Telluride Inside…and Out in Greece: Zeus and Festos

Telluride Inside…and Out in Greece: Zeus and Festos

IMGP1958 Telluride Inside… and Out wants to talk bull with you. Mega bull: Zeus when he seduced Europa. Here's the story:

Overwhelmed by love for Europa, a Phoenician princess, Zeus transformed himself into a magnificent white bull and appeared on the sea shore where Europa was playing with her maidens.The great bull walked gently over to where Europa stood and knelt at her feet. Overcoming her natural fear of the great beast, she climbed onto his back. What ensued is the ancient Greeks' answer to date rape.

Still in the form of a bull, Zeus hot-hoofed it over the sea with the maiden to the Mediterranean island of Crete. There, Zeus morphed back into his human form and made love to Europa. Europa became the first queen of Crete and gave birth to three sons: King Minos of Crete (see our earlier post on Knossos),
King Rhadamanthys of the Cyclades Islands, and Prince Sarpedon of Lycia.

IMGP1961 And the point of recounting this legend? Yesterday (October 22) we visited the Minoan palace of Festos with our friends, the Pavlides. Built for the first time circa 2000 BC. – and here's the punch line – its mythical founder was Minos and its first king was his kid brother, Radamanthys.
(In Greece, we've discovered time and again, myth is not myth. It is history.)

Scholars consider Festos the second most important archaeological sites after Knossos, which they left as they found the place. Visitors like us simply appreciated the surroundings, a gentle prow of land that seems to float as in a dream between the Messara Plains and the sky. The crowds that dog your every step at Knossos are absent from this mellow landscape, but having seen Knossos, it was easy to fill in the blanks as we walked the ceremonial staircase, still intact, imagining what the great court must have looked like back in the day.

(Clint Viebrock photos; the boy at Festos is Odysseas Pavlides)


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