Greece (19).            

So what does all this mean?  What we can definitely conclude is that the Minoan Goddess and God do definitely originate in the Near East.  Dionysus is the Minoan God and is definitely the successor of Adonis and Dumuzi/Tammuz (Baal is similar in some ways but not many).  The Goddess is possibly the successor of Aphrodite through Astarte/Ashtoreth who is the successor of Inanna/Ishtar.  Ariadne maybe a humanized version of the Goddess brought about through oral tradition and when she was “re-united” with Dionysus much of the cultic focus went to him. The Minoans are very difficult to study and I thank you all for reading this.  If you have questions please ask them through our ask box as this post is just too long to respond to reblogs.                        

1.      Lucy Goodison and Christine Morris, “Beyond the Great Mother: The Sacred World of the Minoan,” in Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and Evidence, ed. Lucy Goodison and Christine Morris (London: British Museum Press, 1998), 113.

2.      Pamela Berger, The Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 15.      

3.      Karl Kerényi, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, trans. Ralph Manheim (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 89-90.

4.      Ibid., 99.

5.      Ibid., 103.

6.      Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book II, chapter 23, section 8.

7.      Nanno Marinatos, Minoan Kingship and the Solar Goddess: A Near Eastern Koine (Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 165.      

8.      Miroslav Marcovich, “From Ishtar to Aphrodite,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 30, no. 2 (1996): 45-46, (Found via JSTOR).  

9.      Eleanor Amico Wilson, Women of Canaan: The Status of Women at Ugarit (Whitewater: Heartwell Publications, 2013), 188-189.

10.  Nanno Marinato, Minoan Kingship, 166.

11.  Izak Cornelius, The Many Faces of the Goddess: The Iconography of the Syro-Palestinian Goddesses Anat, Astarte, Qedeshet, and Asherah c. 1500-1000 BCE, 2nd ed.  (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 80-83.

12.  Tikva Frymer-Kensky, In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth (New York: Free Press, 1992), 153-155.

13.  Robert Graves, The Greek Myths (New York: Penguin Books Inc., 1957), 263.

14.  Plutarch, Theseus, part 20.

15.  James Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Ware: Wordsworth Editions, 1993), 329.

16.  For more details see Kenneth Lapatin, Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002).

17.  Pausanias, Greece, Book I, chapter 14, section 7.

18.  Cathy Gere, Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 46.

19.  Ibid., 85.



↳ [2/2] Heroes - T H E S E U S

According to Greek mythology, Theseus was the son of either King Aegeus or Poseidon. His most famous exploit was against the Minotaur of King Minos of Crete. Theseus insisted on being one of the seven youths and seven maidens of Athens to be sacrificed to the monster as an annual tribute. He promised King Aegeus that if he was successful in killing the Minotaur he would on his return voyage replace his ship’s black sails with white ones.

Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, fell in love with Theseus and gave him a magic ball of thread to be dropped at the entrance of the labyrinth; it led Theseus to the Minotaur, which he killed, and he then followed the unwound thread back to the entrance. He left Crete with Ariadne but abandoned her at Naxos.

When Theseus reached home he forgot to raise white sails. Aegeus saw black sails, and, thinking his son dead, the grief-stricken father threw himself into the sea, thereafter called the Aegean. Although Theseus is generally thought of as legendary, the Athenians believed he had been one of their early kings.

anonymous asked:

what's so great about Midsummer?

Are you guys rant-baiting me? Seriously, is that what’s happening here? Because honestly you cannot ask me a question like that and not expect a rant, especially when I started drinking like two hours ago. 

So in much the same way that Romeo and Juliet is not just about a couple of dumbass teenagers topping themselves, Midsummer is not just about a bunch of fairies fucking around in the woods. (Although there is a lot of that, and that’s partly why it’s so glorious.)

Midsummer starts in Athens a few days before the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta–and yes, this is the same Theseus that killed the Minotaur, hump-and-dumped Ariande, and then caused Aegeus to commit suicide because he FORGOT TO PUT THE RIGHT FUCKING SAILS UP. But that’s not importnat, what is important is that right from the start we have Shakespeare + Greek mythology which obviously = the most awesome literary sandwich EVER. But this whole Theseus/Hippolyta thing is thematically important too, because Hippolyta was Queen of the Amazons, and Shakespeare is giving us a hint that this play is going to be about female empowerment and the collision of nature and civilization right from the start. That’s called forefuckingshadowing, ladies and groundlings.

Then we have the lovers: Helena, who wants to marry Demetrius, who wants to marry Hermia, who wants to marry Lysander. Inconvenient, but hey, we all went to high school and we know how this shit goes. It’s made more complicated by the fact that Hermia’s father, Egeus, who is an absolute asshat, refuses to let his daughter marry Lysander without ever offering a real reason except that he has some kind of weird paternal hard-on for Demetrius. The upshot of this nutfuckery is that Hermia has the options of marrying Demetrius against her wishes or becoming a nun, which are pretty fucking shitty options. So what does she do? She says fucking NEITHER because she’s not an idiot and plots to run away with Lysander. 

MEANWHILE IN THE WOODS: Titania and Oberon (the king and queen of the fairies, respectively) are having a lovers’ tiff of epic proportions–like, their discord is so powerful it’s literally fucking up the weather and the seasons–over a changeling boy Titania is rearing on behalf on a friend who died. Oberon wants the boy for his entourage, or so he says, but it’s really kind of obvious that he’s just jealous of how much attention Titania is lavishing on it. Titania justifiably tells him to grow the fuck up, get over it, and come party with her, but he decides he’d rather pout about it and they go their separate ways. 

Back to the lovers: Hermia and Lysander set off through the forest, pursued (unbeknownst to them) by Demetrius, who wants to stop them eloping, and Helena, who just wants to bang Demetrius. And this is where shit gets really dark. People like to pretend this play is light and fluffy like cotton fucking candy, but you’d better back the fuck up with that assumption, because man, are you wrong. Demetrius gets fed up with Helena (who is in the middle of telling him to beat her like dog, can you say desperate), and literally threatens to rape her if she doesn’t stop following him. NOT SO FLUFFY NOW, IS IT? At any rate, all of the lovers eventually get tired and decide to lie down and sleep, because that’s what you do when you’re lost in an unfamiliar enchanted forest in the middle of the fucking night. I don’t know. 

Okay, so at the same time that all of this shit is going on (Did I not tell you this play was not fucking simple?) there are also a bunch of bumbling actors rehearsing in the forest for a scene they want to play at Theseus’ wedding. Among them is a guy called Nick Bottom, who is the biggest fucking blowhard of all time. But we’ll come back to him. 

Oberon and his little minion Puck hatch a plan–in a series of mind-blowingly beautiful monologues full of mermaids and rainbows and shit–to find a magical flower, which when you squeeze it into someone’s eyes while they’re asleep, causes them to fall in love with whatever they first see when they wake up. The Fairy King FUCKING ROOFIES HIS SLEEPING WIFE (say it with me: dark dark dark), and then takes pity on Helena and instructs Puck to love-blast Demetrius so he’ll fall in love with her when he wakes up, but Puck gives the potion to THE WRONG FUCKING DUDE (i.e., Lysander). You can see where this is going. Anyway, Puck doesn’t realize this, but he does stumble upon the players and is inspired to bewitch Nick Bottom so he comes out for his entrance with the head of a fucking donkey like a fucking shitty Animorph. Naturally this is the first thing Titania sees when she wakes up. Chaos ensues. The lovers have a massive, hilarious fight in Three-One while the regal Fairy Queen is busy not-so-regally seducing a donkey, and in the meantime Puck and Oberon are scrambling around like mad trying to fix what they fucked up. It’s fucking ludicrous but it is also gut-bustingly funny. 

But why is this play important? Aside from the frankly underrated quality that it’s wildly entertaining and has been wildly entertaining for like 500 years (no small fucking feat), it’s actually a really empowering play for women. It may not sound like it from the summary I just gave you, but bear with me. The women in this play are subversive as hell. They do whatever the fuck they want, regardless of what the men have to say about it. Hermia refuses to listen to her dad and the Duke, and just fucks off out of Athens to marry the man she loves. Titania basically tells Oberon to bite her when he tries to force her to give up the changeling. At the end of the play, Hippolyta tells Theseus to calm his fucking tits and let the lovers do what they want and he listens. And even Helena, who is possibly the most submissive female in the troupe, has some strong moments. She berates Lysander and Demetrius for mocking her, and resists the advances of the man whom she’s loved desperately since the start of the play because she doesn’t believe he’s sincere. That’s what is fucking up. 

Of course, you can argue that all of these women (Hippolyta excepted) are pretty heavily manipulated by Oberon. And that’s true. But that doesn’t change the fact that this play is a huge win for the female characters. At the end, they all have exactly what they want–except Titania, because she does lose the kid. But it’s not over–she tells Oberon that he has to explain how the events of the night all came about, and if you think she’s going to take it all quietly, I call BULLSHIT. (When I was in this and played Titania, we actually did a really interesting thing where at the end when she and Oberon are ‘making up’–read: making out–I actually pulled the flower out of his pocket and let him know he wasn’t fooling me. There was one hilarious night where we were like rolling around on the ground and Oberon kept smacking my hand out of his pants and I couldn’t figure out why until I finally realized I was grabbing the wrong flower, and that’s actually not a euphemism.) But the point is, fucking girl power. 

Anyway, there’s a lot more. Like I said, there’s a lot of stuff about the collision of nature and civilization. The lovers lose their minds in the woods, and Bottom become half wild animal. Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, is now the queen of Athens and is overruling the king. Shakespeare’s making some very interesting statements about the power of Man and men against Nature and women (note: interesting alignments). Sometimes it’s easy for that stuff to get lost in the hilarity of a dude with a fucking donkey head and fairy orgies and a guy dressed as a fucking talking wall, but it’s there. Midsummer is the best kind of comedy, because it’s deep at the same time that it’s funny as fuck. 

Also, did I mention? This play is fucking sexy. Oberon and Titania are about an inch away from writhing hate sex at all times, and the lovers aren’t much more restrained. If you want to do some steamy Shakespeare, this is a great place to start. (And if you want to have to rinse your eyeballs in bleach later tonight, there’s also a porno called A Midsummer Night’s Cream, wherein, believe it or not, you can actually see and hear the entire play performed by real life friggin’ porn stars. I shit you not.)

So that. That’s just a little taste of what’s so great about Midsummer. 

The Signs As Greek Myths
  • Aries: The myth of Danaides is the story of fifty women who committed a horrible act: guided by their father, they all killed their husbands on their wedding night! This great massacre was unbelievable, even for the bloody ancient Greek myths. It was a crime that both people and gods would punish. Indeed, the Danaides were punished for this after their death with a horrible and eternal torment.
  • Taurus: The story of Pygmalion and Galatea is quite known and popular till nowadays. Pygmalion, a famous sculptor, falls in love with his own creation and wishes to give this creation life. This simple and imaginary concept is actually the basis from a psychological understanding of male behaviour and wish. This nice myth is considered as the depiction of the masculine need to rule over a certain woman and to inanimate his ideas into a female living creature. The modern concept of Pygmalion is thought as a man who "shapes" an uncultivated woman into an educated creature.
  • Gemini: Theseus, the son of King Aegus, volunteered to come and kill the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love at first sight, and helped him by giving him a sword and a ball of thread, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth.
  • Cancer: The myth of Prometheus holds a special place in Greek mythology. This son of a Titan was regarded as a great benefactor of humankind, the bringer of fire and the original teacher of technology and useful arts to the mankind. The great love he had for humans would often bring Prometheus into a dangerous conflict with Zeus. In fact, it was Zeus who punished Prometheus into eternal torture for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to the people.
  • Leo: The myth of King Midas is a myth about the tragedy of avarice and narrates what happens when true happiness is not recognized. Midas wished that everything he touched would turn into gold. However, he had not thought that this wish was not actually a blessing, but a curse. The phrase “the Midas touch” comes from this myth and is used to say that somebody has a good fortune.
  • Virgo: The myth of Persephone, the sweet daughter of Greek goddess Demeter who was kidnapped by Hades and later became the Queen of the Underworld, is known all over the world. This is actually the myth of the ancient Greeks to explain the change of the seasons, the eternal cycle of nature's death and rebirth. Persephone is understood as a naïve little girl who flows between the protection of the mother and the love of her husband
  • Libra: The story of Aphrodite and Adonis. Aphrodite falls in love with a mortal. The mortal did not requit this love and Aphrodite tried her best to persuade him to love her, but he insisted that he would rather dedicate himself to hunting. He died one day while hunting. Aphrodite grew a flower out of his blood as a symbol of her lost love.
  • Scorpio: The story of Sisyphus. He cheated death, not once, but twice. As punishment he was made to roll a rock up to the top of a bottom only to have it roll back down afterwards, for he rest of eternity
  • Sagittarius: Arachne, her name meaning spider in Greek, was a beautiful woman that had a great talent in weaving. Everyone was amazed at her work and one day, Arachne boosted that she had a greater talent than goddess Athena herself. This was an offense towards the gods, which was a very serious and even deadly sin for the ancient Greeks. That is why goddess Athena transformed her into a spider to wave for all her life long.  
  • Capricorn: The story of Tantalus. Tantalus was highly esteemed by the gods and was invited to Mount Olympus to dine with the gods. He stole ambrosia, and was in turn made to stand in a lake, with a fruit tree above him. If he reached for the lake the water would recede, and if he reached for the fruit the tree would grow. He was made to starve for eternity.
  • Aquarius: The myth of Apollo and Daphne.This charming myth talks about the platonic love of god Apollo for the beautiful nymph Daphne. It is said that Daphne was the first love of Apollo but unfortunately the girl never responded to his love. She prayed to be turned into a tree, so that god could not seduce her. Indeed, she was turned into a laurel tree. Since then, Apollo didn't forget his lost love and made laurel his sacred plant. Note that Pythia, the priestess in the oracle of Delphi, was chewing leaves of laurel to communicate with Apollo and give her prophesies.
  • Pisces: The myth of Pandora dates back to the first centuries of humanity, just after the Titanomachy, the Great War between the Titans and the Olympians. It is the story of a woman who opened the box where all the evils of the world were kept inside and thus she released every mischief for humans.
The Signs in Hellenism
  • Aries: The golden ram, who saved some children from being killed
  • Taurus: The bull, stemming from Theseus and the Minotaur
  • Gemini: Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux in Latin) the twin brothers of Helen
  • Cancer: The second labor of Heracles, The Hydra, in which Hera sent a huge Crab to help the serpent defeat Heracles (which it failed to do)
  • Leo: The first labor of Heracles, The Nemean Lion
  • Virgo: The goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, explaining seasonal change
  • Libra: Dike, the goddess of justice, a minor goddess in the underworld
  • Scorpio: A giant scorpion sent by Gaia to kill Orion
  • Sagittarius: Chiron, a wise centaur who was trusted to teach the children who will one day be great heroes
  • Capricorn: Linked to the story of Zeus's birth, depicting a goat who raised Zeus to be mighty. As a reward, he placed her within the stars (with the tail of a fish for some reason)
  • Aquarius: Ganymede, the Trojan youth who was chosen to be the cupbearer of the gods
  • Pisces: Aphrodite and Eros, who took the forms of twin fish in order to escape Typhon, a horrible monster birthed by Gaia as an act of revenge for Zeus killing off her Giant children

Greek Mythology :

Ariadne (Greek Ἀριάδνη)  

According to an Athenian version of the legend, Athens was required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens every nine years to the Minotaur of Crete. The sacrificial party included Theseus, the son of King Aegeus, who volunteered to come and kill the Minotaur. Ariadne, the princess of Crete, fell in love at first sight, and risked her life giving him a sword and a ball of thread. 

Theseus successfully killed the beast and they escaped the island together, but he had no love for the princess, and abandoned her while she slept on the island of Naxos.