Everybody knows the classic myth, don’tcha? King Minos of Mycenae (modern-day Crete) was given a snow white bull from Poseidon, the god of the Oceans. He pledged to sacrifice this bull, but decided to keep it for himself instead. In retaliation, Poseidon made Minos’s queen, Pasiphae, fall in love with the bull. She and the bull consummated the relationship, she became with child, and the creature born to her was the Minotaur, a fearsome beast with the head and hooves of a bull and the body of a man that ate human flesh. Minos had the inventor Daedalus construct a labyrinth beneath Minos’s palace at Knossos, wherein he imprisoned the Minotaur. Greece had lost a war with the Mycenaeans, and as consequence of suing for peace had to send seven male youths and seven female youths every seven years, and these teens were sacrificed to the Minotaur. (The original Hunger Games!) This kept up until the demigod Theseus, son of Poseidon, killed the Minotaur. It’s a great story. It’s also true, in a sense.
The palace at Knossos, discovered in 1900 by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, is an enormous structure containing multiple rooms, stairways, hallways, all twisting and labyrinthine. Many scholars have theorized that the palace served as the inspiration for the labyrinth of the story, especially since there really *was* a maneating monster that lived there. Many maneating monsters, in fact. Remains of multiple human sacrifices and cannibalism have been found at the palace. Also, the Mycenaeans worshipped bulls (in actuality enormous aurochs of the size of small elephants). You can easily see how, if the Greeks of dim prehistory had had to provide youths to the Mycenaeans as part of a tribute, and that these youths were then sacrificed and eaten by the Mycenaeans, the Minotaur became the personification of an entire bloodthirsty, cannibalistic, aurochs-worshipping people. Perhaps Theseus’s killing of the Minotaur represents the Greeks finally defeating their ancient enemy and putting an end to those tributes.