Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

Evans, Arthur J.
The Palace of Minos: a comparative account of the successive stages of the early Cretan civilization as illustred by the discoveries at Knossos (Band 4,2): Camp-stool Fresco, long-robed priests and beneficent genii [...] — London, 1935

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8 ii7. Epilogue: Part II. Legendary and Literary Tradition


The Signet-ring of Minos in Greek legend; Theseus recovers ring with
JLmphitritPs aid; Amphitrittl as reflection of marine aspect of Minoan
Goddess; Records of Minoan masterpieces in Greek Epic; Tradition of
• Double Tomb' of Minos in Sicily ; Epimenides and the Cretan traditions
preserved by DiodSros; Minos' Sicilian Expedition; His fate and ' Temple
Tomb'; Royal Tomb at I so fat a of different type; Hopes borne out by dis-
covery of Temple Tomb at Knossos.

By an interesting coincidence traditional records have survived both
of an episode connected with a signet-ring of Minos, and of the interment
of the last legendary king of that name in a ' double tomb' which, though
constructed overseas, shows a curious correspondence with that to which
the discovery of the Ring directly led on the site of Knossos.

Theseus and the Signet-ring of Minos in Greek Tradition.

Greek heroic tradition, as is well known, had preserved a tale relating"
to the signet-ring of Minos.1

According to this,3 the Cretan king, who had sailed in person to The
Athens to select the captive boys and girls, on his return voyage had J^"^"
a dispute with Theseus, the most noble of them. On Theseus vaunting Minos in


himself to be a son of Poseidon, Minos, the offspring of the Cretan Zeus— legend.
who could bring down the lightning flash as a sign of his own divinity—in
order to test the claim takes off his signet-ring from his finger and casts it
into the sea, bidding the hero to fetch it back. Theseus, diving down,
and mounting on a dolphin, reaches the hall of Amphitrite in the sea depths
and through her and her Nereid train recovers the ring.

The story was illustrated in one of the paintings of Mikon on the
walls of the Theseion, as also on a series of painted vases, including the
famous kylix of Euphronios' and the great krater, known as the ' Fran-

The main features of the story are here from the recently discovered papyrus (see Sir

summarized. So far as literary evidence goes, Frederic G. Kenyon, 7he Poems of Bacchyiides,

it formerly rented on the account given by from a fapyrus in the British Museum, 1S97,

Hygmus ^Astrotwmica, II. 5), and Pausanias I, No. XVII, and p. 153 seqq.).

:7j 2, 3 (cf. Frazer, Pausanias' description of - Theseus is also represented as giving it to

Greece, li, pp. Tj7| ,5S^ To these sources Ariadne.
that of Bacchylides' paean has been now added