Grades 5+

Once upon a time, a magnificent god named Cronus ruled the world. He had many powerful children, including the god of the sky and thunder, Zeus. But Cronus was afraid that one of his children would overthrow him, so he swallowed each one as they were born.

One day, however, Cronus’s wife, Rhea, managed to hide her youngest child, Zeus, from him. She took him to the island of Crete, where she had him raised by a group of nymphs in a cave. Zeus grew up to be a formidable god and eventually decided to confront his father.

Although he was not born there, Crete is considered Zeus’s birthplace. Supposedly, he returns to the cave on Mount Ida to rest from time to time.

This Greek island is also the birthplace of many great men and a tremendous civilization. From around 2000 BCE to 1400 BCE, the Minoan civilization flourished on the island. This advanced Bronze Age culture was known for its impressive architecture, vibrant art, and religious practices. The Minoans developed a complex trading network, trading with other Mediterranean cultures and were also known for their advanced sailing skills and large navy.

The Minoan civilization abruptly ended in about 1450 B.C. A volcano erupted in the Aegean Sea and caused widespread destruction and disruption. Most of the Minoan civilization fell into the sea.

Crete’s vibrant past is still remembered, though, for it was the home of the labyrinth, where the minotaur resided. It was a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man.

The labyrinth that gave rise to the minotaur legend has never been found. But it is said that warriors were sent into its subterranean twists and turns, and when (and if!) they emerged, they had to confront the minotaur. It is very likely that to “confront” the beast meant running at it head-on, grabbing hold of the horns, and doing a flip over its back. If that is the case, then Crete is possibly the birthplace of bullfighting.

Crete Activity 1

Draw and label syntax trees for the following sentences:

    1. A volcano erupted in the Aegean Sea and caused destruction and disruption.
    2. Crete’s past is remembered, for it was the home of the labyrinth.
    3. It was a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man.