Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth and Reality
The half-bull figure of the Minotaur always captures the imagination of NCS boys studying Greek mythology. It also stands as a fitting metaphor for the claims made by Sir Arthur Evans, former Keeper of the Ashmolean, concerning his excavation, partial reconstruction, and interpretation of the ruins of ancient Knossos.
The maze-like palace, adorned with bull imagery, he believed, inspired the myth of the Minotaur imprisoned in the labyrinth. This was the theme of the Ashmolean’s latest exhibition, Labyrinth, visited by Years 7 and 8 in June. The boys were intrigued by the many artefacts and theories arising from them about the Minoan civilisation, which takes its name from the mythical Cretan, King Minos. The exhibition provoked food for thought on the relationship between myth, history, and archaeology, as well as the ethics and politics of archaeology in the age of the British Empire: Classics meets RSP! The exhibition’s juxtaposition of old and new was a source of keen interest: boys saw a 3D-printed model of Knossos, brought to life with the aid of an iPad. A film showing how the myth and city merge in the video game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was also a big hit with the gamers.