The Minotaur’s Island

The history of Minoan civilization and its mythical monster

The mysterious island of Crete has always loomed large in imagination, as the home of the Minotaur — that monstrous creature, half-man half-bull — imprisoned in Daedalus’ labyrinth.

Before Crete collapsed in fire and violence, it gave birth to Europe’s first civilization nearly 5,000 years ago: The Minoans. This prosperous Mediterranean civilization boasted an advanced technological sophistication, with hinged doors, flush toilets, and magnificent palaces.

But who were the Minoans really? And how did they disappear? To secure the answers, we’re led by presenter and historian Bettany Hughes right to the doorstep of history.

Together with Bettany we’ll follow in the footsteps of Arthur Evans, Harriet Boyd, and other famed archaeologists to find startling new insights into Minoan culture.

We’ll seek the many riddled questions as to how the Minoan people lived, worshipped and prospered. Furthermore, we’ll secure the answers as to why they built such magnificent palaces, elaborate warrens of rooms and what the bull meant to the Minoans.

Fresh evidence excavated from sites all over Crete offers tantalizing clues to the everyday life – and tragic destiny – of the accomplished artisans and architects who lived at the crossroads of the ancient world.

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The Minotaur’s Island
  • Info
  • Release date2003
  • Full runtime49 minutes
  • Presented byBettany Hughes
  • Production companyLion Television Ltd