Thursday, May 26, 2022


“Minotaur, in Greek mythology, was a fabulous monster of Crete that had the body of a man and the head of a bull. It was the offspring of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, and a snow-white bull sent to Minos by the god Poseidon for sacrifice. Minos, instead of sacrificing it, kept it alive; Poseidon as a punishment made Pasiphae fall in love with it. Her child by the bull was shut up in the Labyrinth created for Minos by Daedalus.” 
Encyclopedia Britannica 

“It was built to house the fearsome Minotaur, a creature born of the union of Parsiphaneë and a white bull, a monster half man and half bull itself. Ringed by a hedge or thorns, it lived in the very centre of the Labyrinth, existing only on human flesh. It was said that no man could survive the onslaught of its scythe-like horns.” 

“He gave Ariadne a ball of silken cord with which Theseus would be able to find his way through the Labyrinth. If she tied one end of the cord to the lintel of the maze doorway, the ball would unwind itself, threading its way through the twists and turns of the passages to the spot at the very centre where the Minotaur waited for its prey.” 
Michael Gibson, Gods, Men and Monsters

Since I did the Quinotaur on Tuesday, it's pretty obvious that I'd be doing the Minotaur soon.
One thing I discovered while researching this is that the actual description of the Minotaur is extremely vague. Ovid's description in Metamorphoses simply says that it's half man, half bull but doesn't specify which half is which. Further, John Dryden's translation of Virgil's Aeneid has the line "The lower part a beast, a man above / The monument of their polluted love." to describe the Minotaur. In fact, there's some very good illustration of this more centaur-like version of the Minotaur. 

Both William Blake (Dante Alighieri's Inferno) and Steele Savage (Edith Hamilton's Mythology) portray a man's top half combined with a bull's lower half.

However, this isn't as cool to draw as a buff dude with a bull head eating a human arm, so I stuck with the more common version.

 I'd designed this guy for a flyer way back in 2008 but on rereading the source materials, I altered a few things.

First off, I'm way better at drawing haha! Secondly, his father is described as a "snow-white bull" so I kept his fur that color. I also added Ariadne's silken cord that she used to solve the labyrinth as well as a "meal" for the Minotaur. I made his horns way longer since they're described as "scythe-like".

The Minotaur is everywhere in popular culture so I'll only mention one of the best, Harryhausen's Minoton from Sinbad And the Eye Of the Tiger! In this version the monster is a bronze statue of the Minotaur that's brought to life by the sorceress Zenobia. 

Tomorrow is the last monster from this three month run! And it's not only one of my favorites from this series of gods, but it's one of my favorites in general! 

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