Invisible minotuar

Matt: During our minotaur podcast we talked about how the minotaur monster likely has its origins connected to the earthquakes that shook the island of Crete in 1000 BC but, as I pointed out, there is a lag because the minotaur does not appear on pottery until several hundred years later. 

Charlie: Do you think that is because the minotaur story needed some time to develop?

Matt: I don’t. I suspect the story was circulating widely but that the art of the time was not up to the task of recording the minotaur story. Take a look at this classic example of pottery from the protogeometric period that ran between 1050 and 900 BC.  

SOURCE WIKIPEDIA, GREEK POTTERY PERIODS

SOURCE WIKIPEDIA, GREEK POTTERY PERIODS

Charlie: Yeah, that doesn’t look like the sort of art that would have a minotaur on it.

Matt: And take a look at this pottery from the geometric period, which ran from 900 to 600 BC.

SOURCE Minotaur, Attic bilingual eye-cup. Greek, c. 515 BCE. Art Resource, NY.

SOURCE Minotaur, Attic bilingual eye-cup. Greek, c. 515 BCE. Art Resource, NY.

Charlie: I see

Matt: We don’t start seeing pictures, like this one, until around 550 BC. Thus, I’d argue that the lack of minotaur art during earlier periods does not mean that the myth is absent as much as it means that our ancestors were not really ready to paint something this complex yet.