Minos was the king of Crete. His son was killed in an athletics competition by the Athenians. As punishment, the Athenians had to send 7 young men and 7 young women to Crete every year. Minos would feed these 14 people to the Minotaur (half man half bull). The Minotaur lived in the Labyrinth (maze).
The Athenians weren’t happy about this so Theseus , the son of king Aegeus of Athens, said he would kill the Minotaur. Aegeus wss reluctant to let his son go but he finally agreed on the terms that Theseus must put up white sails to prove that he is alive on the way back.
Theseus departed for Crete and there he met Ariadne. Ariadne agreed to help Theseus slay the Minotaur because she liked him and Theseus agreed to take her away with him after he killed the Minotaur. Ariadne gave Theseus a sword and a piece of string and Theseus entered the Labyrinth. He used the string to help find his way back out after. Theseus clashed and fought with the Minotaur. Theseus was victorius and killed the Minotaur. He found his way back out of the Labyrinth using the string. He had saved the 7 young men and women.
He sailed away from Crete with the Athenians and Ariadne. Ariadne was in love with Theseus and wanted to marry him but when they stopped on the island of Naxos on the way back, Theseus abandoned her on the island. Thesues sailed back to Athens but he forgot to change his sails back to white ones. His father, Aegeus standing on the cliff edge saw the black sails. Thinking his son Theseus was dead, he jumped into the sea and died. The sea was named the Aegean sea after Aegeus. Theseus returned home and became the king of Athens.
This post was contributed by Hugh O’Sullivan (1st year Ancient Greek student)