King Minos of Crete refused to sacrifice a prime bull to the gods, angering Poseidon, the sea god. Angrily, Poseidon caused Minos’ wife Pasiphae to fall in love with the bull. Pasiphae gave birth to a half human, half bull mutant, called the Minotaur. Minos was ashamed of the bull and asked the great inventor, Daedalus, to design a place to hide it. Daedalus came up with plans for a great labyrinth which, once inside, no one would be able to find their way out again.
Minos’ son was killed during the war between Crete and Athens. He punished the people of Athens by making them send seven men and seven women to Crete to go into the Labyrinth every year. One man from Athens, named Theseus, resolved to stop the terror, and got on the boat that carried the Minotaur’s fourteen new meals. One of the women on the ship, Ariadne, fell madly in love with him and gave him a ball of yarn to help him find his way out of the Labyrinth.
As Theseus made his way through the labyrinth to the Minotaur, he unwound the string. He fought the Minotaur and was victorious in killing it. He followed his string out of the labyrinth, and brought Ariadne back to Athens with him, only to desert her on the island of Naxos.
Extra Notes: Theseus, Slayer of the Minotaur
Theseus was the son of Aegeus, the king of Athens. He was raised by his mother, Aethra, and his maternal grandfather, Pitheus, king of Troezen. When he was sixteen, he went to Athens. He had many great adventures on the way, later killing the Minotaur. He eventually became the king of Athens, and scholars believe he may have been a real person that ancient mythologists blew out of proportion. In the final hours of his life, Theseus went to the Island Skyros and was murdered by Lycomedes.