In the second millennium BCE the island of Crete was home to a complex pre-Greek society known as ‘the Minoans’. When archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans started to excavate at the site of Knossos on Crete, in 1900, he frequently connected the things he found with ancient Cretan myths. He named the building at Knossos the ‘Palace of Minos’, after the mythical king of Crete, and connected it to the story of the Labyrinth.

The Labyrinth was an ingenious maze commissioned by King Minos to imprison the ferocious Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. In the myth, the Minotaur is killed by Theseus, the famous semi-divine hero. Following Theseus's victory, he returned to Greece, and became king and the founder of Athens.

The Cretan myths originated in stories which the Greek and Roman inhabitants of the city of Knossos would have told long after the Palace had been destroyed.

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