MINOTAUR

Real Name: Asterius

Identity/Class:
Human/bovine hybrid of magical origin
Native of Crete in the 13th Century B.C.; The general populace of modern-day Earth believe the Minotaur to be a fictional character of mythological origin.

Occupation: Predator

Affiliations: pawn of Minos;
    possibly Bova,
Man-Bull, Matador, and Toro Rojo

Enemies: Theseus; possibly Ikaris

Known Relatives:
Pasiphae (mother); Bull of Poseiden (father); Minos (foster father); Androgeus, Catreus, Deucalion, Glaucus (Step-brothers); Ariadne, Phaedra (step-sisters);

Aliases: Minotaur translates to "Minos' Bull"

Base of Operations: The Labyrinth, Crete

First Appearance: Eternals II#5 (February, 1986)

Powers/Abilities: The Minotaur possesses an uncertain amount of superhuman strength (likely enhanced human) and possibly enhanced durability and olfactory senses. It is a savage, unintelligent creature, with hard, sharp horns on its head.

History: (Historical myth) - The Minotaur was the offspring of the Queen Pasiphae and the Bull of Poseiden. Her husband, King Minos, had been given control of the oceans around Crete by the divine right of the sea-god Poseiden. To show his appreciation, Minos promised to sacrifice the first bull he saw to the sea-god, knowing full well that he did not have one. Poseiden then allowed one to appear, a great white one, but Minos kept it as a gift to himself rather than sacrifice it as promised. Angered, Poseiden instructed Eros, the god of love, to smite Pasiphae with a love for the great bull. She instructed Daedalus, the royal artisan, to create a hollow wooden cow that she could enter to admire the bull up close. From within it, she became pregnant by the bull which was later captured as the seventh labor of Hercules and taken to Greece.

In the beginning, Pasiphae believed the child she conceived was Minos' and named it Asterius after Minos' step-father (actually, Minos' true father was Zeus, Lord of the gods.) Young Asterius however, was born deformed and slowly grew up to resemble a bull. He never learned to talk, possessed a brutal, more animalistic amount of strength and an intelligence slightly higher than most animals. When Minos learned Asterius' true origin, he locked the freakish monster in the catacombs under the castle, and then commissioned Daedalus to further expand the catacombs into a maze so that Asterius, now known as the Minotaur, could not escape.

For several yeras in his war with the Athenians, Minos used the maze of catacombs, now known as the Labyrinth, to imprison his enemies for the Minotaur to kill at his leisure. When King Aegeus of Athens killed Minos' son Androgeus, Minos vengefully forced Athens to pay him an annual tribute of seven youths and seven maidens. These he shut up inside the labyrinth, where they either starved or were devoured. Meanwhile, the legend of the Minotaur spread far throughout ancient Greece, but no one knew of its origins.

Finally, the son of Athenian king Aeseus, Theseus, volunteered to go to Crete and sever the control the Cretins had on Athens. Allowing himself to be imprisoned in the Labyrinth with a group of victims, Theseus enlisted the help of Minos' daughter, Ariadne to escape the maze, but only after he had killed the Minotaur and freed his kinsmen. Discovering the mad creature, Theseus fought the bull-man and later ran it through with his sword. The later Greek poets, Plutarch and Apollodarus documented these events, but recent scholars do not acknowledge them as history.

(Eternals II#5 (fb)) - While in Minoan Crete, the Eternal known as Ikaris fought a Minotaur in the Labyrinth.

(Avengers I#17) - The Avengers encountered a subterranean Minotaur serving the Mole Man, whom they suspected to have been the creature which inspired the legend of the Minotaur.

(Iron Man I#24 (fb) - BTS) - Miklos Vrylak's father allegedly used chemicals from Crete, associated with the original Minotaur, in an effort to save his son, which turned Miklos into another Minotaur.

(Marvel Year-in-Review 1992) - A Minotaur attended the Springdale branch of the Bar with no Name, enjoying the company of Bova, Man-Bull, Matador, and Toro Rojo.

 

(Hercules and the Heart of Chaos#2) - Ares unleashed a Minotaur on Hercules at his Warhawks base in South America. The Minotaur slew Hercules' friend, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roger "Buddy" Juniper, before Hercules killed the Minotaur himself.

Comments: Created by ??; adapted in the Marvel Universe by either Stan Lee and Don Heck, or Peter Gillis and Sal Buscema, or Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz.

It is difficult to piece together the Marvel History and the that of the legend of the Minotaur. In the Marvel Universe, many of the Eternals have either posed as or been mistaken for characters from Greek mythology. In addition, actual beings from mythology, from gods to monsters actually exist as well. In describing his encounter with the Minotaur, Ikaris said he has been "fighting deviants." So, either:

  1. The original Minotaur is a Deviant mutate and the myth/legend just got it wrong
  2. Ikaris incorrectly ASSumed he was fighting a Deviant mutate, when in reality it was the creature of myth
  3. More than one Minotaur had lived within the Labyrinth.
  4. Take your pick. I vote for number two--speaking of which, I have to go...

Similarly, it remains uncertain not only whether the creature Ikaris fought was the creature of myth, but also whether the creatures from Avengers I#17, or Hercules: Hearts of Chaos#2, had any connection to the creature form legend.

Not only that, but the past history of Ikaris confuses things even more: In the same flashback that relates his conflict with the Minotaur, he relates the story of his son, who was half-human and had no powers. Ikaris--who back then went by a different, unspecified name--built wings for his son. The son one day flew to high without supervision, passed out from lack of oxygen, and fell from the sky to his death. After this, "Ikaris" took his current name in memory of his son (who had been named "Ikaris").
Why is this confusing? Well, my myth knowledge is weak compared to Will, Greg, Nick, and others, but I do remember that in mythology, Icarus' father was Daedalus--the same guy who built the Labyrinth, that contained the Minotaur!
So, there's unexplained stuff here, which is likely to remain unexplained. I'm fairly certain that rather than get a definitive answer, we're more likely to get more Minotaurs, many of whom will have been the original.

Also, the Iron Man I#24 Minotaur's origins described the obtaining of a chemical from Crete, the very same chemical which had been used to mutate the original Minotaur. That fits with neither myth nor Deviant origin, so who knows?

I was originally just going to include all of Will's info as a sub-profile for the Minotaur who fought the Avengers, until I remembered the the appearance from Eternals II#5. With the slim pickins' on images for that character, I decided to include a drawing of Will's, which is derived from a drawing of the Man-Bull, from the OHotMU I.

Minos became the most prosperous king of the Mediterranean area, renowned as much for his justness as his power. Along with Aeacus and Rhadamanthus, he became one of the three judges of Hades. The Minoan civilization is named for him.

Supplement by  Ben Peberdy:

And here's some links to Daedalus info, courtesy of Dim I Nticoudis

  1. A profile of Daedalus and Icarus accompanied with a text by Thomas
    Bullfinch analyzing examining their legend: http://www.thanasis.com/icarus.htm
  2. Detailed profile on Daedalus examing his life, his parentage, his mates
    and his offspring. Links to pages about related characters: http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Daedalus.html
     

Profile by Will U and Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Minotaur of Myth may or may not be:


THE CRETAN BULL

The Cretan Bull was a gift to King Minos of Crete from Neptune, the Olympian god of the sea. When Minos claimed rule of Crete by divine right, he had prayed to Neptune for confirmation of the claim. Poseidon wanted Minos to sacrifice a bull to him to bind the pact, but Minos didn't own any cattle so Neptune sent the Cretan Bull to rise up on Crete from the sea with orders for it to be sacrificed. The miracle satisfied Minos's rivals for the throne, but the bull was so perfect that Minos instead found another less handsome bull to sacrifice. In revenge, Neptune had Cupid smite Pasiphae, wife of Minos, with a love for the bull and she gave birth to the Minotaur as a result. After Theseus, then heir to Athens, slew the Minotaur, the Cretan Bull began terrorizing the island. Hercules was sent out of the Peloponnesus for the first time for his Seventh Labor by King Eurystheus of Mycenae who hoped he would meet dire ends in foreign lands. The Cretan Bull had become an embarrassment to King Minos because of his dealings with it. Minos gave Hercules permission to Hercules to slay it, but Hercules instead brought it to Mycenae and freed it there out of spite. The bull eventually wandered through Sparta and Arcadia on its way to Marathon where it killed the Cretan prince Androgeus trying to reclaim it. Aided by the sorceress Medea, Theseus recaptured it and took it back to Athens where it was finally sacrificed to Neptune.

--Hercules III#1 (Greek/Roman Myth, Thor I#356 (fb), Hercules III#1 (fb))








Cretan bull- Thor I#356, page 6, middle panel

 

Last updated: 12/21/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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