Theseus and the Minotaur

Long ago Minos was King of the island of Crete. He was very rich and more powerful than all the other kings in the area. He lived in a huge palace with many rooms. Below the palace he had built a Labyrinth, a huge maze of twisting passages. In this maze lived a Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull. This Minotaur had the head of a bull and the body of a man and needed to eat fourteen young people every year. King Minos used to feed him the young people from the kingdoms he beat in wars.

He fought a war with Athens and won but his own son was killed in the war. When his son was killed he demanded as a punishment that seven young men and seven young women from Athens would be sent to Crete to feed to the Minotaur. Theseus, the son of King Aegius of Athens said that he would go and kill the Minotaur and save the young people of Athens. His father did not want Theseus to go because he feared the Minotaur would kill his son. Theseus was determined to kill the Minotaur, as that would be the only to stop the killing of more young people from Athens. He insisted that he should be the one to go to Crete. He told his father not to worry because he would kill the Minotaur. To stop his father from worrying about him he said that he would have white sails on his ship instead of the usual black sails when he returned from Crete to show he was still alive.

Theseus and the other young people sailed for Crete not knowing if they would ever come back to Athens. When they arrived in Crete they were given a meal in King Minos house and then they were taken to the dungeons for the night before sent in to the Minotaur. Ariadne, the daughter of Minos saw Theseus and fell in love with him. She came to him in the dungeons. She offered to help him if he would agree to marry her and take her back to Athens. Theseus promised he would do as she asked if she would help him to escape from the Labyrinth. Ariadne told Theseus how to get to the centre of the Labyrinth. She gave him a sword and a ball of golden thread. She told him to roll out the thread as he went so that he would be able to find his way out after he had killed the Minotaur.

The next day the fourteen young people from Athens were brought to the entrance of the Labyrinth and locked in. When they were inside Theseus told the others to remain near the entrance and he went on to find the Minotaur. He tied the end of the thread to the gates and rolled out the thread. Theseus followed the directions of Ariadne. He turned and twisted through the passages of the maze around and around until he found the Minotaur.

When the Minotaur saw Theseus he charged at him. Theseus jumped out of the way and again the Minotaur charged. The Minotaur threw Theseus to the ground and was about to kill Theseus with his horns when Theseus stuck the sword in the neck of the Minotaur. The Minotaur fell to the ground. The beast struggled up and tried to charge again but Theseus stuck his sword into the monster again and this time it went through its heart and the Minotaur fell dead.

Theseus found his way back pulling the thread as he ran to where the others were waiting. The gates were open. Together they went to their ship where Ariadne was waiting for them. They sailed for Athens across the sea. Theseus forgot to raise the white sails as he had promised. His father Aegius had been waiting on the top of the cliff beside Athens for his son to return. When he saw the ship with the black sails he thought his son was dead. He gave out a loud cry. He was so saddened he jumped off the cliff and killed himself on the rocks below. So when Theseus came home there was great rejoicing and great sorrow for him. He had saved the young people of Athens but he had lost his father.

To make a frieze depicting the events of the story
1.  Decide on the main parts of the story.
2.  Make a list of the main parts of the story.
3.  Count the number of parts you are going to have in the frieze.
4.  Mark out roughly on the sheet the place where each part of the story is going to be pictured using pencils. If you need to change  anything you can use a pencil eraser or rubber.
5.  Discuss the ways men and women dressed at that time in Greece.
6.  Discuss the colours you are going to use.
7.  Agree on what each person is going to do in making the frieze.
8.  Mark out in detail the different parts of the frieze again using pencils.
9.  Colour in the full frieze.
10.  Display the frieze in your classroom.
11.  You might be able to take a digital picture of your work to display on your school website.