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The Minotaur was a Greek monster that was part man and part bull. It lived in the centre of a Labyrinth on the island of Crete, built by Daedalus to hold the Minotaur from causing destruction. The Minotaur was born when King Minos's wife fell in love with a Bull (Poseidon cursed her.)

Myth

Minotaur actually literally means Minos’s Bull. A white bull was sent to Minos, the king of Crete, by the god Poseidon for sacrifice. Minos, instead of sacrificing it, kept it alive. Poseidon as a punishment made Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, fall in love with it. Pasiphae gave birth to a baby with the head of a bull. Minos then locked locked up the minotaur in the Labyrinth built by Daedalus.

Greek mythology includes the tale of his downfall at the hands of a young man, named Theseus. King Minos held a feast every year to celebrate a sacrifice he extracted in revenge for his son's death at the hand of the vanquished Athenians during a past war. Every year fourteen Athenians (seven males and seven maidens) were released into the Labyrinth to be hunted and feasted upon by the Minotaur. On the third year of this celebration Theseus volunteered to become one of the sacrifices in order to slay the beast. Upon his arrival in Crete, he and both of the king's daughters Phaedra and Ariadne fell madly in love, and when he entered the Labyrinth, it was with a gift of a ball of twine from Ariadne so as to guide him out of the treacherous passages in which the beast made it's home. Theseus killed the Minotaur and retraced his steps using the twine.

Popular Culture

Modern depictions often show the minotaur as having the legs of a bull, while older depictions of the minotaur have a human body with a bull's head, and occasionally a bull's tail.

Films

  • A Minotaur has a small role in the opening of the 2013 animated film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue-Falcon.
  • A Minotaur appears in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

Video Games

  • Minotaurs appear in all Scribblenauts games.
  • Minotaurs appear in Age of Mythology. They are available to the Greeks as myth units when the player chooses to worship Athena.
  • A Minotaur appears in Poptropica in the world "Mythology."
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