Minotaur::theseus    Minos::greek    Crete::minotaur    Pasipha::dante    Which::category    Novel::first

{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} In Greek mythology, the Minotaur ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}},<ref name="collins_english">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}};<ref name="collins_american">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Ancient Greek: Μῑνώταυρος{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} [miːnɔ̌ːtau̯ros], Latin: Minotaurus{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, Etruscan Θevrumineś), was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man<ref>"Minotaur" at</ref> or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, "part man and part bull".<ref>semibovemque virum semivirumque bovem, according to Ovid, Ars Amatoria 2.24, one of the three lines that his friends would have deleted from his work, and one of the three that he, selecting independently, would preserve at all cost, in the apocryphal anecdote told by Albinovanus Pedo. (noted by J. S. Rusten, "Ovid, Empedocles and the Minotaur" The American Journal of Philology 103.3 (Autumn 1982, pp. 332-333) p. 332.</ref> He dwelt at the center of the Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction<ref>In a counter-intuitive cultural development going back at least to Cretan coins of the 4th century BCE, many visual patterns representing the Labyrinth do not have dead ends like a maze; instead, a single path winds to the center. See Kern, Through the Labyrinth, Prestel, 2000, Chapter 1, and Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth, Cornell University Press, 1990, Chapter 2.</ref> designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.

The term Minotaur derives from the Ancient Greek Μῑνώταυρος{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, a compound of the name Μίνως{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} (Minos) and the noun ταύρος{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} "bull", translated as "(the) Bull of Minos". In Crete, the Minotaur was known by its proper name, Asterion,<ref>Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 1</ref> a name shared with Minos' foster-father.<ref>The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women fr. 140, says of Zeus' establishment of Europa in Crete: "...he made her live with Asterion the king of the Cretans. There she conceived and bore three sons, Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys."</ref>

"Minotaur" was originally a proper noun in reference to this mythical figure. The use of "minotaur" as a common noun to refer to members of a generic species of bull-headed creatures developed much later, in 20th-century fantasy genre fiction.

Minotaur sections
Intro  Birth and appearance  Theseus and the Minotaur  Etruscan view  Interpretations  The Minotaur in Dante's Inferno  Surrealist Art  Contemporary Minotaur Fiction  Popular culture  See also  Notes  References  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Birth and appearance