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Minotaur


The Minotaur is a fearsome half-man, half-bull creature who lives in the Labyrinth and eats the flesh of the people who become trapped in the maze.

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King Minos of Crete requested a white bull from Poseidon to show his support of his quest to rule Crete over his brothers. Rather than sacrifice the bull to Poseidon, as he was supposed to, he chose to keep it instead. To punish him for his disobedience, Poseidon made Minos’ wife, Queen Pasiphae, fall madly in love with the bull and the Minotaur was the result of this affair.

In some versions of the myth, Queen Pasiphae, in a conversation with Daedalus, expressed that she didn’t believe in the gods and goddesses—especially Aphrodite, which angered Aphrodite. Meanwhile, King Minos sought out a white bull for his own amusement, as he had a particular fascination with white bulls. Aphrodite sent a white bull that was the most splendid in all of the land, and made Queen Pasiphae fell in love with it.

The Minotaur was a fearsome half-man, half-bull creature that loved to eat human flesh. His head was the head of a bull, the body that of a man's, with hooves and giant black horns that stuck out from the top of his head. As he grew older, he became so terrible that Minos had Daedalus build him a Labyrinth. The Minotaur lived in the middle of the Labyrinth and ate the flesh of people who became trapped in the maze.

King Minos had a quarrel with King Aegeus because his son had been killed in Athens. As payment, Aegeus had to send seven young men and seven young women to the Labyrinth for the Minotaur. King Aegeus’ son Theseus finally became tired of this annual tribute, volunteered himself, and vowed to kill the Minotaur. King Minos’ daughter Ariadne fell in love with Theseus at first sight and gave him a magic ball of string to help him find his way back out of the maze if he survived. He took the string and tracked down the Minotaur, killing him with his expert wrestling skills and creating a spear out of one of the Minotaur’s horns. He made his way back out of the maze and escaped with Ariadne.

Minotaur Quick Reference

Parents

Queen Pasiphae and the Cretan Bull


Notable Myths

  • King Minos’ Disobedience
  • Daedalus’ Labyrinth
  • Theseus

Attributes and Symbols

Half-man, half bull with a bull head and horns and the body of a man



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