Continuing with Wilkens’ survey, we find that the island we now know as Crete also owes its name to Homer, given to it by the peoples who settled there after the collapse of the Bronze Age.
Homer described Crete as a prosperous country which is an impossible anachronism since we now know that Crete was destroyed at the end of the Bronze Age by the eruption of the volcano, Santorini around 1600 BC. It is thought that the Minoan civilization was replaced by the Mycenaean, but this, too would have already been in decline at that alleged time of the Trojan War.
Homer mentions the Dorians as being among the peoples living in Crete and this has been a continuing problem for scholars as it is well known that the Dorians (or the people who subsequently came to be known as the Dorians) established themselves in the Peloponnese and Crete long after the alleged date of the Trojan War. What does seem likely is that the Dorians were a people of Europe where many place-names seem to evoke their presence: Doorn in Holland, Doornik in Belgium, Dorchester in England.
The ancient civilization of Crete was called “Minoan” after the “race of Minos.” There are ruins there now that are called by the Homeric name of Knossos or Cnossus, but can they really be the ruin of the palace of Minos, or the great labyrinth for which Crete was famous?
Hundreds of mazes and labyrinths are found scattered across Europe, parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas. They are composed of turf, hedges, stone, brick, or tile work on floors. There are paintings and carvings of mazes on rocks that are incredibly ancient. One of the oldest representations that I have found is a 20,000-year-old bracelet carved from a single piece of mammoth ivory, found at Mezin, Ukraine. This piece has a magnificent Greek Meander or maze design which predates any other maze currently known.
What most people know about the maze, or labyrinth, is due to the myth of Theseus and Ariadne. Briefly, the tale tells of King Minos of Crete, who demanded tribute from Athens, after defeating them in a war. The tribute was an annual shipment of seven youths and seven maidens who were sacrificed to the Minotaurby sending them into the maze, the specially constructed home of the beast, built by the great architect, Daedalus. The labyrinth was so cleverly constructed that even Daedalus had difficulty navigating in it. The Athenian young people would wander around in the maze, lost, until the Minotaur, half bull (top half) and half man (bottom half) caught up with them and devoured them.
As a side note, we would like to draw attention to the fact that Daedalus, the great architect, was connected to a king named Minos. Another king named Meneswas alleged to be the great unifier of Egypt, builder of the great city of Memphis, and a famous temple of Hephaestus Solomon and.
Discovering a great architect connected, even indirectly, to a great unifier of two kingdoms and builder of a great Temple on the one side, and connected to another king with a similar name, and builder of a great labyrinth which is connected to a “power in the center,” – the Minotaur, keeping in mind the legends of the building of Stonehenge, the “cloisters of Ambrius” where the god danced all night in the center around 3100 BC, certainly raises certain questions.
We are naturally drawn to make connections between these matters and the myth of Solomon and Hiram Abiff and the Jews’ Ark of the Covenant. When we think of the Temple of Solomon, which was built to house the Ark, and we then think of the labyrinth which was built to house a monster, we naturally wonder just what is going on here? Was the Ark the object over which the Trojan War was being fought?
We also note that the victims of King Minos of Crete were Athenians, and we remember what Plato said about the war between Atlantis and Athens, even if we don’t put any stock in it actually being the Athens we know today. Just like Gog and Magog, we have many questions about where these stories came from.
According to the myth, the labyrinth was built for one reason only: to hide the Minotaur, which was a source of horror and shame to Minos, whose wife had given birth to the monster after mating with a bull. This really doesn’t follow logic since the victims were rounded up in public, and everyone apparently knew about the Minotaur. But “hiding the Minotaur” and protecting people from the deadly effects of the famous Ark of the Covenant – a weapon of mass destruction if ever there was one – seem to be parallel ideas.
Excavations at Knossos on the island of Crete have indeed uncovered evidence of a bull cult practiced in a maze like palace of hundreds of chambers and corridors. There were innumerable images of bulls in bas-reliefs, small sculptures, bull-shaped vessels, seals and imprints of seals, as well as stylized bulls horns. All of these things linking the dynasty of Minos with bulls suggested to the experts that the vitality of the Minoan kings, like that of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, was identified with the bull-god. What is more, ancient Greek writers came right out and said that the labyrinth of Minos was modeled on an original in Egypt. Apparently, very little survives of this Egyptian marvel except for a few brick courses. What Herodotus had to say about it is rather fascinating:
Being set free after the reign of the priest of Hephaistos, the Egyptians, since they could not live any time without a king, set up over them twelve kings, having divided all Egypt into twelve parts. These made intermarriages with one another and reigned, making agreement that they would not put down one another by force, nor seek to get an advantage over one another, but would live in perfect friendship: and the reason why they made these agreements, guarding them very strongly from violation, was this, namely that an oracle had been given to them at first when they began to exercise their rule, that he of them who should pour a libation with a bronze cupin the temple of Hephaistos, should be king of all Egypt (for they used to assemble together in all the temples).
Moreover they resolved to join all together and leave a memorial of themselves; and having so resolved they caused to be made a labyrinth situated a little above the lake of Moeris and nearly opposite to that which is called the City of Crocodiles. This I saw myself, and I found it greater than words can say. For if one should put together and reckon up all the buildings and all the great works produced by the Hellenes, they would prove to be inferior in labour and expense to this labyrinth, though it is true that both the temple at Ephesos and that at Samos are works worthy of note.
The pyramids also were greater than words can say, and each one of them is equal to many works of the Hellenes, great as they may be; but the labyrinth surpasses even the pyramids. It has twelve courts covered in, with gates facing one another, six upon the North side and six upon the South, joining on one to another, and the same wall surrounds them all outside; and there are in it two kinds of chambers, the one kind below the ground and the other above upon these, three thousand in number, of each kind fifteen hundred. The upper set of chambers we ourselves saw, going through them, and we tell of them having looked upon them with our own eyes; but the chambers under ground we heard about only; for the Egyptians who had charge of them were not willing on any account to show them, saying that here were the sepulchres of the kings who had first built this labyrinth and of the sacred crocodiles.
Accordingly we speak of the chambers below by what we received from hearsay, while those above we saw ourselves and found them to be works of more than human greatness. For the passages through the chambers, and the goings this way and that way through the courts, which were admirably adorned, afforded endless matter for marvel, as we went through from a court to the chambers beyond it, and from the chambers to colonnades, and from the colonnades to other rooms, and then from the chambers again to other courts. Over the whole of these is a roof made of stone like the walls; and the walls are covered with figures carved upon them, each court being surrounded with pillars of white stone fitted together most perfectly; and at the end of the labyrinth, by the corner of it, there is a pyramid of forty fathoms, upon which large figures are carved, and to this there is a way made under ground.
What was Herodotus describing? He declared all the great architectural works of the Greeks and Egyptians, including the pyramids, to be inferior in labour and expense to this labyrinth. We would also like to note that there were no references to bulls hidden in the Egyptian labyrinth; rather, in the hidden underground chambers were the sepulchres of the kings who had first built this labyrinth and of the sacred crocodiles. Diodorus has a slightly different story about who built this famous labyrinth:
When the king died the government was recovered by Egyptians and they appointed a native king Mendes, whom some call Mares. Although he was responsible for no military achievements whatsoever, he did build himself what is called the Labyrinth as a tomb, an edifice which is wonderful not so much for its size as for the inimitable skill with which it was built; for once in, it is impossible to find one’s way out again without difficulty, unless one lights upon a guide who is perfectly acquainted with it. It is even said by some that Daedalus Daedalus crossed over to Egypt and, in wonder at the skill shown in the building, built for Minos, King of Crete, a labyrinth like that in Egypt, in which, so the tales goes, the creature called the Minotaur Mingotaurwas kept. Be that as it may, the Cretan Labyrinth has completely disappeared, either through the destruction wrought by some ruler or through the ravages of time; but the Egyptian Labyrinth remains absolutely perfect in its entire construction down to my time. 
For they chose a site beside the channel leading into Lake Moeris in Libya and there constructed their tomb of the finest stone, laying down an oblong as the shape and a stade as the size of each side, while in respect of carving and other works of craftsmanship they left no room for their successors to surpass them. For, when one had entered the sacred enclosure, one found a temple surrounded by columns, 40 to each side, and this building had a roof made of a single stone, carved with panels and richly adorned with excellent paintings. It contained memorials of the homeland of each of the kings as well as of the temples and sacrifices carried out in it, all skillfully worked in paintings of the greatest beauty. Generally it is said that the king conceived their tomb on such an expensive and prodigious scale that if they had not been deposed before its completion, they would not have been able to give their successors any opportunity to surpass them in architectural feats.
Next there is the report of Strabo:
In addition to these things there is the edifice of the Labyrinth which is a building quite equal to the Pyramidsand nearby the tomb of the king who built the Labyrinth. There is at the point where one first enters the channel, about 30 or 40 stades along the way, a flat trapezium-shaped site which contains both a village and a great palace made up of many palaces equal in number to that of the nomes in former times; for such is the number of peristyle courts which lie contiguous with one another, all in one row and backing on one wall, as though one had a long wall with the courts lying before it, and the passages into the courts lie opposite the wall. Before the entrances there lie what might be called hidden chambers which are long and many in number and have paths running through one another which twist and turn, so that no one can enter or leave any court without a guide. And the wonder of it is the roofs of each chambers are made of single stones and the width of the hidden chambers is spanned in the same way by monolithic beams of outstanding size; for nowhere is wood or any other material included. And if one mounts onto the roof, at no great height because the building has only one story, it is possible to get a view of a plain of masonry made of such stones, and, if one drops back down from there into the courts, it is possible to see them lying there in row each supported by 27 monolithic pillars; the walls too are made up in stones of no less a size.
At the end of this building, which occupies an area of more than a stade, stands the tomb, a pyramid on a oblong base, each side about 4 plethora in length and the height about the same; the name of the man buried there was Imandes. The reason for making the courts so many is said to be the fact that it was customary for all nomes to gather there according to rank with their own priests and priestesses, for the purpose of sacrifice, divine-offering, and judgment on the most important matters. And each of the nomes was lodged in the court appointed to it.
And above this city stands Abydos, in which there is the Memnonium, a palace wonderfully constructed of massive stonework in the same way as we have said the Labyrinth was built, though the Memnonium differs in being simple in structure.
Pliny tells us still another version of the stories about this amazing structure:
Let us speak also of labyrinths, quite the most extraordinary works on which men have spent their money, but not, as may be thought, figments of the imagination.
There still exists even now in Egypt in the Heracleopolite Nomethe one which was built first, according to tradition 3,600 years ago by king Petesuchisor Tithois, though Herodotus ascribes the whole work to Twelve Kings and Psammetichus, the latest of them. Various reasons are given for building it. Demoteles claims that it was the palace of Moteris, Lyceasthe tomb of Moeris, but the majority of writers take the view that it was built as a temple to the Sun, and this is generally accepted.
At any rate, that Daedalus used this as the model for the Labyrinth which he built in Creteis beyond doubt, but it is equally clear that he imitated only 100 Th. part of it which contains twisting paths and passages which advance and retreat-all impossible to negotiate. The reason for this is not that within a small compass it involves one in mile upon mile of walking, as we see in tessellated floors or the displays given by boys on the Campus, but that frequently doors are buried in it to beguile the visitor into going forward and then force him to return into the same winding paths.
This was the second to be built after the Egyptian Labyrinth, the third being in Lemnos and the fourth in Italy, all roofed with vaults of polished stone, though the Egyptian specimen, to my considerable astonishment, has its entrance and columns made of Parian marble, while the rest is of Aswan granite, such masses being put together as time itself cannot dissolve even with the help of the Heracleopolitans; for they have regarded the building with extraordinary hatred.
It would be impossible to describe in detail the layout of that building and its individual parts, since it is divided into regions and administrative districts which are called nomes, each of the 21 nomes giving its names to one of the houses. A further reason is the fact that it also contains temples of all the gods of Egypt while, in addition, Nemesis placed in the building’s 40 chapels many pyramids of 40 ells each covering an area of 6 aurora with their base. Men are already weary with traveling when they reach that bewildering maze of paths; indeed, there are also lofty upper rooms reached by ramps and porticoes from which one descends on stairways which have 90 steps each; inside are columns of imperial porphyry, images of the gods, statues of kings and representations of monsters. Certain of the halls are arranged in such way that as one throws open the door there arises within a fearful noise of thunder; moreover one passes through most of them in darkness.
There are again other massive buildings outside the wall of the Labyrinth; they call them “the Wing”. Then there are other subterranean chambers made by excavating galleries in the soil. One person only has done any repairs there-and they were few in number. He was Chaermon, the eunuch of king Necthebis, 500 years before Alexander the Great. A tradition is also current that he supported the roofs with beams of acacia wood boiled in oil, until squared stones could be raised up into the vaults.
We seem to have a bit of a problem here. Notice that Pliny assures us that Herodotus was wrong not only about who built the labyrinth, but also about when it was built. Pliny dates it to 3,600 years before his own time; in other words, close enough to 3100 BC to raise an eyebrow. He also makes the most interesting remark that the building was regarded with extraordinary hatred. That would certainly be true of a structure that was utilized for dreadful sacrifices – or a weapon of mass destruction such as the Ark.
Pliny mentions the mythical labyrinth of Crete, though it is a certainty that the temple at Knossos that was identified as the labyrinth by Arthur Evans was no longer available for view in the time of Pliny or even Diodorus! It seems that Pliny, along with everyone else just took it for granted that the legends of the labyrinth in Egypt and Crete were the truth. Certainly, nothing has ever been found in Egypt that even remotely resembles what these writers were describing, and even the pitiful ruins that several archaeologists have claimed to be what is left of the structure do not “fit the bill” in all respects.
Nevertheless, we have found that the earliest known written account of the existence of labyrinths appears in the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus in approximately 450 BC. He describes a great labyrinth located in Egypt at the ancient site of Arsinoeon the eastern bank of a large body of water, Lake Moeris. The labyrinth was constructed in the style of a great compartmental palace with 3000 different chambers, 1500 of which were above ground and 1500 were below ground. The foundation was approximately 1000 feet long x 800 feet long. He claimed that it was built by Ammenemes III in the twelfth dynasty of the Old Kingdom in approximately 2300 BC. He further said that its primary purpose was for burial, and many kings were buried there. Pliny verified Herodotus’ account in his writings on the four famous labyrinths of antiquity in approximately 50 AD. The remains of the city of Arsinoehave been excavated, but a great labyrinth to the extent of Herodotus’ description has never been found.
Flinders Petrie did extensive excavation of the city of Arsinoe in 1888, but he never discovered the fantastic site that Herodotus described. Petrie found only a great bed of fragments which he believed was the labyrinth. The body of Ammenemes III was supposedly unearthed corroborating Herodotus. A sufficient quantity of the original foundation was unearthed which handily allowed it to be measured at 1000 feet X 800 feet which is exactly the dimension quoted by Herodotus! That it was definitely a labyrinth could not be determined.
More recently, Egyptologists have decided that the so-called “pyramid of Hawara is the famous Egyptian labyrinth, but that makes no sense at all. Herodotus, Diodorus, Strabo and Plinyall describe so marvellous a structure that we are hard put to not think that there is truth behind what they were describing even if, as Herodotus says, it was only hearsay.
The various propositions for what must be the remains of the structure simply do not fit the descriptions. .
Modern experts suggest that Lake Moeris is really Lake Qarun, the third largest lake in Egypt, which is located in Faiyyum. If so, we wonder why there are no remains of this labyrinth which Pliny tells us was constructed of Parian marble, while the rest is ofAswan granite, such masses being put together as time itself cannot dissolve even with the help of the Heracleopolitans; for they have regarded the building with extraordinary hatred.
Of course, this last may provide a clue: if the building was so hated, it is altogether possible that that it was deliberately destroyed, cut to pieces, and carried away block by block.
The bottom line seems to be that the legend of the labyrinth containing a horrible creature is based on the Egyptian labyrinth, and we now suspect that the location of this labyrinth was not in the Egypt we now know as Egypt.
In the myths of the labyrinth, the most famous of Daedalus architectural feats, it is said that King Minos imprisoned him in the labyrinth for helping Theseus escape. One suspects that Theseus may have absconded with the “treasure.” Daedalus and his son escaped by fashioning wings made of feathers and wax, though his son is killed by falling into the sea when the wax melts and the feathers begin to fall out.
Again, let me emphasize the curious similarity of the story of Minos and his great architect, Daedalus, and Solomon and his great architect Hiram Abiff. We see in the story of Menes/Narmernot merely a strong resemblance, but we see certain historical developments that, even though not specified, point us in the direction of thinking that the myth of Theseus, Ariadne, and Daedalus and the Minotaur in the labyrinth, actually relate to Menes and his labyrinth in Egypt – though Egypt of a different time and place.
The Secret of Crete
For centuries, bards in the marketplaces of the Mediterranean recited the stories of the Minotaur. Scholars of later centuries considered them to be fable and fantasy. The ideas of human sacrifice and grotesque creatures were reinterpreted as symbolic accounts of how higher Greek culture overcame the bloody bull cult of the ancient Cretans. And so the matter was interpreted until Arthur Evans discovered and excavated the palace at Knossos, a few miles south of the capital of Crete, Herakleion. (We note that Pliny mentions residents of an Egyptian city Heracleopolis.)
Nevertheless, Arthur Evans banished the myth of the Minotaur with his discovery. From the remains of twelve hundred deviously interconnected rooms, stairways, corridors, warehouses, colonnaded halls and cellars grouped around an interior court, and from the arrangements of wall paintings showing bull games, animal scenes, processions and portraits, Evans reconstructed the Minoan culture for the breathless world. Based upon Evans analyses, the Greek bards who said such nasty things about the Cretans were all a bunch of frauds! The innumerable battles between Theseu sand the Minotaur portrayed on classical vases, murals, mosaics, reliefs, gems, and coins, were obviously based on pure imagination!
There were, of course, some criticisms of Evans reconstruction, but by and large, no one really doubted that the excavated labyrinth at Knossos was, indeed, the home of the Cretan royal family – a palace. Not only that, but the world of Arthur Evans’ time was amazed at the high culture of the Minoans. According to Evans, they had drainage systems, bathrooms, frescoes of women in striking toilettes that were actually similar to the styles at the time of the discovery – bared breasts and long skirts. The women of Knossos wore make-up and lived in country estates that were undefended – a sign of gracious living – as opposed to the gloomy citadels of the later Greeks. Clearly the Minoans lived in a land flowing with milk and honey and lived a carefree life devoted to sports, art, and love in the sunny kingdom of Minos, a veritable Solomon-with his genius architect, Daedalus.
There was only one serious dissenter to the universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle of those amazing Minoans as described by Evans: Oswald Spengler.
In his book World History of the Second Millennium BC, published in 1935, Spengler speculated on the archaeological finds of Crete. He noted the absence of any protecting walls around ancient Cretan palaces and country estates; he noted the pictures of bulls so reminiscent of the ancient Minotaur legend; he noted that peculiar kings throne in the Palace of Knossos, which in his view, would have been more suitable for a votive image of a priests mummy. And then he asked:
were the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos temples of the dead, sanctuaries of a powerful cult of the hereafter? I do not wish to make such an assertion, for I cannot prove it, but the question seems to me worthy of serious consideration.
But such a suggestion was ignored.
According to the experts, the position of Crete was particularly favorable for the purported Minoan domination of the sea, and for growth and development of their wonderful civilization. Never mind that it was a tiny island that could never have supported the population necessary for such domination. It was claimed to be the crossroads, linking three continents, and all the racial and cultural elements of Europe, Asia and Africa met and mingled in the melting pot of Crete. It was this mingling that was supposed to have produced such a marvellous new way of life, a new philosophy, new art, and the freshness, charm and variety that Evans presented to an enchanted world.
The Minoan Kingdom was destroyed by the eruption of the terrible volcano Santorini, and after that, none of the Minoan palaces was ever re-inhabited. It seems that the original Minoans fled, never to return, and afterward, the purely Greek period of Crete began with the arrival of waves of Dorians.
In 1974, Hans Georg Wunderlich, Professor of Geology and Palaeontology at Stuttgart University, published The Secret of Crete. This book was the result of many observations he had made from a geologists point of view while visiting Crete. There were many puzzling facts about the strange 1200 room palace. One thing his geologists eye noticed immediately was that the steps of the palace were made of soft alabaster, but were not worn! There were many doorways, but stone slabs sealed them off. There were bathtubs equipped with drain holes, but no drainpipes! He found row after row of storage vessels, but no kitchen. The list goes on, and the reader is encouraged to read his book for the lengthy analysis. Wunderlich quotes the account of traveller Thomas Munster in Crete:
What about the palaces access to light, air and sun? Where, for example, are the big windows without which we can scarcely imagine elegant living? When you look closer you see, to be sure, that the royal palace has open loggias, colonnaded halls, roofed over courts, but that there are scarcely any windows. A good many rooms are so completely boxed in within the complex structure that they do not even border on an outside wall. There is something very odd about the idea of constructing a luxurious building in whose interior people would necessarily feel as if they were inside a cave. Yet they had the means to build in totally modern windows, perhaps even glazed windows.
In a state of devastation the place must have looked like a tangle of artificial caves in which nobody could find his way about and the impression of mystery, vastness and confusion must have been complete.
No materials were carried away from Knossos to be used for peasant villages The place was avoided with superstitious fear. What exactly happened, why Knossos was avoided like the site of a gallowsor a witches dancing floor, remains to be clarified.
In the end, Wunderlich came to the realization, based on the objective evidence, that the palace of King Minos, so identified by Evans, was nothing but a necropolis. It had never been intended for the living, but was a place where a powerful cult of the dead practiced elaborate sacrifices, burial rites, and ritual games of death. He realized that the legend of Crete was essentially accurate, and that legend said that it was not a home to a wise sovereign who fostered arts and sports, but that it was a sinister place belonging entirely to the underworld and a devouring god. In other words, it had the equivalent reputation among the civilizations of the Mediterranean that a graveyard and mausoleum have in our own society. Just as our society has a tendency to tell ghost stories around the campfire, about terrifying apparitions of the dead in our own cemeteries, or cities of the dead, so were similar tales told about Crete, where the only living inhabitants were the resident undertakers, the embalmers, and experts on death and the afterlife. Crete didn’t need defensive walls because – like a graveyard – no one would go there. It may also have been the site of human sacrifice for cult reasons as well. Wunderlich wrote his own observations:
I had visited the Minoan sites to explore the traces of early geological catastrophes, but what I found were curious contradictions. Were the excavated labyrinthine complexes really the palatial residences of glorious kings, of the legendary Mino sand his brothers Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys? In fact, could these places be regarded as residences at all? My geological observations argued against any such assumption. Places of worship, shrines, sanctified earth, yes, but not places of human settlement. Comparison with other Mediterranean cultures suggested a cult of the dead that would mean, however, that Minoan culture, to the extent that we now know it, was almost entirely a funerary cult.
From the very beginning of his excavations, the finds at Knossos differed so fundamentally from the art and artifacts of classical Greece that there was simply no comparison. The russet skin color of the Minoan men on the frescoes in the Palace of Knossos was a distinct sign of their alien nature to the Greeks. They were not fair-haired Achaeans, but brown skinned, dark-haired tribes. Evans found no temples, no large sculpture, no amphitheaters with seats, and no inscriptions telling the deeds of the gods and great men, not even any familiar characters of the Greek pantheons.
Instead, Evans found strange columns that tapered toward the bottom, and architecture like no other in its shapes and arrangement of space. He found magazines full of gigantic jars – pithoi- deposits of clay tablets of endless statistical notations devoid of any historical character or mythological references. He found curious clay idols of women with bared breasts holding serpents.
The resemblances to finds at Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnesus have prompted some experts to think that the lords of the citadels of Mycenae and Tiryns had visited Crete. The frescoes of women in Tiryns, with long black hair, exposed bosoms and slender waists; the dolphins, lotus blossoms and spiral motifs; and especially the characteristic Cretan double shields plainly showed the hand of a Cretan artist.
Knossos presented no clear parallel to other known cultures of the eastern Mediterranean. The Minoans were something quite other. The only possible comparison in terms of elegance of lifestyle was either Greece or Egypt. But the people who lived at Knossos were quite different from either of them. Knossos had no mummies, no pyramids, no sphinxes or obelisks, no monumental statures of gods or pharaohs, no walls filled with hieroglyphs glorifying their rulers and the deeds of same.
Arthur Evans thought that something must have prevented a complete cultural and civilizational exchange. He came to believe that the inhabitants of Knossos had attained a height of civilization unique for the Middle to Late Bronze Age, with technical devices at their disposal that seemed strikingly modern.
According to Homer, Idomeneus, grandson of the ruler of Knossos, fought side by side with the Achaeans against the Trojans. In the famous catalogue of ships in The Iliad, the Cretans are listed along with the rest of the Achaeans and not as foreign auxiliaries. There is absolutely no indication that the Cretans are anything other than Danaans, which means Achaeans or Greeks. Before the discoveries of Arthur Evans, there was no indication that the Minoans had not been Greeks. But after his excavations, such an idea could no longer hold sway. They were clearly not Greeks. The question in the minds of everyone is: who were these Minoans, really, and where did they go?
Given all the evidence presented by Wunderlich, we can no longer think of Crete as an anomaly, an isolated civilization in the Mediterranean. Rather, we come to the rather startling realization that Crete did have an enormous role in the context of those times. Many connections are drawn between the Minoans and Etruria, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. More than this, Wunderlich marshals a great body of evidence to show that the Cretan civilization was born from Egypt and interacted with Egypt in a long relationship.
The Minoans were a dark, elegant people of mysterious origin. Even their ancient name is unknown; they were given the name Minoans by a modern-day British archaeologist, Arthur Evans, who derived it from Greek mythology. […]
About 3200 BC a large number of newcomers reached southern Crete. Their religious symbols – the trident, the double axe, and the shield shaped like the numeral 8 – were those of the Delta tribesof Lower Egypt. The Libyan goddess, with her spear, snake, spindle, and goatskin bib, came with them, and she remained one of their chief deities. Other evidence of the newcomers Egyptian or Libyan origin was the soldiers custom of training their hair in a long lock curled over one shoulderand their use of a peculiarly shaped loinclothinstead of a kilt. It seems likely that these people may have been fleeing from Menes conquest of Lower Egypt. They mixed with the Neolithic Cretansof the mountains to form the Cretan civilization.
In dealing with the issue of what happened to the Minoans, Wunderlich points out that it is a mistake to think that just because an institution comes to an end, and the buildings of a civilization are destroyed, that it means an end to the peoples themselves. Institutions end when they no longer have a living function.
In light of the major destruction of the area by the cataclysmic eruption of Santorini, it is far more likely, as Wunderlich points out, that there was a change in function, and an abandonment of traditional ideas and modes of behavior.
In other words, if a goddess worshipping funerary cult is destroyed cataclysmically, it is entirely likely that the practitioners came to the conclusion that they needed a change of philosophy or a change of gods and were born again into a new and different cult that was designed to appease the new god in a new and different way so as to ward off future disasters.
In point of fact, that seems to be what happened. In answer to the questions who were they? and where did they go? What happened to the Minoans? Tacitus tells us:
Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighboring tribe, the Idaei, came to be called Judaeiby a barbarous lengthening of the national name.
The obvious problem with Tacitus’ comments is the fact that Crete wasn’t called Crete at the time of the Minoana, who were also not called Minoans. Nor was the mountain on the island called Ida. Nevertheless, there may have been some seed of truth in his comments regarding the peoples in question – refugees from the eruption of Santorini who fled to the coastal areas of Canaan.
Coming back to Crete, we noted that the ruins on the Crete that we now know by that name, simply do not support the legends of the labyrinth, nor do the stories mesh with the known archaeological facts. The culture described by Homer so little resembles Minoan or Mycenaean culture that John Chadwick gave up in disgust and pronounced Homer a liar. He wasn’t the first expert or scholar to do so.
In reading Homer’s description of Crete, we find that he does not even talk about an island, but rather a “vast land surrounded by water.” He uses this description only for Crete. The Greek adjective used, perirrutos, actually means “sea girt” or “with water flowing round,” and applies as well to peninsulas.
There is a land called Crete, in the midst of the wine-dark sea, a fair, rich land, begirt with water and therein are men, past counting, and ninety cities. They have not all the same speech, but their tongues are mixed. [Odyssey, XIX, 172-174]
Homer also tells us that from “vast Crete, far over the sea,” where Minos lives, it is a five day voyage to Egypt if the vessel takes advantage of the north wind. The distance covered by a sailing boat with a good wind in five days is roughly 1200 km. The Crete we now know is only about 600 km from the Egypt we now know; a two or three day sail with favorable winds. Through the mouth of Odysseus, Homer also tells us that there are snowy mountains in Crete and that its climate is very cold, requiring the wearing of heavy clothing.
…verily cloaks and bright coverlets became hateful in my eyes on the day when first I left behind me the snowy mountains of Crete, as I fared on my long-oared ship… [Odyssey, XIX, 338]
The only part of Europe that matches the criteria for Crete set out by Homer is Scandinavia. Denmark and Southern Sweden have “fair, rich soil” and the countryside resembles the fertile north European plains in general. Scandinavia is vast enough to have had 90 cities, and there are certainly snowy mountains there, even in summer. Scandinavia is surrounded by water and there are many ports where “tongues are mixed,” and it is about five days sail to the north coast of France with a good north wind. Wilkens describes the process of identification:
In order to identify Scandinavia as Homer’s Crete, however, we need the names of rivers, but Homer only mentions two in the first instant, the more important of which is the Iardanus. At first, I could find no Scandinavian river with the consonants “yrdn” and had almost abandoned the search, when one morning I woke up with the answer, Hardanger. […] Iardan(os) must be Hardan(ger), Norway’s biggest fjord which opens to the North Sea just south of Bergen.
Homer also mentions another river, the Celadon, close to the mouth of the Iardanos. The map shows the Sildefjord not far from the Hardangerfjord, and phonetically Celadon could well have become Silde.
Elsewhere, in the list of armies, we find three other Scandinavian rivers: the Nisa, now Nissan, in southwest Sweden; the Arne, now Arna, in Jutland and the Schoenus, now probably the Skjern, also in Jutland. It may be said in passing that none of these names can be found in the Greek island of Crete…
If we have found Crete, what of famous Knossos? It seems fairly safe to say that “wide Cnosus (Iliad, XVIII, 591) was none other than the “cap” of Jutland, the extreme north of Denmark, where there is a region and a hill with a name unique in Europe, Knösen. It is well established that the Celts lived in this area long before our own era, for archaeologists found there one of the most celebrated of all Celtic works of art, the Gundestrup silver cauldron (called after the village where it was found). This cauldron is decorated with a frieze showing what seems to be a human sacrifice to a god and it is precisely to human sacrifice that Knossos owed its notoriety throughout the ages. [Wilkens]
At the dawn of pre-history, it is said, humanity worshiped a Goddess who often co-existed with a male Deity, sometimes depicted with horns. The Horned God personified a manly affinity with the animal kingdom.
One of the earliest representations of a Horned God in a purely Celtic context is a rock carving from Val Camonica in northern Italy. The God is portrayed standing upright wearing a long garment and carrying a torc, the collar-shaped necklace of divine authority.
Subsequent images often show the Horned God seated in a half-lotus position familiar to yogis.
The name Cernunnos has come down to us through a stone relief carving from the Gallo-Roman period which was unearthed in Paris of a God with antlers, upon each of which hangs a torc. In the collection of the Cluny Museum in Paris, the stone bears the clearly legible inscription CERNUNNOS in Roman letters above the God’s face. But it would be a mistake to identify all horned gods as Cernunnos, or even all stag-antlered ones.
Cernunnos is the most common name used today for the deity called “Uindos” in Old Irish literature. He is also sometimes called “Finn,” the name of a main hero in a cycle of ancient stories about the “Fianna” or warrior-bands of Old Ireland.
Undoubtedly the most famous image believed to represent Cernunnos is from the Gundestrup cauldron unearthed in the spring of 1891 in a Danish peat-bog near the hamlet of Gundestrup in Northern Jutland. Cauldrons or chalices (also called grails) were often used in ancient Pagan religious rites, symbolic of the cauldron of the goddess Cerridwen, the so-called cauldron of rebirth.
Vividly decorating the cauldron’s plates are scenes of war and sacrifice, bearded deities wrestling ferocious beasts, a bare-breasted goddess standing flanked by elephants, and a commanding figure with stag’s antlers brandishing a ram-headed snake in one hand and a twisted neck collar or torc in the other. Most scholars agree this figure is Cernunnos. [Cernunnos: The Horned One ]
Of course, one might like to know why the goddess is flanked by elephants…
Returning to our story of the labyrinth, the hero of the story, Prince Theseus of Athens, volunteered to become one of the intended victims. However, the priestess Ariadne fell in love with him and helped him by giving him a ball of golden thread. He unraveled this as he penetrated to the heart of the maze, where he slew the Minotaur and was able to find his way out and escape. Afterwards, Theseus sailed away from Crete with Ariadne and the other Athenian youths and maidens who had been held captive in the labyrinth, and arrived at Delos. There he set up a shrine to Aphrodite, and he and his companions executed a dance which imitated the winding twists and turns of the labyrinth, which included weaving, turning movements to complex rhythms.
The dynamic events of this story are parallel to the story of Paris and Helen as well as many other similar stories of a young man who goes to a foreign court, wins the heart of an influential woman who helps him to achieve a heroic deed (“killing the minotaur” = stealing the treasure), and leaves in haste with the woman.
The majority of experts who write about the labyrinth, tell us that the plan and meaning of the maze clearly originated in Egypt, where it was the scene of the religious dramas involving killing the god-king in the form of a bull. They further tell us that the sacrifice was only token, and that a divine bull was substituted for the king in the culmination of several days of ritual dance, drama and combat performed in a labyrinth. A similar cult is said to be at the root of the Cretan labyrinth myth. The bull of Minos would be the representative of the kingship and power of Minos; and Theseus, by killing the bull and taking the kings daughter, was claiming the throne symbolically.
Indeed, such a solution would explain why bull, king and labyrinth occur together in both Crete and Egypt, but what it does not explain is the labyrinth itself and why the same design is found all over the world nor does it really explain the ubiquity of the dynamics of the story. Most scholars of ancient history and archaeology are powerfully influenced by the theories of Egyptology which posit that all civilizations diffused from ancient Egypt, or from Mesopotamia, at least. However, the sheer volume of physical evidence suggests that this is not the case.
The Egyptian labyrinths were always composed of straight lines, and the abstract mazes on seals were usually made up of square fret patterns. Cretan coins from classical times often show labyrinths, some of which are of the Egyptian fretwork kind, but most of them show a maze of a very different construction – the square or rounded spiral design – the Greek meander- of European tradition, which is never found in Egypt. If Crete was the landing place for peoples fleeing from the conquest of Narmer/Menes, and the refugees then mixed with the indigenous peoples of the island, one wonders if the natives of the island were originally Celtic?
The spiraling maze consists of a series of interlocking concentric bands, usually seven in number, with a straight line of exit running from the center to the base. This is the form of nearly all the ancient mazes of Europe, including those known to have been focal points of nature religions and folk activity such as festivals, dancing, dramas and games. These designs are known as Troy towns. Spiral mazes with names that are obviously derived from the word Troy are found in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Russia.
In short, there is absolutely nothing Egyptian about the Troy mazes, and there is every reason to believe that they are indigenous to the megalithic cultures, which were independent developments from the civilizations of the Near East.
But in the myths of Theseus, as well as many other stories, we find two independent aspects of the maze puzzle meeting and interacting, and what they have in common is, in our opinion, ancient technology – a device that may have been at the center of the dance of the god at Stonehenge, utilized to manipulate gravity, space and time – a veritable weapon of mass destruction.
But again, we find the polarities: the circle people and the pyramid people. It is clear that our ancestors of the megaliths and the pyramids could do things we can no longer do. It is also clear that there were two different perceptions of the world and man’s place within it. Just as nuclear power today can be used to provide the motive power that sustains our civilization, or cataclysmic power to destroy it, so must the object at the center of the labyrinth have been seen as power for one side, and sustenance for the other.
In the stories of the Egyptian labyrinth, the object at the center was a terrible, devouring power. In the story of the Hyperboreans, the dance of the god was a celebration of life, of bounty, of victory over the serpent. The spear-armed Maruts danced and brought forth baskets of bountiful blessings, materializing from the waves of the great Star Goddess, the Enthroned Queen.
And, in a sense, this is how women are seen as well, depending on the internal make-up of the perceiver.
Something happened. Something terrible, and whether or not we discover that any sort of object was at the center of the labyrinth, we believe that our investigations will lead us to the knowledge of the Ark, the Exodus, and the Face that launched a Thousand Wars.