Behold the Minotaur, half-man, half bull. The myth says
in the royal family of Crete were two brothers, Minos and
Rhadamanthys, and each wanted to rule the city. Minos was
sure that he was the favorite of the gods, and he would
be able to overthrow the forces of Rhadamanthys and drive
them from the city. To prove this, he made preparation for
a sacrifice to Poseidon, god of the waters, and prayed that
a bull for the sacrifice would emerge from the sea. A great
wave crashed on the shore, and the white foam became a white
bull, perfect for the sacrifice. But Minos admired the bull
so, that he decided to keep it, and sacrificed a lesser
one from his herd in its place.
Poseidon was angered by this subterfuge, and caused the
wife of Minos, Pasipha, to fall in love with the bull. Pasipha
conspired with Minos' great builder, Daedalus, to build
a mechanical cow that would catch the eye of the bull, while
Pasipha would hide inside it. From their union was born
the Minotaur, neither bull nor human, both bull and human.
The Minotaur grew at a frightening rate, and demanded human
sacrifice. Warriors tried to destroy the Minotaur and all
lost their lives in the attempt. Minos had Daedalus build
the Labyrinth, a huge maze, to contain the Minotaur, and
keep the citizens of Crete safe from its wrath. But Minos
arranged for young men and women to be led into the Labyrinth.
Through its chambers they would wander, unable to find their
way, until the Minotaur would discover them and devour them.
Minos arranged that every nine years, the cities around
him would have to give seven young men and seven young women
to satisfy the Minotaur.
One of those condemned to die was the young warrior, Theseus.
When he came off the ship in Crete, Ariadne, the daughter
of Minos, saw him and fell in love with him immediately.
Running to Daedalus, she asked for his help to save the
strong, young Theseus. Daedalus gave Ariadne a ball of string,
which Theseus would use to find his way back out of the
labyrinth. Using a sword and shield which had been given
him by the gods, Theseus slew the Minotaur, cut off its
head, and used the string to lead his companions back out
of the Labyrinth. When Ariadne saw Theseus, covered in the
Minotaur's blood and carrying its head, she ran to him.
Together, they fought their way out of Crete, and sailed
Minos: MEEN-aws (the second syllable rhymes with "boss",
Rhadamanthys: Rad- uh- MAN- thees (the "th" is
unvoiced, like in "Theseus" below)
Poseidon: po- SIGH-d'n
Pasipha: pa-SEEF-uh (If you want to be REALLY correct, it's
pa-SEEF-uh-eh, with the last syllable having the sound of
"e" in "bet")
Theseus: THEE-see-us (The "th" is unvoiced, like
in "with", not like "these"