Assignment #3: The Story of Minos and What it Tells us About History

You have heard a telling of the story of King Minos and Theseus of Athens. Of course like all legends and myths, certain details may have been altered and added by story-tellers over the years.This does not mean that the essence of the story has been entirely invented, that some historical reality does not lurk below the surface.

As I asked you in class, please consider the entire story — you may find it easier to break it down into three sections: the abduction of Europa, Minos and the Black Ships, and Theseus Journey to Fight the Minotaur — and analyze the story elements as an archaeologist might interpret an object dug out of Knossos. I’d like you to infer from the story the historical situation, that is, what was actually happening, in the Aegean region (Crete and Greece) prior to c.1200 BC.

So, please in your notes 1) write two things you might say about the relationship between Crete and Greece, i.e. the historical situation at the time, and 2) write three characteristics that were valued by the civilization that told these stories.

You inferences, of course, should be supported by elements of the story.


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