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The Minotaur is one of a race of creatures with origins in Greek and Roman mythology, legend and folklore.
The Minotaur was created to punish King Minos of Crete, after he attempted to trick the gods. After witnessing the birth of a pure white bull, and refusing to sacrifice it to the sea god Poseidon, he kept it as a gift to himself. As punishment, the gods cursed the king's wife into falling in love with the animal and the Minotaur was the product of this affair.
Minos was horrified at the monster's birth and decided to use him as a weapon against anybody who dared to challenge his power. With help from the inventor Daedalus-who, in another story tried to fly away from Crete with his son Icarus-he built the Labyrinth, a prison in the form of a giant, terrifying maze in which the Minotaur would reside.
Years later, the King's son Androgeus was killed after winning the Panathenaic Games (a series of physical challenges which mirrored the modern Olympics). Wracked with grief, Minos took revenge on the Athenians by having them send fourteen virgins to Crete every nine years to be slaughtered by the Minotaur. This grisly practice would continue until the warrior Theseus would kill the monster.