The island was inhabited solely by women, who enjoyed a free society secluded from the tyranny of men. The priestesses of Thera maintained the Temple of the Horse and conducted rites for the appeasement of the Minotaur. This mythical beast was believed to be chained beneath the mountain and when angry would shake his chains to cause earthquakes or break free in the form of a volcanic eruption. Kings sent unmarried daughters to the island in exchange for gold and silver. Here, the young princesses received training in archery, horseriding, poetry and other arts, while performing tribute rites to the Minotaur which required virgins of royal blood to perform.
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