The Cradle of the West

The people of Crete tell of a destitute woman who…pregnant with her unborn child…left her husband and traveled across the azure sea, to have the baby in the peace and safety of their island. In an isolated cave deep in the mountains, she gave birth to a baby boy. The story of how he was raised has many versions. My favorite: Fearful of the father’s reach, Rhea moved her infant son to an even more remote cave where a goat-goddess helped her nurse. In the coming years, a wolf-matriarch would raise the child into a healthy and formidable young god.

It was inevitable that Zeus would leave this mountain hideaway to confront his bestial Dad, a Titan by the name of Chronos. During their struggle, Zeus forced him to vomit up all his brothers and sisters. Being gods, they were alive and well. (Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, & Hera.) The three brothers and three sisters joined forces to defeat and depose Chronos and his Titan cronies. That done, the children of Chronos and Rhea assumed control over their own individual spheres of Creation, moved to Mt. Olympus (with the exception of Hades), and established themselves as the original Olympian gods and goddesses.

Plakias beach sunset (2)
Southern Crete Sunset, 2013

Years later Zeus would return to central Crete, after swimming across the eastern Mediterranean in the form of a white bull and with princess Europa (daughter of a Phoenician king)  on his back. Once on Cretan soil, Zeus resumed his godly form and together, they followed the shady course of a river, deep into the Mesara Plain. There, Zeus and Europa conceived the rulers of the Minoan Civilization and the peoples that would populate Europe.

Can there be any doubt that Crete is the cradle of western civilization?

Signed:  Daedalus    20 December 2017

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