Ok, so you first heard this myth as a kid: the great King Minos (of Crete) gets a beautiful white bull from the god Poseidon. He’s supposed to sacrifice the bull, but decides he’d kind of like to keep it. And, unsurprisingly, it angers the god. Bad idea.
So the god makes Minos’ wife fall in love with the bull. That’s pretty rough. But, now, here’s where it gets weird. Really, really weird. (But, yes, you did hear this first in your elementary school class, and your parents were glad when you did well in Greek mythology.)
The wife decides she wants the bull. As in: wants to be with the bull. Bad enough to have an architect build a wooden cow for her to squeeze into…so she can have the bull. And she does. And her white bull love child? The Minotaur.
The Minotaur: half-man, half-bull. (The ladies are saying, ‘hey, isn’t that most men?’) He lived in the labyrinth of the famous Minoan palace of Knossos and ate Athenian children every nine years (another story). Until an Athenian, Theseus, came to slay the Minotaur.
I’m not sure what the moral of the story was supposed to be, but I can think of a few. The legend does leave out the later marital problems we assume must have occurred with the royal couple, after the coupling.
When not building crazy sex contraptions for the queen, the architect built Knossos for the king. I’ll give you a dispatch from the ruins of Knossos later this week.