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 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts in Ancient Greece

Bull and acrobat

Height: 11.1 cm
Width: 4.7 cm
Depth: 15 cm


GR 1966.3-28.1

Bull and acrobat

From: Crete
Date: 1700-1450 BC

One Greek story says that a fierce half-man, half-bull creature called the Minotaur lived under the palace of King Minos on the island of Crete. Although no trace has been found of the Minotaur, it was clear that bulls were very important to the Minoans who lived on Crete.

There are many Minoan pictures of the dangerous sport of bull-leaping, in which young men and women somersaulted over the horns of a charging bull. This bronze sculpture shows one of these acrobats (their legs are now missing) flipping backwards to land on the bull's back.