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In Greek mythology, the Cretan Bull
Cretan Bull
(Greek: Κρὴς ταῦρος) was the bull Pasiphaë
Pasiphaë
fell in love with, giving birth to the Minotaur.

Contents

1 Mythology

1.1 Background 1.2 The Seventh Labour of Heracles 1.3 Capture by Theseus

2 Origin 3 In popular culture 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Mythology[edit] Background[edit] Minos
Minos
was King in Crete. In order to confirm his right to rule, rather than any of his brothers, he prayed Poseidon send him a snow white bull as a sign. Poseidon sent Minos
Minos
the bull, with the understanding that it would be sacrificed to the god. Deciding that Poseidon's bull was too fine a specimen to kill, Minos
Minos
sent it to his herds and substituted another, inferior bull for sacrifice. Enraged, Poseidon had Aphrodite cause Pasiphaë, wife of Minos, to fall in love with the bull. She subsequently gave birth to the half-man, half-bull, Minotaur. Poseidon passed on his rage to the bull, causing it lay waste the land.[1] After consulting the oracle at Delphi, Minos
Minos
had Daedalus
Daedalus
construct the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
to hold the Minotaur.[2] The Seventh Labour of Heracles[edit]

Heracles
Heracles
performing one of his labors as he forces the Cretan Bull
Cretan Bull
to the ground. The engraving was created by B. Picart
B. Picart
in 1731.

Heracles
Heracles
was sent to capture the bull by Eurystheus
Eurystheus
as his seventh task. He sailed to Crete, whereupon Minos
Minos
gave Heracles
Heracles
permission to take the bull away [3] as it had been wreaking havoc on Crete
Crete
by uprooting crops and leveling orchard walls. Heracles
Heracles
captured the bull, and then shipped it to Eurystheus
Eurystheus
in Tiryns. The bull later broke loose and wandered into Marathon, becoming known as the "Marathonian Bull".[3] Eurystheus
Eurystheus
then sent Heracles
Heracles
to bring back the man-eating Mares of Diomedes
Mares of Diomedes
(the next task). Capture by Theseus[edit] Androgeus, a son of Minos
Minos
and Pasiphaë, competed in the games held by Aegeus, King of Athens. He won all the games, so angering Aegeus
Aegeus
that he had the young man killed (some legends claim that he was sent to confront the bull itself). Devastated, Minos
Minos
went to war with Athens and won. As punishment, the Athenians had to send several youths every 9 years to be devoured by the Minotaur. Theseus
Theseus
set to try to capture the bull. On the way to Marathon, Theseus
Theseus
sought shelter from a storm in the shack owned by an old lady named Hecale. She swore to make a sacrifice to Zeus
Zeus
if Theseus
Theseus
was successful in capturing the bull. Theseus
Theseus
did capture the bull, but when he returned to Hecale's hut, she was dead. Theseus
Theseus
built a deme in her honour. He then dragged the bull to Athens
Athens
where he sacrificed it to Athena
Athena
and/or Apollo. Theseus
Theseus
then went to Crete
Crete
where he killed the Minotaur
Minotaur
with the help of Minos' daughter Ariadne. Origin[edit] According to Jeremy McInerney, the iconography of the bull permeates Minoan culture.[4] The cult of the bull was also prominent in southwestern Anatolia. Bernard Clive Dietrich notes that the most important animal in the Neolithic shrines at Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
was the bull. The bull was a chthonic animal associated with fertility and vegetation. It figured in cave cults connected with rites for the dead.[5] The palace at Knossos displays a number of murals depicting young men and women vaulting over a bull. While scholars are divided as to whether or not this reflects an actual practice, Barry B. Powell suggests it may have contributed to the story of the young Athenians sent to the Minotaur.[6] McInerney observes that the story of Pasiphaë
Pasiphaë
and the Cretan Bull
Cretan Bull
were not written until after Crete
Crete
had come under Greek control. Emma Stafford notes that the story of the Cretan Bull
Cretan Bull
does not appear before the Hellenistic period and suggests the connection between Crete
Crete
and Athens
Athens
is the result of the development of the myth of the Theseus
Theseus
cycle in late sixth century Athens.[7] In popular culture[edit]

Taurus is one of the oldest observed constellations, and has been variously connected with the abduction of Europa, the seduction of Io, and the Cretan Bull.[8] The Taurid meteor shower is named after the radiant point in the constellation Taurus, from where they are seen to come. Occurring in late October and early November, they are sometimes called "Halloween fireballs". Charles Bertram Lewis sees the episode of the Monstrous Herdsman in Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, essentially a re-telling of the story of " Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur".[9] Mary Renault's historical novel, The Bull from the Sea, recounts the story of Theseus
Theseus
after he returns from Crete.

In the 2005 Hercules miniseries, the bull is portrayed as a Antaeus. See also[edit]

Bull (mythology) Donn Cuailnge, the Brown Bull of Cooley Minotaur

References[edit]

^ Buenger, Theodore Arthur. Crete
Crete
in the Greek Tradition, University of Pennsylvania, 1915 ^ "The Cretan Bull", The Perseus Project, (Gregory R. Crane, ed.), Tufts University ^ a b Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2.5.7 ^ McInerney, Jeremy. "Bulls and Bull-leaping in the Minoan World", Penn Museum ^ Dietrich, Bernard Clive. "Some Older Traditions in Minoan Crete", The Origins of Greek Religion, Walter de Gruyter, 1974 ISBN 9783110039825 ^ Powell, Barry B., "Cretan Mythology", The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece
Greece
and Rome, Vol. 7, Oxford University Press, 2009 ISBN 9780195170726 ^ Stafford, Emma. "The Cretan bull", Herakles, Routledge, 2013 ISBN 9781136519277 ^ Falkner, David E., "Winter constellations", The Mythology of the Night Sky, The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, 2011 ISBN 9781461401377 ^ Lewis, Charles Bertram. Classical Mythology and Arthurian Romance, Slatkine, 1974

External links[edit]

Media related to Cretan Bull
Cretan Bull
at Wikimedia Commons

v t e

The Twelve Labours
Twelve Labours
of Heracles

Nemean lion Lernaean Hydra Ceryneian Hind Erymanthian Boar Augean Stables Stymphalian birds Cretan Bull Mares of Diomedes Girdle of Hippolyte Cattle of Geryon Apples of the H

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