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.
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.