06-Apr-2004 -- A two days ago we have left Israel with 2500 tons of potatoes and oranges
for England and Belgium.
As every time when I am in Israel, a visit to Jerusalem was mandatory, in order to deposit my wishes written on
a piece of paper in one of the gaps of the Wailing Wall.
Health, Peace, a long life, financial wealth, many confluences ... the list
was quite long this time.
Today we are passing already the Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands.
35N 24E is close to two small islands, namely Gávdhos and
Gávdhos, which in ancient times was named Clauda, is cliffy on its south
side and attains an elevation of 368 m. The north side is low and shelving.
Gavdhopoúla is a small islet and 113 m high.
A look towards SE shows us both Gavdhopoúla (right) and Gávdhos
The visibility was rather hazy, and so we could not make out the coast of
Crete, although it is only a 30 km away, high and usually very well visible
from this area.
Crete is of course famous for many things, but in ancient mythology it is
the island where the evil Minotauros did live.
Minotauros was the son of Queen Pasiphae and King Minos of Crete and was
born as a freaky fabulous beast. He had a bull's head and a human body, and
it is not difficult to guess that poor Minos could impossibly have been the
And indeed, Pasiphae previously had been fallen in love with a god, which
appeared to her as a white bull. The result of this extramarital relation
was the freaky, - but nevertheless divine -, monster Minotauros,
representing for the cuckolded husband shame and misfortune, but on the
other hand Minotaurus was an object of amazement, astonishment and even
Minos, however, wanted to ensure Minotauros to disappear out of his and his
wife's sight, and so he took care he vanished from the public life - and
this immediately and forever.
And he succeeded. He ordered Daedalus, owing him still a favor, to construct
a building for Mintotauros, serving as jail, hideaway and temple
simultaneously. And so Daedalus built the Labyrinth - a complicated system
of intricate and tortuous alleyways, in which centre the monster was
supposed to lodge. The idea behind the labyrinth was it to be easy to reach
the centre, but as good as impossible to find the way out again.
So Minotauros disappeared in the labyrinth and found the centre as intended.
And as planned as well - he did no longer find the way out. So Minotaurus
settled down in the centre of the labyrinth and was expecting the human
sacrifices brought to him in regular intervals, for he was a divine being
and thus entitled to sacrifices.
Pasiphae and Minos were again living in peace and subsequently they got
other children, two of which were Androgeos and Ariadne.
Androgeos became a famous hero, and Ariadne was known for her beauty. On the
occasion of one of his numerous heroic deeds, - a fight with a bull - ,
Androgeos got killed and King Minos in his desperation blamed the King of
Athens for the death of his son. Minos declared war on Athens and won. As a
reparation he demanded Athens to supply every nine years each seven boys and
seven girls in order to sacrifice them to Minotauros.
The son of the King of Athens, Theseus, reported voluntarily as a sacrifice
when he was eighteen years of age and went to Crete. There he met Ariadne,
which fell in love with him at first sight. In order to enable Theseus to
find the way back out, Ariadne gave him a coil of cotton thread - the famous
"Ariadne's Thread", which he uncoiled when proceeding to the centre of the
labyrinth. The other end of the coil he fixed at the entrance of the
labyrinth. Theseus found the sleeping monster and killed it. Of course he
could find the way back to the entrance without any problem, by simply
coiling up the thread again when following its track.
I believe it is a true story, for the ruins of the Labyrinth have been found
by archaeologists on Crete. The thread, however, has disappeared, as after
killing the monster there was no longer any use of it.
Information about Gávdhos and Gavdhopoúla obtained from Nautical Publication
Mediterranean Pilot, Vol V, 7th ed. 1999, Hydrographer of the Navy,