Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe, by Donald A. Mackenzie, [1917], at

p. 97


Crete as the Lost Atlantis

Quest for Home of Pre-Hellenic Culture--The Legendary Clues--Myth of the Lost Atlantis--Schliemann's Remarkable Bequest--His Grandson's Researches--Supposed Connection of Egyptian with Central American Civilization--Views of Geologists regarding a Submerged Continent--Geikie versus Hull--Evidence of New and Old World Fauna--The Race Problem--Plato's Atlantis Narrative--Lost Island identified with Crete--Sea Trade, Palaces, and Bull Fights--Greek and Libyan Traditions--How the Lost Atlantis Myth Originated--Legend of Zeus and Europe--Water-bull and Water-horse Stories --The Legendary Minos and Osiris--The Minotaur--Story of Dædalus and Babylonian and Indian Parallels--Athens and Crete--The Theseus Legend--Value of Traditions.

ALTHOUGH Schliemann's theories regarding Priam's treasure and Agamemnon's tomb aroused a storm of criticism, it had to be recognized that he discovered traces of a brilliant pre-Hellenic civilization which had flourished in Greece and Asia Minor for many long centuries. The problem as to where it had originated, however, remained obscure, and towards its solution not a few skilled archæologists began to direct their energies. Indeed, the quest soon became hot and fast. The cumulative evidence of classical writers seemed to point to Crete. Homer, Hesiod, Strabo, Thucydides, and Herodotus had perpetuated traditions regarding King Minos, the great lawgiver, who had cleared the Ægean of pirates. He was reputed to have been a son of Zeus, and that deity, according to one legend, had been born in a Cretan cave.

p. 98

[paragraph continues] Schliemann gave serious consideration to these clues, and had endeavoured, as has been stated, to make arrangements to excavate at Knossos. He also conducted researches with Virchow at Sais, in northern Egypt, but no discovery was made to indicate that pre-Hellenic civilization had emanated from the land of the Pharaohs in its fully-developed form. The larger problem appears to have engaged his mind: Where did Egyptian civilization originate?

Ere he died Schliemann formulated a bold theory to account not only for early northern European and North African civilization but also that of Central America as well. It was based on Plato's myth of the Lost Atlantis. He was convinced that this great island had had real existence, and that colonies of its inhabitants settled in Mexico, Egypt, and Greece at a remote period, introducing into these countries a full-blown culture.

Here, again, as will be shown, Schliemann had intuitive perception of a basis of fact embedded in the debris of tradition. Had he lived long enough he would no doubt have adjusted his view in the light of those discoveries which have been made during recent years, and accepted Crete as the mysterious island referred to by Plato.

NOTE: Schliemann's Atlantis bequest was a hoax, created for a Hearst newspaper. For more information, refer to How I Found the Lost Atlantis, by Dr. Paul Schliemann.--John Bruno Hare

The Atlantis theory appealed as strongly to the great pioneer's imagination during the last months of his life as did his Troy theory in the days of his boyhood. But the frailties of old age oppressed him, and he realized that he could never put it to proof. He desired, however, that the work should be undertaken by one of his kinsmen, and committed his secret to writing, enclosing his manuscript in a sealed envelope inscribed as follows:--

This can be opened only by a member of my family who solemnly vows to devote his life to the researches outlined therein.

p. 99

Not long before he expired he asked for a pencil and piece of paper and wrote:

Confidential addition to the sealed envelope. Break the owl-headed vase. Pay attention to the contents. It concerns Atlantis. Investigate the east of the ruins of the temple of Sais and the cemetery in Chacuna valley. Important. It proves the system. Night approaches--Lebewohl.

This last document was enclosed, and afterwards deposited with the other in one of the banks of France by the party to whom both were entrusted. A large sum of money was set aside to defray the expenses of the mysterious undertaking.

In 1906 Dr. Paul Schliemann, a grandson of the great discoverer of pre-Hellenic civilization, vowed to devote his life to the researches referred to in the sealed envelopes, and made himself acquainted with their contents. A few years later he contributed to certain newspapers in New York and London a signed statement, 1 in which he made a revelation of his grandfather's last bequest.

The first paper said:

Whoever opens this must solemnly swear to carry out the work I have left unfinished. I have come to the conclusion that Atlantis was not only a great territory between America and the West Coast of Africa and Europe, but the cradle of all our civilization as well. There has been much dispute among scientists on this matter. According to one group the tradition of Atlantis is purely fictional, founded upon fragmentary accounts of a deluge some thousands of years before the Christian era. Others declare the tradition wholly historical, but not capable of absolute proof.

Dr. Schliemann's papers are of lengthy character. Briefly stated, they set forth that he found at Troy a

p. 100

bronze vase containing fragments of pottery, images, and coins of "a peculiar metal", and "objects made of fossilized bone". He added: "Some of these objects and the bronze vase were engraved with a sentence in Phœnician hieroglyphics. The sentence read, 'From the King Chronos of Atlantis'."

Ten years later, when in the Louvre, Paris, he examined a collection of objects taken from Tiahuanaco, in Central America, and "discovered pieces of pottery of exactly the same shape and material, and objects of fossilized bone which reproduced line for line those I had found", Schliemann wrote, "in the bronze vase of the 'Treasure of Priam'". Among these objects was an owl-headed vase. He also professed to have read, or to have had read to him, extracts from Egyptian papyri preserved in the Museum at St. Petersburg which made reference to the "Land of Atlantis", whence had come the ancestors of the Egyptians "3350 years ago" and the "sages of Atlantis" who flourished during a period of "13,900 years". Another inscription, discovered near the Lion's Gate at Mycenæ, set forth that Thoth was a son of a "priest of Atlantis" who "landed after many wanderings in Egypt. He built the first temple at Sais, and there taught the wisdom of his native land."

Dr. Paul Schliemann has broken open the "owl-headed vase" at Paris, referred to in his grandfather's last memorandum, and states that he found in it a coin or medal of "silver-like metal" inscribed in Phœnician as follows: "Issued in the Temple of Transparent Walls". He claims, also, to have made discoveries in Egypt, Mexico, and elsewhere which justify his grandfather's theory. "I have reasons", he has written, "for saying that the strange medals were used as money in Atlantis forty thousand years ago."

p. 101

The first question which arises in connection with the late Dr. Schliemann's theory is: Did the "Lost Atlantis" ever have existence in fact? On this point Professor James Geikie has written as follows:--

Geologists have often speculated as to a former connection between the Old World and the New. There can be little doubt, indeed, that such a land connection did obtain between Asia and Europe at a geologically recent date, and it is quite possible that there may have been a land bridge also between Europe and North America by way of the Faröe Islands. 1 Others have suggested the former existence of a land bridge further south. They suppose that the North Atlantic may have been dry land--traversed from west to east by a Mediterranean Sea--of which the existing Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico are the remaining portions. But the facts which have suggested that speculation have been otherwise accounted for. All that is definite and certain is that there has been considerable loss of land so far as Europe is concerned. Our continent formerly extended further westward. But I know of no geological evidence that puts it beyond doubt that the Atlantic basin is the site of a drowned continent. On the contrary, such evidence as we have leads rather to the belief that the Atlantic basin, like that of the Pacific, is of primeval origin." 2

That veteran geologist, Professor Edward Hull, takes a different view of the problem, and has written:

"The tradition of Atlantis 'beyond the Pillars of Hercules' can scarcely be supposed to have originated in the mind of man without a basis of reality. In the centre of the North Atlantic Ocean rise from the surface the Azores volcanic islands, the summits of a group of islands rising from a platform corresponding to the continental platform of Europe on one hand and of America on the other. The rise of the level of the ocean bed, amounting from 7000 to 10,000 feet, as shown by the soundings on the Admiralty

p. 102

charts, would have reduced the depth of the ocean by so much and have extended the land areas to an extent which would have brought Atlantis within navigable distance of both continents for early inhabitants using canoes. We know from our investigations 1 that this elevation occurred during the post-tertiary period, 2 and at a presumed date 9000 or 10,000 B.C. If we add 1000 years of our era, the question arises: Would not this lapse of time have been sufficient to account for the subsidence which the region in question underwent in order to restore the land and sea to their present limits? Of course, this would depend on the rate of subsidence. But, at any rate, the result, as regards Atlantis, would have been the submergence under the ocean, with the exception of its present islands. The glacial period, when much of Europe and the British Isles was covered by snow and ice, can scarcely have been farther back than 10,000 years, and this is presumably the age of Atlantis."

Dr. Scharff, Director of the Natural History Museum, Dublin, is also a believer in the "Lost Atlantis". He has been led to the conclusion, in his studies of the migrations of animals between the continents of America and Europe, 3 that a land bridge once crossed the Atlantic Ocean between Southern Europe and the West Indies. "It probably became disconnected". he says, "in Miocene times. Since then this land once more became united with our continent, and may not have been finally severed until the Pleistocene period. United with the West Indies and Central America in early Tertiary times, it probably subsided partly during the Oligocene period 4 and later, leaving only a few isolated peaks as islands in the midst of the vast ocean which has since replaced it."

It will be seen that scientific opinion is divided regarding

p. 103

the existence of a mid-Atlantic continent. If, however, the views of Hull and Scharff are accepted, they cannot be held to prove that Plato's Atlantis was situated beyond the "Pillars of Hercules". Schliemann's hypothesis, as expounded by his grandson, renders it necessary to assume that this lost country, "which used the ancient medals as an equivalent of labour, had a more advanced currency system than we have at present". If such was the case, it appears strange that no traces of the high civilization have survived on those islands which are referred to as the "few isolated peaks" of the submerged continent.

The particular race which is supposed to have come from Atlantis has yet to be identified. Was it represented in Europe by Chellean man? The Chellean "hand axe" has been traced from France to South Africa, through Asia, across the "land bridge" to North America, and southward through South America. It never reached Australia or New Zealand. But Chellean man was a savage, not much more advanced, indeed, than were the Tasmanians. Cro-Magnon man, on the other hand, had achieved a high degree of culture, but no traces either of his physical type or of his cave drawings have been discovered in the New World. Besides, his culture developed from the Chellean through the Acheulian and Mousterian stages, as has been fully demonstrated. He cannot therefore be claimed for Atlantis. Nor can Mediterranean man, who had spread through Egypt and along the North African coast, and had settled in Southern and Western Europe, as well as in Mesopotamia, before the age of metal. There are no aboriginal representatives of his type in America.

Have the settlers from Atlantis vanished entirely in the New and Old Worlds? Did they perish like the mythical elder races of Mexico, India, Babylonia, Greece, and Ireland?

p. 104

Another insurmountable difficulty is the fact that copper was not utilized in Egypt and Central America at the same early period. The Egyptians and Sumerians worked that metal at about 3000 B.C. In Crete the Bronze Age was inaugurated between 3000 B.C. and 2800 B.C., and in Great Britain before 1500 B.C. The American peoples did not begin to utilize metal until a considerable period after bronze had been supplanted by iron in Europe. "Most students of American archaeology are agreed that the Mexican and Peruvian bronzes are not of any great antiquity, and that the Bronze Age must have been over in China long before it began in the New World." 1

In Dr. Heinrich Schliemann's day the antiquity of Central American civilization was greatly exaggerated. We now know that the Maya did not develop their culture on the Mexican plateau much before the eighth century of the Christian era, and that the Aztecs arrived about 1200 A.D.; the later Mexican confederacy had flourished for only a century before it was shattered by Cortez. 2 Most of the resemblances which have been noted between the Egyptian and Central American civilizations are of a superficial character.

Plato's legend regarding the "Lost Atlantis" was of Egyptian origin. It is related in the Timeus and Critias. A certain Solon visited Sais, where he "was very honourably received" by the priests of the goddess Neith. One of the eldest of these spoke with contempt regarding the "puerile fables" of the Greeks, and said: "You are unacquainted with that most noble and excellent race of men who once inhabited your country, from whom your whole

p. 105

present state are descended, though only a small remnant of this admirable people is now remaining". He went on to say that, according to Egyptian annals, Athens once overcame "a prodigious force", when "a mighty warlike power, rushing from the Atlantic sea, spread itself with hostile fury over all Europe and Asia". The narrative continues:

"That sea (the Atlantic) was then navigable, and had an island fronting that mouth which you in your tongue call the Pillars of Hercules; and this island was larger than Libya and Asia put together; and there was a passage hence for travellers of that day to the rest of the islands, as well as from those islands to the whole opposite continent that surrounds that the real sea. . . . In this Atlantic island, then, was formed a powerful league of Kings, who subdued the entire island, together with many others, and parts also of the Continent; besides which they subjected to their rule the inland parts of Libya, as far as Egypt, and Europe also, as far as Tyrrhenia. The whole of this force, then, being collected in a powerful league, undertook at one blow to enslave both your country and ours, and all the land besides that lies within the mouth. This was the period, Solon, when the power of your state (Athens) was universally celebrated for its virtue and strength; for surpassing all others in magnanimity and military skill, sometimes taking the lead of the Greek nation, at others left to itself by the defection of the rest, and brought into the most extreme danger, it still prevailed, raised the trophy over its assailants, kept from slavery those not as yet enslaved, insured likewise the most ample liberty for all of us without exception who dwell within the Pillars of Hercules.

Subsequently, however, through violent earthquakes and deluges which brought desolation in a single day and night, the whole of your warlike race was at once merged under the earth; and the Atlantic island itself was plunged beneath the sea and entirely disappeared; whence even now that sea is neither navigable nor to be traced out, being blocked up by the great depth of mud which the subsiding island produced." 1

p. 106

An anonymous contributor to the Times 1 was the first to draw attention to the remarkable resemblance between Plato's Atlantis and the island of Crete. His theory that the Egyptian priest's legend was based on traditions regarding Cretan sea-power and the raids of piratical bands on the Egyptian coast during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties has found general favour among prominent archæologists.

Crete, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, is about 160 miles long, and varies in breadth from about 35 miles in the middle to 10 between Retimo and Sphakia, and only 6 miles in one place between the Gulf of Mirabello and the coast of Hierapetra. Deep gulfs indent its northern coast, and its southern shore is rugged and rock-bound. A ridge of hills extends from east to west, culminating about the centre in well-wooded Mount Psiloriti, the ancient Mount Ida, which rises to a height of about 8159 feet. Strabo called the hills in the western part of the island Leuca Oré, or "the white mountains". In the south-west the mountains almost fringe the shore. The ancient capital was situated at Knossos, near Candia, on the north. In ancient days the island was four days' sail from Egypt and two from Cyrenaica. It may well be said of Crete, as of Atlantis, that "there was a passage hence for travellers of that day to the rest of the islands, as well as from those islands to the whole opposite continent".

In the Critias 2 Plato says of Atlantis:

"The whole region was said to be exceedingly lofty and precipitous towards the sea, and the plain about the city (? Knossos), which encircles it, is itself surrounded by mountains sloping down to the sea, being level and smooth, all much extended, three thousand stadia in one direction, and the central part from the

p. 107

sea above two thousand. And this district of the whole island was turned towards the south, and in an opposite direction from the north. The mountains around it, too, were at that time celebrated, as exceeding in number, size, and beauty all those of the present time, having in them many hamlets enriched with villages."

In Atlantis also, as in Crete, the prosperity of the island kingdom depended on its sea trade. They (the island kings) were "rulers", Solon was informed, "in the sea of islands (? the Ægean), and, as we before said, yet further extended their empire to all the country as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia".

During recent years archæologists have discovered that a great civilization--the earliest in Europe--flourished in Crete for many long centuries before the rise of Mycenæ and Tiryns. It was already well developed ere the pyramids near Cairo were erected, and before the dawn of the Twelfth Dynasty a palace had been built at Knossos. Some time during the Eighteenth Dynasty, and ere the famous Akhenaton was born, Crete was overrun by raiders, who displaced the native rulers, as the Egyptian Pharaohs had been displaced at an earlier period by the Hyksos. This calamity was sudden and overwhelming, and must have made a deep impression on those states which had commercial relations with the famous island kingdom. Its sea traders bad intimate relations with Egypt for many centuries. Evidence has been forthcoming that they visited the Delta coast as early as at least the Old Kingdom period. During the time of Queen Hatshepsut and Thothmes III they were depicted on the walls of Theban tombs, and were known as the Kheftiu and "Princes of the Isles in the midst of the Great Green Sea". But no reference was made to them after the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The

p. 108

Cretan sea traders vanished entirely, and their place was taken ultimately by the Phœnicians.

In the Atlantis legend there are several pointed references to a civilization closely resembling that of Crete. We read of busy harbours and far-travelled merchants, of a king's palace, like the palace of Knossos, which was built of stone, and of private and public baths; "the king's baths", says Plato, "and those of private persons were apart", and there were "separate baths for women". Crete was famous for its sacrificial bull fights; so was Atlantis; and it is suggestive to find that on both islands the method obtained of capturing the animals without the aid of weapons. Plato says of Atlantis in this connection:

"As there were bulls grazing at liberty in the temple of Poseidon, ten men only of the whole number, after invoking the god to receive their sacrifice propitiously, went out to hunt swordless, with staves and chains, and whichever of the bulls they took, they brought it to the column and slaughtered it." 1

Plato's legend used to be regarded by European scholars as "wholly mythical". It would now appear, however, that it had a genuine historical basis.

Solon visited Egypt over a thousand years after Crete had been divested of its ancient supremacy as a maritime power, and the aged priest of Sais evidently repeated to him traditions regarding it. Whether he was informed, or concluded from the Egyptian references, that Atlantis was situated beyond "the Pillars of Hercules" is quite uncertain. It was "the island farthest west", and this "would well describe Crete", Hawes suggests, "to a home-staying Egyptian of the Theban Empire".

When Crete was suddenly overwhelmed by invaders




p. 109

at the height of its power and prosperity, and its sailors and traders vanished from the Mediterranean, many wild rumours must have obtained currency. It need not surprise us to find that some believed the island itself "was plunged beneath the sea", and that in time the age during which flourished its kings and seafarers and bull-baiters, "won its way to the mythical", as Thucydides says in another connection.

Plato had no idea that Crete was so "old in story and that its ancient inhabitants were the pioneers of civilization in Europe, although he may have believed, like Herodotus, that the island was at one time "wholly peopled with barbarians" 1 (non-Hellenic folk). He had even less knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean, otherwise he could not have believed that navigation beyond the Pillars of Hercules was hampered by the mud-banks which marked the site of the "lost Atlantis".

It is possible that the Egyptian legend was influenced by the ancient folk-tale, "The Shipwrecked Sailor". This hero sojourned on an island which afterwards vanished in the midst of the sea. 2Or, perhaps, some Egyptian navigator, who set out on a voyage to Crete, at a period subsequent to the fall of Knossos, went off his course and got into trouble with sand-banks. On his return home he may have told as marvellous a story as the "shipwrecked sailor", believing that the island he sought had really been submerged.

The priest of Sais appears also to have mingled with his legend of Atlantis information derived from traditions and records regarding the settlement of Europeans on the North African coast, and the sea-raids during the reigns of Meneptah and Rameses III, 3 when, as one Egyptian

p. 110

record sets forth, "the isles were restless, disturbed among themselves". Certain tribes from these isles, who had established themselves in Libya, actually provided mercenaries for the army and fleet of Rameses III to drive back the "late comers". 1 As Plato says of the conquerors from Atlantis, they had "subjected to their rule the inland parts of Libya, as far as Egypt".

It will thus be seen that Schliemann was not far astray when he identified Plato's Atlantis as the cradle of Ægean civilization. Had he been able, as he desired, to excavate in Crete, he might have changed his mind regarding the real significance of the Græco-Egyptian myth.

The poets and historians of ancient Greece had preserved several suggestive legends regarding Crete. They had much to say regarding its King Minos, who flourished before the Trojan war. According to Strabo 2 he resided at Knossos, and made just laws which were afterwards borrowed by the Greeks. Thucydides 3 states that he was the first to have a navy, and that he cleared the Ægean of pirates. The poet of the Odyssey says:

There is a land amid the wine-dark sea
Called Crete; rich, fruitful, girded by the waves;
She boasts unnumbered men and ninety towns . . .
One city in extent the rest exceeds,
Knossos; the city in which Minos reigned--
The King who 'gan to reign in his ninth year
And converse held with Zeus. 4

Minos was fabled to be the son of Zeus by a human mother, the beautiful Europé, daughter of Agenor, King of Phœnicia. The legend sets forth that one day Europé was bathing with her maids, when Zeus beheld and fell in love with her. He changed himself into a

p. 111

bull, whose comely form and tameness attracted the attention of the princess. She advanced towards the animal, and was so fascinated by it that she mounted on its back. When she did so, the bull rushed into the water and swam to Crete. There she became the mother of Zeus's three sons, Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon.

This story resembles the Scottish kelpie or "water-horse" stories. When a human being mounts on the back of one of these supernatural animals, he or she finds it impossible to dismount, and is carried away to a dark loch. Sometimes the "water-horse" makes love in human form.

Herodotus states that "certain Greeks, who would probably be Cretans, made a landing at Tyre, on the Phœnician coast, and bore off the King's daughter, Europé" 1 He suggested that Europe may have been so called after the Tyrian princess, and had been nameless before her time. 2

Minos was supposed to have received his code of laws from his father Zeus, whom he visited in his cave on Mount Ida while the people were assembled round its base. 3 When he died he became, like the Egyptian Osiris, a judge in Hades. Ulysses related in the Odyssey, in the account of his visit to the land of shades:

There saw I Minos, offspring famed of Jove (Zeus);
His golden sceptre in his hand, he sat
Judge of the dead; they pleading, each in turn,
His cause, some stood, some sat, filling the house,
Whose spacious folding gates were never closed. 4

It was related of Minos--the later king of that name--that his succession to the Cretan throne was disputed.

p. 112

[paragraph continues] To emphasize his divine right, he stated that the gods would grant him anything he desired. Accordingly he invoked Poseidon, god of the deep, to send him a bull from the ocean, which he promised to offer up in sacrifice. When, however, the animal appeared he was so greatly fascinated by its beauty that he substituted another. Poseidon was wroth, and caused Minos to be punished by causing his wife, Pasiphaë, to give birth to a monster, half bull and half man, called the Minotaur.

It was necessary to build a special residence for the Minotaur, to whom sacrificial offerings had to be made. Minos accordingly employed Dædalus, 1 a skilled Athenian artificer, on his return from Egypt, to construct a labyrinth at Knossos, similar to the one situated near Lake Mœris. When the work was accomplished Minos had Dædalus confined in the Labyrinth, but he was secretly liberated by Queen Pasiphaë. Then he procured wings for himself and his son Icarus. Together they flew over the Ægean, but Icarus soared so near the sun that the wax with which his wings were fastened to his body melted, and he fell into the Icarian Sea, to which his name was given. Dædalus alighted without mishap at Cumæ in Italy, where he erected a temple to Apollo, to whom he dedicated his wings. 2

Icarus thus met a similar fate to Etana, of Babylonian fame, Nimrod in the Koran legend, and the son of the eagle giant Garuda, in the Indian epic Ramayana. Etana and Nimrod ascended on the backs of eagles, whose pinions were burnt by the sun. The Indian eagle was similarly punished for its presumption. 3

Dædalus afterwards took refuge in Sicani (Sicily), where Cocalus was king. Minos fitted out a great


THE THRONE OF MINOS, KNOSSOS (See description, page p. 112)


p. 113

expedition and visited Sicily in pursuit of Dædalus, whom he desired to put to death. There he was treacherously murdered by Cocalus or his daughters. A temple erected to his memory was dedicated to Aphrodite.

Minos had previously decreed that every year Athens should send to Crete seven youths and seven maidens to be devoured by the Minotaur.

This punishment was imposed upon the Athenians because they had jealously murdered Androgeos, son of Minos and Pasiphaë, who had surpassed all his opponents at the Panathenaic games.

For two years this tribute of human lives was paid by the subject city. But at length the hero, Theseus,

           vowed his life to sell
For his dear Athens, which he loved so well,
So that funereal ship might sail no more
Freighted with living death to Creta's shore. 1

In the third year he sailed with the sons and daughters of the noblest families in Athens. On his arrival in Crete he was informed that he must enter the Labyrinth naked and alone, and there be devoured by the Minotaur. 2 He invoked the goddess Aphrodite, who caused a beautiful Cretan maiden to fall in love with him. This was Ariadne, daughter of Minos. She secretly gave Theseus a magic sword to slay the Minotaur, and a clue: of thread, with the aid of which the hero could be enabled to extricate himself from the Labyrinth. As he passed along the winding and intricate passages he unwound the clue. He slew the Minotaur, and thus delivered Athens from its tribute. On his return voyage he was accompanied by Ariadne, whom, however, he deserted at Naxos.

p. 114

It is believed that this legend is reminiscent of a period when Athens was subject to the rule of Crete, and it had to provide male and female toreadors for the bullring at Knossos. According to the exponents of the solar myth theories, Minos was the sun and Pasiphaë the moon, or the Minotaur was the sun, and the Labyrinth the sky by night, its windings being the course followed by the moon.

Hesiod, Homer, Thucydides, and Herodotus make reference to only one Minos, the son of Zeus, the great lawgiver. But Diodorus 1 and Plutarch 2 tell of a second Minos, who was the oppressor of the Athenians and the king who obtained the bull from Poseidon. Certain archæologists are of opinion that Minos was not a personal name, but a royal title which was used as is Pharaoh n the Bible, and that each Cretan ruler may have been a Minos, as each Egyptian king was an Osiris. Others hold that Minos became as popular a throne name as Rameses in Egypt and Caesar at Rome.

It was chiefly because persistent Greek legends gave recognition to Crete as the source of pre-Hellenic culture and religion that archæologists desired to excavate on that island. In the next chapter it will be found that when opportunity came to test tradition in this regard the results obtained exceeded the most sanguine expectations.


99:1 It appeared in the London Budget (which has since ceased to exist) on 17th November, 1912.

101:1 See Chapter I.

101:2 London Budget, 8th December, 1912. See also Geikie's The Deeps of the Pacific Ocean and their Origin, The Great Sea Age, Prehistoric Europe, and The Antiquity of Man in Europe.

102:1 Professor Hull and Professor J. W. Spencer in Sub-Oceanic Physiography of the North Atlantic Ocean (London, 1912), and Professor Hull in London Budget, 1st December, 1912.

102:2 During the Pleistocene Age.

102:3 Distribution and Origin of Life in America.

102:4 A vast interval--perhaps millions of years--separated the Oligocene period from even the earliest culture stages of Pleistocene times.

104:1 British Museum Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age, pp. 110, 111.

104:2 Through Southern Mexico, H. Gadow (1908), and Bureau of American Ethnology, E. Forstemann, Bull. 28 (1904).

105:1 The Timæus, Section VI.

106:1 19th February, 1909.

106:2 Section XIII.

108:1 The Critias, Section XV.

109:1 Herod., I, 173.

109:2 Egyptian Myth and Legend, pp. 248-251.

109:3 Ibid., pp. 349-350.

110:1 Between 1200 and 1190 B.C.

110:2 Strabo, X.

110:3 Thucydides, I, 4.

110:4 Odyssey, XIX, 170 et seq.

111:1 Herodotus, I, 2.

111:2 Ibid., IV, 45.

111:3 Strabo, 476.

111:4 Odyssey, Cowper's trans., XI, 696-700.

112:1 Thucydides, I, 4.

112:2 Virgil, Book VI.

112:3 Babylonian Myth and Legend, pp. 165 et seq.

113:1 Catullus, 64 (Martin's translation).

113:2 Classic Myth and Legend, pp. 182 et seq.

114:1 IV. 60.

114:2 Theseus, 20.

Next: Chapter VI. The Great Palace of Knossos