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Ophiotaurus by DeviantArt user Valchitsa. Image is copyrighted. Used with permission.

Ophiotaurus was an ancient monster in Greek mythology.  


Ophiotaurus means serpent-bull in Greek, and it's appearance makes name quite self-explanatory. It had the front of a bull with front legs, but lower body was a serpentine tail. Sometimes Ophiotaurus is depicted as an enormous snake with a bull's head. 


Ophiotaurus was a monster born of Gaia, though in some sources it was a creature that came into being from chaos along with Gaia and Ouranos. It had an important role in War of the Heavens. While Ophiotaurus hadn't sided with either gods or titans , the Fates (Moirai) made a potent prophecy at the moment of Ophiotaurus's birth. If someone was to slay it and burn it's entrails in flame, it would ensure victory against the gods.

Gods needed to make sure the creature would never be found. The goddess Styx (also a personification of an underworld river) imprisoned the creature in "a black grove with a triple wall". However, an ally of the titans named Aigaion finds Ophiotaurus and slays it. Before innards were set aflame, eagles sent by Zeus picked them up and carried them high up into the sky.

To honor the fate of Ophiotaurus Zeus set it as the constellation of Taurus and Cetus. The kite bird who escaped with the nearly sacrificed creature's entrails was set as the constellation of Lyra, and for some reason Zeus even lifted the sacrificial altar to the sky as the Ara constellation.


  • Fasti, a poem by Ovid that contains the only mention of Ophiotaurus from ancient times.
  • Titan's Curse (2007), a book by Rick Riordan