The Minotaur was a monster, half bull, half human, the offspring of Minos' wife Pasiphae. When the Minotaur was born Minos did not kill him, but had Daedalus, the great architect, construct the Labyrinth. Once inside the Labyrinth it was hoped that the Minotaur would be forever confused and confined.

To sweeten the deal, the Minotaur was left young Athenians on a regular basis. Such was the situation until Theseus, future King of Athens, offered to be a victim. When Theseus announced that he was willing to enter the Labyrinth crowds shouted his name and he was loved in the city for his bravery. The citizens, however, had no idea that Theseus was really planning to kill the powerful Minotaur.

When the young victims arrived at the entrance to the Labyrinth they were given a final parade by the citizens. Minos’ daughter Ariadne was in the crowd and fell in love with Theseus immediately. Ariadne sent for the Labyrinth’s designer Daedalus and described to Theseus a way to escape the Labyrinth. Armed with this knowledge Theseus marched boldly into the darkness and, armed only with his fists, ultimately beat the monster to death.

“As an oak tree falls on the hillside Crushing all that lies beneath,

So Theseus. He presses out the life, The brute’s savage life, and now it lies dead.

Only the head sways slowly, but the horns are useless now.”

-- Edith Hamilton

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