Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes












home | greek | creatures | monsters | page 2 | Minotaur



The Minotaur in Myth
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a deadly and terrifying monster - indeed, this creature was one of the many dark forces of chaos in ancient legend. The Minotaur played a small but significant part in myth, and is most memorable in his role as the half human, half bovine inhabitant of the mysterious labyrinth. In addition, he was also the enemy of the Greek hero Theseus. So let us learn more about how this strange being influenced legend and explore the mythology of the Minotaur.

The tale of the Minotaur begins with Minos, the king of Crete. According to mythology, the god Poseidon sent King Minos a stunningly perfect white bull. This bull was meant to be a sacrifice to the great god of the sea. However, Minos valued the animal too much to use it as a sacrificial victim. In some versions of the story, Poseidon then punished King Minos by making Pasiphae, Minos's wife, fall passionately in love with the bull.

This was a powerful curse. Queen Pasiphae had no choice but submit to her lust for the animal, so with the help of the legendary inventor and craftsman Daedalus, she managed to satisfy her unnatural desires. The result of this union was the birth of a monster, which was half man and half bull. He was referred to the Minotaur, or the bull of Minos. King Minos then tried to hide this horrible creature in a vast and convoluted maze - the labyrinth.

So the Minotaur survived in the gloom of the labyrinth. Either every year or every nine years, seven maidens and seven young men from Athens were offered to appease the appetite of the monster. And it was this horrible custom that eventually resulted in the Minotaur's death. For, according to the legend, the Greek hero Theseus volunteered to go to Crete in place of one of the seven youths. Once in Crete, assisted by the princess Ariadne, Theseus defeated the Minotaur and in this way ended the monster's reign of terror.

Do you have a specific question about Greek mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! There are good entries on many Greek creatures.

The Bibliography

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters - and creatures - from Classical myth and legend.