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Fresco found in Knossos palace, Crete, Greece, dated 1600 - 1450 BC (CC0)

Minos Taurus The Bull Of Knossos

I am the bull of Knossos, where rich Minoans live amidst painted splendour. On the island of Crete I am surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, by mountains and plains, by bronze, by plaster, by amphorae of wine. On the extensive fresco painted upon a wall of the Central Court at Knossos I am light brown in hue, my long horns pointing forward, my neck a solid arc of muscle. My hooves are yellow, my tail whisking high in the air. They wish to tame me through such perilous sports, but I am a wild animal.

Bull Leaping

They approach me as I charge at them, youths all of them, male and female, walking, though not at speed. Their faces bear a variety of expressions, some excited, some exhilarated, some showing signs of fear. At the last moment before impact, they reach out with both hands, grabbing my horns and leaping up, using their momentum and my horns to perform a somersault over my back and land behind me.

Fresco depicting the audience at Knossos (Image: Courtesy Micki Pistorius)

Fresco depicting the audience at Knossos (Image: Courtesy Micki Pistorius)


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