Phaedra – Poor Little Princess

A little background about Phaedra and her family:

She came from a powerful, royal family. Her father was King Minos once ruler of Krete. It was the king’s name Sir Arthur Evans (British archaeologist who discovered the palace of Knossos) had given to the pre-Greek civilisation on the island—the Minoans. There is evidence to suggest it was these same people who gave rise to Plato’s story about Atlantis and Santorini (Thera) was the island the philosopher wrote about.

Phaedra was one of seven children. Her sister Ariadne was renown in Greek mythology as she was the one who helped Theseus find his way out of the labyrinth: Theseus and the Minotaur legend. They lived a privileged life on Krete and the palace, which was an engineering and architectural accomplishment, signified the supremacy of the Kretans. It was a thalassocracy—a sea power—and a wall frieze discovered at the site of Akrotiri on Santorini, illustrated the coming and going of fleets.

Flotilla Miniature Frieze
Flotilla Miniature Frieze

In her words:

Luciana has kindly allowed me to introduce myself to you. She thought it would be best if I spoke to you and tell a little about myself. A fine idea as no-one knows me better than I do.

I am Phaedra Queen of Athens, wife of King Theseus, daughter of King Minos. I once lived in a beautiful palace on the isle of Krete.

I guess you heard about what my mother did, lusting after a bull and bearing a hybrid. Asterion was his name but you may know him as the Minotaur. My father built a labyrinth and imprisoned Asterion.

Enough of that, this is supposed to be about me!

I was very privileged and didn’t want for much. Lovely dresses, jewellery, toys, anything I desired. I was also educated. My father made sure we learned about the purpose of treaties and negotiations with other civilisations.

Things changed when father was murdered and my brother Deucalion inherited the throne. That’s when I was introduced to Theseus. It was arranged that we’d marry and the cities unite, strengthening our power. It was a duty I had to fulfil and being the eldest daughter after Ariadne disappeared, it fell to me.

I didn’t intend to fall in love with Hippolytos, Theseus’ son. It just happened. I made overtures but he refused them. I was not used to rejection. After all, I always got what I wanted. I even used my nurse to try and persuade him but that didn’t work. His words were harsh. I was left with only one option. It proved to be rather effective.

I don’t regret my actions or what happened next. In the end, the gods punish those who believe they are better than others. As for me, it was the most honourable thing I had ever done.

If you have any questions for me, please contact Luciana. She knows how to get in touch with me.

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  1. Aquileana

    Such an interesting post on Queen Phaedra and Minoans…

    I didn´t know that these same people supposedly gave rise to Plato’s story about Atlantis, being Santorini (Thera) the island about which he wrote about in “The Republic”… Really interesting.

    I loved the introduction you proposed us in the second part of the post. Those words in first person, being Phaedra the one who speaks telling us about her love for Hippolytos and her her feeling of not regreating the further consequences or her actions. I found “her (your) speech” touching and inspiring.

    Best regards, Luciana,

    Aquileana 🙂


    • cav12

      Thank you Aquileana! There has been a number of documentaries and evidence to prove the Minoans was the race that inspired Plato’s moral story of Atlantis. The most recent was by British historian Bettany Hughes and she provides substantial links between Plato’s story, the Minoan culture and the destruction of Atlantis.
      So glad you enjoyed the post.


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