Minotaur of Knossos
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur ( Latin : Minotaurus, as the Greeks imagined him, was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, “part man and part bull”. He dwelt at the center of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction built for King Minos of Crete and designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus who were ordered to build it to hold the Minotaur. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. The term Minotaur derives from the Ancient Greek Μινώταυρος, a compound of the name Μίνος (Minos) and the noun Ταύρος “bull”, translating as “(the) Bull of Minos”. In Crete, the Minotaur was known by its proper name, Asterion, a name shared with Minos’ foster-father.
Minotaur was originally a proper noun in reference to this mythical figure. The use of minotaur as a common noun to refer to members of a generic race of bull-headed creatures developed much later, in 20th-century fantasy genre fiction.