Pasiphaë is best known for two things. The first, and better known of the two, was that she had an insatiable need to have sex with a bull. Not just any bull, but a bull that Poseidon gave her husband, king Minos. So the legend goes, her husband was supposed to sacrifice the bull back to Poseidon, but decided to keep it. In response, Poseidon was like, “Hey Pasiphaë, you know what’d be real good right now? Bull penis.” So she had the court inventor, Daedalus, build her a hollowed-out wooden cow so that she could have sex with the bull.
She later gave birth to the Minotaur. Daedalus got busy building a labyrinth.
The second thing she was well-known for was ruining her husband’s sex life. Being a powerful sorceress (her sister was Circe) and knowing that her husband was cheating on her, she made a charm such that if he slept with anyone save her, he would ejaculate serpents, scorpions, and millipedes. Gross.
She made a charm such that if he slept with anyone save her, he would ejaculate serpents, scorpions, and millipedes.
So what’s the deal? As best as historians are able to determine, they were the same legend. Europa was the Minoan version, and Pasiphaë the Greek one. When the Greeks rolled through and conquered Crete, they essentially rewrote things. Instead of her being a powerful and in-charge woman, she was a depraved and lustful pawn. Their way of breaking Minoan traditions and bending it to their own ends. Dick move, guys.
- Her laurel garland makes two horns (she was often depicted with a horned crown, being a bull goddess).
- The night sky in the background is the Taurus constellation, naturally.
- The setting is a direct copy of king Minos’s palace at Knossos (which really exists).
- The cow is modeled after a native breed local to that region called the Greek shorthair.
- The only severe inaccuracy I’m aware of is that the cow was supposed to be on wheels – probably a reference to an actual statue that the ancient Minoans used. I liked it better with hooves though.
- Oh, and the lady in the background is wiping scorpions off her chest and there are some in her hair. Make of that what you will.