Pasiphaë (she who shines for all) In Greek mythology, daughter of the Titan sun god Helios and Perseis (Perse); sister of Aeetes, Circe, and Perses; married to King Minos of Crete; mother of Acacallis, Androgeus, Ariadne, Catreus, Deucalion, Euryale, Glaucus, Lycastus, Phaedra, and Xenodice. She was also mother of the Minotaur by the white bull. Minos had requested from the sea god Poseidon a magnificent bull for sacrifice. The god sent a white bull, but Minos substituted another. In revenge, Poseidon had Pasiphaë fall in love with the bull. Daedalus built a wooden cow for Pasiphaë to hide in while having sexual intercourse with the white bull. Their offspring was the Minotaur, half bull and half man. The monster, which fed on human flesh, was hidden in a labyrinth constructed by
Daedalus. Pasiphaë bewitched Minos so that all of his mistresses died after having sexual intercourse with him. Pasiphaë appears in Boccaccio’s Genealogy of the Gods, in which she is a symbol of the soul, while her husband is human. She also appears in Henri de Montherlant’s Pasiphaé with illustrations by Henri Matisse in 1944 and Jean Cocteau in 1948.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante