F. C. H. Birch, Courtesy of Sonia Halliday Photographs

Lithe bull-jumpers engage in acrobatics that put modern gymnasts to shame—one slip often meant death under the cruel horns of the bull. This fresco, discovered in the Palace at Knossos by Evans, portrays ritual games honoring a Minean deity in which trained acrobats grasped the bull’s horns, vaulted on the back of the charging beast and then somersaulted nimbly to the ground. The woman “toreador,” at right, probably acted as a catcher.