Saturday, July 30, 2016

Greece Trip, Sun. 7/24/16 AM (Cruise)

In the morning we stopped at Heraklion, Crete's capital, named after Heracles (Hercules), the Greek hero and demi-god who slew the beautiful, white Bull of Poseidon as one of his Twelve Labors. This bull fathered the bull-headed monster, the Minotaur, by Queen Pasiphae, the wife of Crete's King Minos, the early ruler of Crete and son of Zeus in Greek myth.

The Minotaur was trapped in a labyrinth, according to myth, until Athens' hero, Theseus, killed him with the help of Minos' daughter, Ariadne. On Crete the labyrinth, originally a word that may have meant a double ax representing the seat of double power, refers to the Palace of Knossos, the seat of a powerful, sophisticated, and influential sea-faring culture that historians call Minoan Civilization. The palace is the site of the oldest theater in Europe. The frescoes decorating the palace itself are reproductions of artwork housed in Heraklion's Archaeological Museum along with other objects and treasures. Its columns are wide at the top and narrow at the bottom and painted, giving them a liveliness lacking from later Greco-Roman columns.

Cretan bull behind typical Minoan painted columns

Model of the Palace of Knossos seems labyrinthine
Double-Axes from Crete (Hubby, Don, to show scale)

Famous artwork at Knossos include ivory snake-goddesses, bulls, bull-dancers, and bulls' horns, double axes, and griffins. Some griffins are winged, others not. The winged griffins are tethered to keep them from flying away. Also in the museum is the Phaistos Disk which contains an inscription the meaning of which is either unknown or highly controversial.

Bull-dancing fresco
Throne-room of Palace of Knossos

Wingless Griffin from Knossos
Winged Griffin is tethered so it won't fly away
Fresco of Dolphins
Female fresco from the Palace of Knossos
Gold and ivory snake-goddesses from Knossos
Europe's earliest theater
Looking for an adult group tour for July, 2018? Click here for more information.