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Pasiphaë "From that encounter, the Minotaur would be born, a hybrid being endowed with a human body but with the head of a bull. His name means nothing more than "Bull of Minos". A portrait of Pasiphaë

Minotaur, Ariadne, Theseus, Aegeus, Androgeos

Mythology shorts pasipha

In Greek mythology, Pasiphaë (/pəˈsɪf./; Greek: Πασιφάη Pasipháē, "wide-shining") was the daughter of Helios, the Sun, by the eldest of the Oceanids, Perse.


"Pasiphae entering the hollow cow" by Giulio Romano (15th century)

Morten lauridsen mid winter songs 1 lament for pasipha


Pasiphae, 1943 by Jackson Pollock

Like her doublet Europa, her origins were in the East, in her case at Colchis, she was the sister of Circe, and she was given in marriage to King Minos of Crete. With Minos, she was the mother of Acacallis, Ariadne, Androgeus, Glaucus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Xenodice, and Catreus. She was also the mother of "starlike" Asterion, called by the Greeks the Minotaur, after a curse from Poseidon caused her to experience lust for and mate with a white bull sent by Poseidon. "The Bull was the old pre-Olympian Poseidon," Ruck and Staples remark.

Pasiphaë and the Minotaur, Attic red-figure kylix found at Etruscan Vulci in Italy. Now exhibited at Cabinet des Médailles, Paris

In the Greek literalistic understanding of a Minoan myth, in order to actually copulate with the bull, she had the Athenian artificer Daedalus construct a portable wooden cow with a cowhide covering, within which she was able to satisfy her strong desire. The effect of the Greek interpretation was to reduce a more-than-human female, daughter of the Sun itself, to a stereotyped emblem of grotesque bestiality and the shocking excesses of female sensuality and deceit. Pasiphaë appeared in Virgil's Eclogue VI (45–60), in Silenus' list of suitable mythological subjects, on which Virgil lingers in such detail that he gives the sixteen-line episode the weight of a brief inset myth. In Ovid's Ars Amatoria Pasiphaë is reduced to unflattering human terms: Pasiphae fieri gaudebat adultera tauri—"Pasiphaë took pleasure in becoming an adulteress with a bull."

Daedalus presents the artificial cow to Pasiphaë: Roman fresco in the House of the Vettii, Pompeii, 1st century CE.

In other aspects, Pasiphaë, like her niece Medea, was a mistress of magical herbal arts in the Greek imagination. The author of Bibliotheke (3.197-198) records the fidelity charm she placed upon Minos, who would ejaculate serpents, scorpions, and centipedes killing any unlawful concubine; but Procris, with a protective herb, lay with Minos with impunity. In mainland Greece, Pasiphaë was worshipped as an oracular goddess at Thalamae, one of the original koine of Sparta. The geographer Pausanias describes the shrine as small, situated near a clear stream, and flanked by bronze statues of Helios and Pasiphaë. His account also equates Pasiphaë with Ino and the lunar goddess Selene.

Cicero writes in De Divinatione 1.96 that the Spartan ephors would sleep at the shrine of Pasiphaë, seeking prophetic dreams to aid them in governance. According to Plutarch, Spartan society twice underwent major upheavals sparked by ephors' dreams at the shrine during the Hellenistic era. In one case, an ephor dreamed that some of his colleagues' chairs were removed from the agora, and that a voice called out "this is better for Sparta"; inspired by this, King Cleomenes acted to consolidate royal power. Again during the reign of King Agis, several ephors brought the people into revolt with oracles from Pasiphaë's shrine promising remission of debts and redistribution of land.

Possible celestial deity

In Description of Greece, Pausanias equates Pasiphaë with Selene, implying that the figure was worshipped as a lunar deity. However, further studies on Minoan religion indicate that the sun was a female figure, suggesting instead that Pasiphaë was originally a solar goddess, an interpretation consistent with her depiction as Helios' daughter. Poseidon's bull may in turn be vestigial or the lunar bull prevalent in middle-eastern religions.

Pasiphae appears in the BBC One fantasy drama series Atlantis. Here she seems to be the main antagonist. As Ariadne's domineering stepmother, she disapproves of her attraction to Jason and tries to kill the hero several times. Her sister, Circe, seems to hold a grudge against her and asks Jason to help kill her. The last episode of season 1 (Touched by the Gods part 2) revealed that she is the mother of Jason. She thought he died after she cursed her husband and they fled to our world. She is portrayed by Sarah Parish. Pasiphaë is also the name of the spa inside the hotel in the BBC's Doctor Who episode "The God Complex".

Pasiphaë is a major antagonist in Rick Riordan's 2013 fantasy novel The House of Hades. In this novel, she is portrayed as an immortal sorceress and former wife of the late King Minos. Having grown bitter towards the gods after the events of the Minoan myth, Pasiphaë allies with the goddess Gaea and her giant army to overthrow the Olympian gods. She is confronted and defeated by Hazel Levesque, a demigod daughter of Pluto, who had been trained in sorcery by the goddess Hecate. In this novel, it is revealed that the Labyrinth is tied to her life force as much as Daedalus's, thereby rendering the infamous inventor's sacrifice in the previous series useless.


Pasiphaë Wikipedia