Facts About The Minotaur

The Minotaur is a mythical creature usually described as having a man’s body, and the head and tail of a bull. In the Ancient Greek and Roman stories, the Minotaur lived in the middle of a giant maze called The Labyrinth and was killed by the hero Theseus.

Minotaur Facts

  • In Greek mythology, the word Minotaur was a proper noun. The word Minotaur was the name of one individual. In recent times, the word is often used in novels and TV shows to describe a species or race of bull-headed creatures.
  • According to Ancient Greek mythology, the Minotaur was the offspring of Pasiphae (Minos of Crete’s wife) and a white bull. As the Minotaur grew, it became violent and dangerous, and it lived off human flesh.
  • Minos instructed the mastercraftsman Daedalus to build the Labyrinth to house the Minotaur. It was located near his palace in Knossos.
  • Although the Minotaur is commonly shown with the head of a bull on a man’s body, other depictions exist of the creature with a man’s head on a bull’s body.
  • In the Theseus myth, Theseus (a prince from Athens) volunteered to enter the Labyrinth and kill the Minotaur. Aided by Ariadne (Mino’s daughter), Theseus used a ball of thread to mark his route through the maze, and he killed the Minotaur with his bare hands (or a club, or a sword depending on which version you read).
  • Although ruins of a palace have been discovered at Knossos in Crete, no evidence of the Labyrinth has yet been unearthed.
  • The Minotaur makes an appearance in Dante’s Inferno. Virgil distracts the beast by taunting him with details from the Theseus myth.
  • Albert Skira’s 1930s literary magazine was named Minotaure. Over the years, the magazine featured covers by famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Max Ernst.
  • In the short story The House of Asterion, Jorge Luis Borges tells the Minotaur story from the beast’s perspective.
  • Minotaurs featured in the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game developed by Gary Gygax.
  • The Minotaur appears in the 2018 Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey videogame, the Hades videogame from 2020, Total War Saga: Troy, Heroes of Might and Magic, 2002’s Age of Mythology, Kings’s Quest VI, Teros, and in Miitopia.
  • There are numerous movies featuring the Minotaur (or characters based on the Minotaur) including, Time Bandits (1981), Dave Made a Maze (2017), Your Highness (2008), and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1976).
  • Master Minotaur, introduced in Fortnite’s Chapter 2: Season 2, is an Epic Outfit (and costs 1500 V-Bucks).
  • The Minotaur is a minor character in the 2005 Rick Riordan novel Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Theif.
  • Minotaurs appear in the Dragonlance books by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss. The Minotaur Empire is located to the east of the continent of Ansalon.
  • In 2018, a French company called La Machine created a kinetic sculpture of a minotaur. It was more than 15 metres tall, and it marched through the streets of Toulouse in France. It is now located in Halle De La Machine in Toulouse.
  • A statue of Theseus and the Minotaur made by Antonio Canova in the 1780s is on display in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • In Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, there is a statue called The Hare and the Minotaur. It is located on The Promenade and it was designed by the artist Sophie Ryder. It is made of reclaimed scrap metal.
  • A statue of the Minotaur by Michael Ayton is located on the terrace outside the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. It was originally designed for a private estate and found its way to this location after several moves.
  • David Gemmell’s fantasy book Dark Prince features a character based on the Minotaur.
  • Minotaurs feature in the Blood Bowl board game. Some of their star players included Mad Bull Chainspleen, Udder Destruction, Bellow Thunderslam, and Grashnak Blackhoof.