Asterion is a mythical beast that possessed the head of a bull and the body of a man after his mother, the demihuman Pasiphaë, was cursed by Poseidon into having sex with a majestic beast called the "Cretan Bull".
Dubbed "The Minotaur" after his step-father, King Minos, Asterion was exiled from civilisation due to his beastial nature and dwelt at the center of the Labyrinth; an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, beneath Crete.
In order to confirm his right to rule Crete, King Minos of Crete prayed to Poseidon to send him a snow white bull as a sign in allusion to how his father, Zeus, had transformed into a snow white bull to kidnap his mother, Europa, from Phoenicia and took her to Crete as the land's first queen. Agreeing with his right to rule, Poseidon sent Minos a large, snow white bull (dubbed the "Cretan Bull") with the understanding that it would be sacrificed back to him at a later time. Deciding that Poseidon's bull was too fine a specimen to kill, Minos instead sent it to his herds and substituted another, inferior, bull for sacrifice.
Enraged, Poseidon had Aphrodite curse Minos' wife, Pasiphaë; daughter of the Oceanid Perseis (secretly Hecate), to fall in deep love for the bull. A curse Aphrodite was more than happy to perform due to Pasiphaë's father's (the sun god, Helios) past role in alerting her ex-husband, Hephaestus, to her affair with Ares.
While Pasiphaë kept her troubling desires for the bull secret, her love for the animal soon increased to sexual desire; where whenever she looked at the beast she longed for its animalistic form and desired nothing more than to give in to her own animal instincts, disrobe and have the beast mount and rape her.
While pondering what offspring, if any, would result from such a liaison between demihuman and beast, Pasiphaë reasoned that any resulting offspring would no doubt be as normal as her husband as he himself resulted from when the mortal Queen Europa mated with Zeus while he was in a similar bull form. While her concerns for what her offspring might be were abbatted, she knew her small frame would not support the bull's weight if it did mount her, and so, when her husband left the kingdom to battle against Athens, she enlisted the help of the artisan Daedalus, who had sought shelter in Crete after killing his nephew, Perdix, in Athens, to aid her in achieving her desires.
Sworn to secrecy, Daedalus built her a wooden construction in the shape of a cow that would be strong enough to hold the bull's weight. Wrapping the construct in the skin of a cow she had seen the bull favouring, Pasiphaë positioned the wooden cow before the bull before feverishly disrobing and placing herself inside it; positioning herself so that her vagina aligned with where a cow's genitals would be. Attracted to the cow construction thanks to the cow skin and Pasiphaë's knowledge of herbology, the bull became aroused and mounted the construction. Placing its penis where a cow's genitals would be the bull found Pasiphaë's eagerly waiting human genitalia instead and penetrated her deeper than any human had before; depositing its seed within her womb and successfully mating with her.
While Aphrodite's curse seemingly broke when Pasiphaë mated with the bull, the immortal woman developed a taste for bestial intercourse and continued mating with the bull. Meanwhile, Poseidon's anger was not abbatted and he eventually passed on his rage to the bull, causing it to lay waste to the land while Pasiphaë herself fell pregnant with the bull's seed and gave birth to Asterion.
While embarrassed for his wife's lack of control over her primeval desires, King Minos did not want to kill Asterion; even after Asterion began raping the maidens around him, exhibiting a brute temperament and showing a taste for human flesh. After consulting the oracle at Delphi, the king had Daedalus and his son, Icarus, construct a massive labyrinth beneath the city to hold Asterion.
While visiting Athens, Androgeus, a son of Minos and Pasiphaë's, managed to defeat the Athenian King Aegeus in every contest during the Panathenaic Games. Out of envy, King Aegeus sent him to conquer the Marathonian Bull, which killed him. Angered, Minos waged war to avenge the death of his son and asked Zeus to punish the city of Athens. As the god struck the city with plague and hunger, an oracle told the Athenians to meet any of Minos' demands if they wanted to escape the punishment. As penance for the death of his son, Minos demanded that Athens send seven boys and seven girls to Crete every nine years to be sacrificed to "the Minotaur" (Asterion).
When the third sacrifice approached, Theseus, Prince of Athens, volunteered to slay the monster. He promised his father that he would put up a white sail on his journey back home if he was successful, but would have the crew put up black sails if he was killed. In Crete, Minos' daughter Ariadne fell madly in love with Theseus and helped him navigate the labyrinth; giving the hero a ball of thread, allowing him to retrace his path. Theseus killed the Minotaur with the Sword of Aegeus and led the other Athenians back out of the labyrinth by following the ball of thread, escaping Crete with Ariadne and her younger sister, Phaedra.
When Theseus and the rest of the crew dock and fell asleep at the island of Naxos. The goddess Athena woke Theseus and told him to leave early that morning and leave Ariadne there for the god Dionysus. Stricken with distress over having to abandon Ariadne, Theseus forgot to put up the white sails instead of the black ones as he approached Athens. As King Aegeus saw the black sails, he believed his son was dead and committed suicide by throwing himself off a cliff into the sea, thus causing this body of water to be named the "Aegean Sea". Theseus would inherit his father's throne.
- The Burden of Crete
- The Beast of Crete
- Asterion The Minotaur
- Asterion is the final foe in the Labyrinth of Lost Souls raid.
- Asterion's story is a tale of mankind's constant battle between their civil desires and their beastial urges.
- While it is not outright stated how the Minotaur race began, it is claimed that Asterion is the race's ancestor much like Chiron is the ancestor of the Centaur race despite Chiron and the Centaurs having different origins. It could be theorized that the Minotaur race arose from the children of the maidens Asterios raped or they could have originated from Pasiphaë's continued liaisons with the Cretan Bull.
- During the Labours of Heracles, King Eurystheus sent Heracles to capture the Cretan Bull and bring it back. The hero went to Crete and acquired permission by King Minos, who was happy to get rid of the animal that had destroyed the crops of the region. Heracles managed to capture the animal with his bare hands, and sent it back to Eurystheus. The king was so afraid of the animal that he hid inside a large jar upon seeing it. He later said to sacrifice it to Hera, but the goddess refused, thinking it would give further glory to Heracles. Instead, Eurystheus let it loose, where the bull eventually reached Marathon and acquired the name Marathonian Bull. Later, Theseus, set forth to capture the bull. He went to Marathon and indeed successfully caught it. He then returned to Athens where he sacrificed it to Athena or Apollo.
- While he was awarded for his construction of the Labyrinth, King Minos eventually discovered Daedalus' role in the construction of the wooden cow that allowed his wife to have repeated sex with the Cretan Bull. Daedalus was kept imprisoned in a tower in Crete, so that the secret of the Labyrinth would not be spread to the public. In order to escape, Daedalus created two sets of wings for himself and his young son Icarus, by using feathers and gluing them together with wax. He gave one of the sets to Icarus and taught him how to fly. However, he warned him not to fly too high as the sun would melt the wax, nor too low as the sea water would soak the feathers. They left the tower jumping off the window and started flying towards freedom. Unfortunately, Icarus, forgetting his father's advice, started flying higher and higher, thus causing the wax on his wings to melt; he fell into the sea and drowned. Daedalus eventually reached the island of Sicily, where he was welcomed at the court of King Cocalus. There, he built a temple in the name of Apollo and offered his wings to the god. In the meantime, King Minos had started a search for Daedalus. Traveling from kingdom to kingdom, he asked if anyone could solve the riddle of running a string through a spiral seashell; hypothesising that only Daedalus could solve the riddle. When King Minos arrived at Sicily, King Cocalus knew that Daedalus would be able to solve the riddle and asked him to do so. Daedalus took an ant and attached the string to it, and then lured it into the seashell with a drop of honey. Thus, when King Cocalus returned to King Minos with the riddle solved, Minos knew that Daedalus was hiding in Cocalus' court and demanded that he be returned to him. While appearing to agree to Minos' demand, Cocalus suggested that Minos should first relax and take a bath before taking Daedalus in chains and commencing the long trip back to Crete. Accepting Cocalus' patronage, Minos went into the bath where Cocalus' daughters killed him by scalding him to death with hot water. In recognition of his life achievements, the goddess Athena approached the inventor near the end of his life and gave him fully functional wings, instructing him to "Fly like a god."