Lore:Minotaur

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A Minotaur in Cyrodiil
"Around Imperial ruins you gather,
Eternal guardians with hooves and horn.
What memories lead you to path there,
Is it Belharza or the Empire that you mourn?"

The Minotaur Song

Minotaurs, also called man-bulls or bull-men, are a species of beastfolk native to Cyrodiil with the body of a man and the head of a bull. During the First Era, they were said to have symbolized the Alessian Empire, but in later eras became more commonly perceived as savage monsters by the people of Tamriel.[1][2]

They have thick grey or sometimes brown skin and large curved horns. Some Minotaurs clothe themselves in a simple loincloth and shawl or wear nose-rings. Others wear intricate leather armor, and some prefer to be completely naked. They are most commonly found in the Colovian Highlands, Great Forest and the Gold Coast regions of Cyrodiil,[3] as well as The Scar of Elsweyr.[4]

Origins[edit]

"We are ada, Mor, and change things through love. We must take care lest we beget more monsters on this earth. If you do not desist, she will take to you, and you will transform all Cyrod if you do this."—Pelinal on Morihaus and Alessia.
A winged Minotaur

Although no records survive to confirm their origins, some scholars claim that Minotaurs trace their lineage back to the relationship between Empress Alessia and Morihaus. Their union gave birth to Belharza the Man-Bull, believed to be one of the first Minotaurs, who ruled the Empire after the death of Alessia.[5] Conversely, other scholars dismiss such theories as both lightly heretical and having no basis in historical fact.[6] Regardless, in the years during and after Empress Alessia's reign, Minotaurs began to appear in greater and greater numbers. During this time, it's believed the early Minotaurs possessed intelligence and culture comparable to other races of beastfolk. Artwork and texts from the First Era suggest they were fiercely loyal to the Empire and were among Empress Alessia's most devoted defenders.[5][7] Some sources place Minotaurs on Tamriel before the first era, and therefor before the union of Alessia and Morihaus.[8]

Despite their devotion to the Empire, Minotaurs were always a target of suspicion and fear because of their size and strength. With the rise of the fanatical Alessian Order, they were re-classified as 'monsters' no better than ogres or trolls and were driven into the forests, destroying whatever culture they previously possessed.[3] Much of the evidence to support this claim was also destroyed in the intervening period while the Alessian Order ruled the Empire. One remaining fragment of an ancient tablet depicts Alessian troops revolting against Emperor Belharza, giving some credence to the theory.[5] Minotaurs were not entirely wiped out by the Alessians, and continue to roam the backwoods and hills of Cyrodiil throughout the following eras.[3] By the Third Era, their noble ancestry was all but forgotten when some of them were rounded up and used as opponents for arena matches in the Imperial City.[9]

Characteristics[edit]

A minotaur in the Gold Coast sleeping at its camp, complete with a bed roll, cooking pot, fire, plates, and hoard of treasure.

Although excessively male as a species,[10] female minotaurs do exist. Minotaurs are social creatures, and often appear in groups numbering twenty or more. The largest male dominates this clan structure and has breeding rights with all females of reproductive age. Younger males will often challenge this dominant male in a fight to the death.[11][12]

Minotaurs are notoriously strong and difficult opponents in combat, despite their false reputation as clumsy brutes.[1] They are resistant to magic, can easily swing heavy weapons with one hand and their horns have the ability to tear through the toughest armor. The most powerful individuals are referred to as "Minotaur Lords".[9] They are believed to possess only rudimentary intelligence, but have a heightened sense of smell and can track a man by scent alone.[2] Although Minotaurs commonly fight with weapons, Minotaur shamans have the ability to use magic.[13] Minotaurs also served as the protectors of the unicorn at Harcane Grove, which was killed in 3E 433 for the glory of Hircine.[9]

One common observation of Minotaurs in the wild is that they tend to congregate around ancient ruins that were of significance to the Alessian Empire. Some believe they are drawn to guard these places on an instinctual level, possibly due to their ancestral connection to Morihaus, Belharza, or the Empire itself.[5][12][14] There are records of wizards placing hexes on Akaviri relics, drawing minotaurs in and around the tomb to guard it. "Yowling-powder" made from moon sugar, sulfur, lemon-peel, and daedra hearts can be used to break the enchantments on the relics, resulting in the minotaurs gradually leaving their post at the area.[15]

Relationship with Other Races[edit]

Minotaurs share little civil interaction with humans or elves, but are typically free to settle around the ruins they inhabit. They mostly keep to themselves when unprovoked, but are also very territorial and will react aggressively on intruding adventurers. As a result, most inhabitants of Cyrodiil stick to well traveled roads to avoid contact with such creatures. Hearsay surrounding Minotaurs includes apples being poisonous to them, which results in travelers eating several before a journey.[16] Others examples characterize them as "cruel man-eaters", and they are sometimes used to scare children in tales and song.[2][17] Conversely, some children's toys are made to resemble Minotaurs.[18]

Their severed heads are sometimes exported to other provinces, possibly to create wall-mounted decorations that were quite common in homes throughout Cyrodill.[19][9] Minotaur meat was often used in the mid-Second Era to make slumgullion stew.[20]. Oxblood fungal spores are known to grow on Minotaur, and are used by some blacksmiths in their work. Their horns are often displayed as prestigious hunting prizes or crafted into ornate warhorns and hunting horns.[21][22][23][24] Their horns are also valued by alchemists for their various alchemical properties.[9]

Some blacksmiths honor the Minotaurs by creating armor and weapons inspired by their characteristics, such as the use of horns in its design or Imperial iconography - appropriate for a race so deeply linked to the early history of Cyrodiil.[1][25]

Notable Minotaurs[edit]

  • Belharza: The first minotaur.[5]
  • Domihaus: A colossal Minotaur warlord who allied with the Dreadhorn Clan in 2E 582 and attempted to take Falkreath.
  • Galrus Grimhorn: A Minotaur that became a champion of the Hammerdeath Arena in High Rock some time before 2E 582.[26]
  • Limenauruus: A colossal Minotaur encountered by the Dragonstar Caravan Company in 2E 582. He was discovered underground in the ruins of Fort Faleria, where Lord Nunex Faleria had enslaved and killed a large number of his kin centuries earlier.[27]

Gallery[edit]

See Also[edit]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Crafting Motif 39: Minotaur
  2. ^ a b c Arena description
  3. ^ a b c Lady Clarisse Laurent Answers Your QuestionsLady Clarisse Laurent
  4. ^ Events of ESO: Elsweyr
  5. ^ a b c d e On MinotaursNonus Caprenius, Temporarily Unaffiliated Scholar of Imperial Antiquities
  6. ^ The Truth of MinotaursTyronius Liore, Scholar of Imperial Antiquities
  7. ^ The Martyrdom of Saint PelinPriestess Adie Rodeau
  8. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: ValenwoodImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  9. ^ a b c d e Events of Oblivion
  10. ^ Hags, Harpies, and HagravensThe Unveiled Azadiyeh, Songbird of Satakalaam
  11. ^ Brenus Astis' JournalBrenus Astis
  12. ^ a b Solus Vertilus's Journal
  13. ^ Minotaur Shamans in ESO
  14. ^ The Minotaur Song
  15. ^ Nisuzi's dialogue in ESO
  16. ^ Illia Polus's dialogue in ESO
  17. ^ A Gold Coast Children's Bestiary
  18. ^ Stuffed Minotaur Toy contraband item in ESO
  19. ^ Aranecarne's dialogue in ESO
  20. ^ Minotaur Slumgullion food item in ESO
  21. ^ Pinarus' Prize Minotaur Horn in Oblivion
  22. ^ Minotaur Horn Warhorn contraband item in ESO
  23. ^ Aquilarios Crest Hunting Horn contraband item in ESO
  24. ^ Antique Rilis VIII Hunting Horn contraband item in ESO
  25. ^ Minotaur Style in ESO
  26. ^ Galrus Grimhorn character in ESO
  27. ^ Looming Shadows quest in ESO