Minotaurs, also known as Man-bulls or Bull-men, are a race of beastfolk native to Cyrodiil, identified as having the body of a Man and the head of a bull.[UL 1] Always a target of suspicion and fear because of their size and strength, they were redefined by the Alessian Order as "monsters" during the early and middle First Era, and classed alongside creatures such as Ogres and Trolls. They were driven into the hills and forests, and their previous culture was lost. During the Second Era, Minotaurs are said to roam the backwoods and hills of the Colovian Highlands and the Gold Coast.[UL 2]
They are also known as "Men of Tor" or "Men of Taur," a possible etymological root of the word.[UL 2] Most of their culture and history is lost to the ages.[UL 2] They have a good sense of smell (able to track a Man by scent alone), are very physically strong and possess a slight resistance to magic. Evidence suggests that the decline of their culture was caused by proto-Alessian Imperial troops. They have several weapons and clothing of their own, live tribally, and some of their members can utilize magic. The scholar Nonus Caprenius defends a peculiar and not widely accepted theory. He describes ancient documents that link the Slave-Queen Alessia to the demigod Morihaus, who is often depicted as a Minotaur. According to Caprenius, their relationship gave origin to the "Man-Bull" Belharza.
Belharza is recognized as the firstborn of Alessia and Morihaus, as well as her heir as Emperor.[UL 3] Caprenius' argument speaks of a bloodline link between the Alessian dynasty and the present-day Minotaurs, as the race began to appear in the years during and after the Empress' reign. He asserts that the early Minotaurs were very intelligent and cultured, in their own way, and that they were fiercely loyal to the Empire, among Empress Alessia's most devoted defenders. It is said that much of the possible evidence for Nonus Caprenius' theory was destroyed by the Alessian Order, as the Order's persecution of non-Human cultures was not restricted to Elves.[UL 2] From field observations during the Second Era, Minotaur are seen congregating at or near ancient sites of significance to the Empire, which is pointed as "instinctual memory of a time when they were fierce defenders of the fledgling Empire." By the Third Era, Minotaurs are said to not be particularly intelligent, and are described as "cruel Man-eaters."[UL 1]