884 RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY OF GREEKSIII.THE DEBT OFGREEK RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY TO THEIRMINOAN-MYCENAEAN PREDECESSORSIt cannot be doubted that Greek religion of the historic periodowed an immense amount to that of Minoan Crete and theMycenaean mainland; but to prove this in detail is naturallydifficult in view of the ambiguity of much of the evidence forMinoan-Mycenaean religion
Representations of Greekmyth and belief have been eagerly sought in Minoan-Mycenaeanart, but amount to little more than a probable Europa on the bull(Fig. 17) and a possible Zeus with the scales of destiny.
On theother hand the mythological links connecting Greece with Creteare many and important. The whole Minotaur complex, beginningwith the love of Pasiphae, wife of Minos, for a bull, and includingthe labyrinth (a non-Greek word) and the story of the tribute ofAthenian youths and maidens, of Theseus and Ariadne, is anotable example linking Crete and Cretan customs with Myce-naean Athens. Daedalus does the same. Glaucus, who is found inmany parts of the Greek world, was said to be a son of Minos, andthere seem to be some grounds for connecting certain elementsin his story, especially the manner of his death by falling intoa large jar full of honey, with pre-Greek customs of the Aegeanarea.
The names of the Cretan heroines or nymphs Pasiphae('all-shining'), Ariadne ('very holy' or 'very visible'), Phaedra('bright'), Dictynna ('she of Mount Dicte'), Britomartis (notGreek, but said by Greek grammarians to mean 'good' or 'sweetmaiden' in the Cretan tongue), like that of Glaucus ('grey-green
and suggest that the Greeks, with theirgenius for concreteness and personification, may have madeseparate personalities out of invocations to a single great Cretangoddess or god in different capacities. Some they translated, toothers they attached a fanciful Greek etymology (e.g.
a net, for Dictynna, itself the genesis of a new myth).
There isother evidence that Pasiphae, Ariadne and Helen herself wereCretan goddesses, or aspects of
goddess, connected with moon-worship or tree-cult. Britomartis and Dictynna became for theGreeks nymphs attendant on Artemis, herself the Greek successorof the Cretan Mistress of Animals.
See Plate 181. Discussion in
9, 348". Nilsson is convinced of the scales ofdestiny, but cf. §1, 3, 290, and §n, 3, 146.
§11, 14, ch. 1.
14, ch. v.
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