That’s No Bull: The Minoans And Their Fascination With Bovines

By Karen Harris
The Toreador Fresco illustrates the Minoan fascination with bulls. Late Bronze Age 1550 1450 BC. Court of the Stone Spout, Knossos, Crete. (Photo by Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

The Minoan culture controlled Crete, an island in the Mediterranean Sea south of Greece from about 2000 to 1600 BCE. Theirs was a sophisticated and advanced society. One of the earliest European civilizations, the Minoans had running water and paved roads, for instance, long before other cultures. They created beautiful, intricate mosaics, as well as other, pieces of art. For such a cultured group of people, they had one theme that permeated through their entire society…their worship of the bull. Let’s look at how the bull became a symbol of Crete and how the Minoan bull cult led to some enduring myths and legends.