Vanni/Art Resource, NY

This bronze and gold libation vase in the form of a bull was unearthed at Mycenae. For the Minoans, whose culture considerably influenced the Mycenaeans, bulls were especially revered.

The infamous Minotaur, half human, half bull, was born to the wife of king Minos, Pasiphae, after she mated with a bull, a punishment inflicted by the gods after her husband failed to sacrifice a bull to Poseidon. On Minos’s orders, the creature lived in the labyrinth and ate the unfortunate people who ended up in the maze—until the Greek hero Theseus killed it.