Theseus and the Minotaur

According to legend, king Minos ruled Athens and forced the Athenians to deliver seven youths and seven maidens every nine years.

They became prey of the Minotaur in the labyrinth, and Athens escaped further sanctions through their obedience. The Minotaur was a terrible monster with the body of a man, and the head of a bull, born from the union of Pasiphae and the bull offered as a gift to Minos by Poseidon.

The sacrifices of the Athenians ended only when Theseus, son of Aegean ruler of Attica, traveled to Crete as part of the youths to be sacrificed, but once in the labyrinth he killed the Minotaur and managed to find his way out of the labyrinth with the aid of Ariadne, the daughter of Minos. Ariadne fell in love with Theseus as soon as he arrived, and gave him a ball of thread which he unraveled behind him as he walked through the labyrinthine corridors. Exiting then became a simple matter of following the thread backwards towards his freedom.

In a tragic turn of events, Theseus sailed back to Athens forgetting in his elation to replace the black sails with white ones as a signal of victory. His father Aegean who was watching for the returning ships from the Sounio rock saw the black sail, and in despair for what he thought was a failed mission that resulted to the death of his son, ended his life by jumping into the sea. The sea henceforth is named Aegean sea in his memory.

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