Posted on 22 November 2014
Several of the Lines have names that are not what the original civilization would have called themselves. We use the names these cultures have been given by descendents, archeologists and historians from later times. All of these people, these givers of names, did so with their own agendas and their own biases.
In Greek mythology, the island of Crete was ruled over by the great King Minos, a key participant in several legends. As the myth goes, Minos was the half-human son of Zeus, and the Gods gave him the gift of his kingdom. But Minos was prideful and angered the Gods, and they punished him by sending a monster to ravage the island – the Minotaur.
Crete was home to another great figure of Greek myth - the crafty inventor Daedelus, who built the labyrinth that imprisoned the Minotaur. When he finished constructing the maze, King Minos exiled him to live within it, along with his son, Icarus. And so Icarus, through no fault of his own, was sent to live in a prison with a monster.
For years, Icarus lived in his prison. Years in captivity left him grasping for any hint of freedom. He yearned for wide open spaces, for freedom and open skies.
Finally, he and his father escaped the Labyrinth. Trying to flee from Crete and the wrath of King Minos, he constructed a set of wings from wax that would allow him to fly away. After spending so much time in the dark, Icarus couldn’t resist flying higher and higher into the sky, against the express warning of his father.
And, as we all know, Daedelus was right. When Icarus flew too high, the sun melted his wings and Icarus plunged to his death.
All of this happened centuries before the Minoans flourished on Crete. If it happened at all.
Perhaps none of it is true. We have no idea what the Minoans really called themselves. If they could hear us now, perhaps they would have no idea what were were talking about, have no clue about what we ascribe to their culture.
In truth, Students, this lesson diverged from where I originally intended it to go. But I’m not going to rewrite it. Sometimes, diversions can lead to the Truth. And because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the Minoans were actually called Minoans. It doesn’t matter if the stories about King Minos are true, or if he was a demi-god, or if Minos was merely the title that the Kings of Crete handed down to each other and there never was a real King Minos.
The real name doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the Truth is recognized. Followed. Served. Everything else is irrelevant.