The contest between Theseus and the Minotaur was frequently represented in Greek art.
5.-Clay Sealings From Zakro, With Minotaur Types.
The slaying of the Minotaur by Theseus in that case indicates the abolition of such sacrifice by the advance of Greek civilization.
A Cnossian didrachm exhibits on one side the labyrinth, on the other the Minotaur surrounded by a semicircle of small balls, probably intended for stars; it is to be noted that one of the monster' s names was Asterius.
When Theseus landed on the island to slay the Minotaur, Ariadne fell in love with him, and gave him a clue of thread to guide him through the mazes of the labyrinth.
When Theseus set out for Crete to deliver Athens from the tribute to the Minotaur he promised Aegeus that, if he were successful, he would change the black sail carried by his ship for a white one.
On painted vases and sarcophagus bas-reliefs he frequently occurs with Aeacus and Rhadamanthus as judges of the under-world and in connexion with the Minotaur and Theseus.
Cnossus was also assigned as the site of the labyrinth in which the Minotaur was confined.
Next came the adventure of the Cretan Minotaur, whom Theseus slew by the aid of Ariadne.
Mural paintings of extraordinary beauty were also discovered here, such as those that represent Theseus after the slaughter of the Minotaur (Helbig, Wandgemalde, Leipzig, 1878, No.
Human sacrifices to Baal were common, and, though in Phoenicia proper there is no proof that the victims were burned alive, the Carthaginians had a brazen image of Baal, from whose downturned hands the children slid into a pit of fire; and the story that Minos had a brazen man who pressed people to his glowing breast points to similar rites in Crete, where the child-devouring Minotaur must certainly be connected with Baal and the favourite sacrifice to him of children.
When the third sacrifice came round Theseus volunteered to go, and with the help of Ariadne slew the Minotaur (Plutarch, Theseus, 15-19; Diod.
Cook, Minos and Minotaur are only different forms of the same personage, representing the sun-god Zeus of the Cretans, who represented the sun as a bull.
Aetiologists connected both offerings with the Cretan expedition of Theseus, who, when driven ashore at Delos, vowed a thank-offering to Apollo if he slew the Minotaur, which afterwards took the form of the eiresione and Pyanopsia.
There is a modern Greek folk-tale which preserves some features of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, but for the Minotaur has been substituted a seven-headed snake.
It is difficult, moreover, not to connect the repeated wall-paintings and reliefs of the palace illustrating the cruel bull sports of the Minoan arena, in which girls as well as youths took part, with the legend of the Minotaur, or bull of Minos, for whose grisly meals Athens was forced to pay annual tribute of her sons and daughters.