Minotaur Gifts

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Minotaur Gifts

Minotaurs are found in Greek Mythology and are a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man.


Minotaur

What is the Minotaur?
The Minotaur is a creature from Greek mythology that had the head of a bull and the body of a man. As the legend explains, King Minos of Crete received a beautiful bull from the god Poseidon, which he was meant to sacrifice to the God who gave it to him. Enamored with the bull's beauty, Minos sacrificed a different bull instead. As a punishment, the goddess Aphrodite made Minos' wife fall in love with the bull, and she bore the bull what became the Minotaur.

According to Greek mythology, the Minotaur was housed in an enormous labyrinth that Minos had constructed once the Minotaur grew up and became ferocious. Fourteen young Athenians, seven of each sex, were said to be sent into the labyrinth at intervals as sacrifices to and fodder for the Minotaur. The Minotaur was slain by the hero Theseus, who used a ball of string given to him by his lover, Ariadne, to guide himself and the sacrificial Athenians from the labyrinth.

Despite the Minotaur's origin in a single myth, it has more recently come to be the inspiration behind minotaurs, a species of creatures designed in the Minotaur's likeness and popular in more modern fiction.

Foreign Names for the Minotaur

Afrikaans: Minotourus
Albanian: Minotauri
Azerbaijani: Minotavr
Basque: Minotauro
Breton: Minotaoros
Catalan: Minotaure
Corsican: Minotauru
Czech: Mínotaurus
Danish: Minotauros
Dutch: Minotaurus
Esperanto: Minotauro
Estonian: Minotauros
Finnish: Minotauros
French: Minotaure
Galician: Minotauro
German: Minotauros
Greek: Minotauros
Hungarian: Minótaurosz
Irish: Míonótár
Italian: Minotauro
Latin: Minotaurus
Lithuanian: Minotauras
Luxembourgish: Minotauros
Norwegian: Minotauros
Portuguese: Minotauro
Slovak: Minótauros
Slovenian: Minotaver
Spanish: Minotauro
Swedish: Minotauros
Tagalog: Minotauro
Turkish: Minotor

Other Names: Asterion, the Minotauros, Minos' bull

History: It is unknown exactly when the myth of the Minotaur arose, as it was likely spread by oral tradition long before it was written down. The first literary reference to the Minotaur was written, at the latest, by the seventh or eighth century, BCE. Since then, the Minotaur has been a recurring subject in classical art and literature, both in reference and as the major subject of a work. The Minotaur remains present in much more modern art and literature.

Iconic Symbols: The Minotaur tends to be associated with significant symbols from the folklore surrounding it. It is most widely associated with the labyrinth given that it lived in the Cretan labyrinth. The Minotaur is also associated with the sword of Aegeus, with which Theseus slayed it. It may also be associated with Ariadne's thread, which she gave to Theseus to help him escape the labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur.

Meanings: The Minotaur, as the result of a union of human and beast, represents the meeting of opposites. Because the Minotaur has the body of a human but the head of a beast, it also represents the governing of humans by their bestial instincts. By extension, the Minotaur also represents these instincts within all humans.


Minotaur

 

 




Significance and Similar Myths in Other Cultures:

Egypt: In ancient Egyptian mythology, the bull-god Apis is sometimes depicted as a man with the head of a bull. The cow-goddess Hathor is depicted as both a cow and a human, often having cow horns on her head in her human form.

India: In Hindu mythology, Mahishasura, the child of a human and a buffalo, is similar to the Minotaur. However, Mahishasura is said to be able to switch between the form of a man and a buffalo.

Italy: The Minotaur appears briefly in the works of the famous Renaissance authors Giovanni Boccaccio and Dante Alighieri.

Japan: In Japanese folklore, the Ushi-Oni is a creature similar in appearance to the Minotaur. There are different types of Ushi-Oni, some benevolent and protective, and others malignant and monstrous.


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