Wikipedia reads:

He also created the Labyrinth on Crete, in which the Minotaur (part man, part bull) was kept.

However what was the main purpose of the Labyrinth being built? Was it just for keeping a bull?

I guess this has been mentioned by Homer. Or maybe there are some other stories describing it?

Here is another cite:

The myth of the Minotaur tells that Theseus, a prince from Athens, sailed to Crete, where he was forced to fight a terrible creature called the Minotaur. The Minotaur was a half man, half bull, and was kept in the Labyrinth - a building like a maze - by the king Minos, the ruler of Crete.

This could indicate that the Labyrinth was used as some kind of fight arena, so people could get punished there?

And in here it's suggested that the Labyrinth could be in fact the Palace of Knossos. Therefore the purpose could be just residential.

Therefore, did the purpose of the Labyrinth have any other meaning than just housing the Minotaur?

  • 1
    Isn't housing the Minotaur the main purpose?
    – Semaphore
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:20
  • @Semaphore Then he could build a shed, not a labyrinth.
    – kenorb
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:26
  • Is there any indication that the labyrinth served another purpose? Voting to leave open, the question is on-topic, but without indication that the labyrinth served other purposes as well, this is unfortunately a poor question. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 4:53
  • 1
    That sentence he quotes reads as if Daedalus first created the labyrinth and then afterwards it was used to house the Minotaur so I can understand the confusion.
    – Adrian773
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 6:09
  • 1

2 Answers 2


It was built specifically to keep the Minotaur in.

If you are familiar with the story of the Minotaur, it was the son of Pasiphae, who was the king of Crete's (King Minos) wife. Minos wanted a sign from the gods that he was meant to rule, so Poseidon sent a great bull out of the sea, and told Minos to sacrifice it to him. Minos liked the bull so much that he didn't want to sacrifice it, so Poseidon took revenge by making Pasiphae fall in love with the bull. The bull in question is mentioned in a few other myths, and I believe it went crazy, and was killed by Hercules as one of his labours, but don't quote me on that. This means that the Minotaur is not only the son of the prize bull, but also royalty. He couldn't simply lock up something that had:

  1. been sent as punishment from the gods
  2. was royalty.

He only later used the labyrinth to feed prisoners to the Minotaur.


It was built specifically as a prison for the minotaur. See this article

The most famous labyrinth is found in Greek mythology: Designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Knossos to contain the ferocious Minotaur (a half-man and half-bull monster).

I'd elaborate further but there's not much more to say that could add value to the answer.

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