Pasiphae

Pasiphae, “The Moon that illuminates us”

"The legend says that Pasiphae, a beautiful princess from Colchis, daughter of Helios, God of the Sun and of Perseus, was offered to Minos, son of Zeus God of the Heavens and Earth, and Europe.

Pasiphae and Minos had four sons: Catreus, Deucalion, Glaucus and Androgeus and four daughters: Acacallis, Jenodice, Ariadne and Freda.

When Asterion the king of Crete died, Minos was proclaimed king and to justify that the gods had preferred him, he asked Poseidon the God of the Sea to grant him a wish as proof of his blessing.

Minos asked Poseidon to send him a bull to be sacrificed in his name. Poseidon agreed and from the waters of the Mediterranean a magnificent white bull emerged of such extraordinary bravery and beauty that astonished the young king.

However, the king decided not to sacrifice this magnificent specimen and go back on his promise to Poseidon. Poseidon found out and became furious and in his wrath and vengeance decided to bewitch Minos's wife Pasiphae and make her fall madly and passionately in love with the white bull.

Pasiphae, to satisfy this unnatural desire, called on Daedalus one of the most renowned sculptors and artisans of the age to make her a life size wooden cow, hollowed out inside and covered with animal skin. She ordered Daedalus once finished to set it down in the middle of the meadow so that the great white bull could see it. She hid inside the cow and waited.

The bull on seeing this beautiful young cow was overcome with desire and rushed over to consume his passion. And so, from this unnatural union a beast was born: Asterion the Minotaur.

Minos was alerted by the oracles but didn't dare to kill this beast with the head and tail of a bull and the body of a human, so he commissioned Daedalus to build him a maze where he could enclose this man-eating monster.

The king of Crete demanded every year from Athens the sacrifice of seven young men and seven young women who were left to their fate inside the labyrinth.

Theseus, prince of Athens, decided to save his people and go into the maze and kill the Minotaur. With the help of Ariadne, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, he managed to escape from the labyrinth after killing the beast, with the help of a silken thread spun for him by Ariadne, his lover.

Theseus freed all the people in the Mediterranean from the terror of the Minotaur."

Pasiphae, sculpted by Òscar Estruga is made of three tons of copper and is set facing the shores of the Mediterranean sea, the same waters that bathe the island of Crete.

Vilanova i la Geltrú recognize in Pasiphae the union of all the people and civilizations around the Mediterranean.

Photo courtesy of Xavi Jurio

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