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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Minotaur With Trident versus Centaur With Crossbow

Battle of the Mythical Warriors.

You may have seen the video on You Tube where a fellow goes around asking celebrities who would win in a contest. The challengers in this imaginary scenario are a minotaur armed with a trident against a centaur armed with a crossbow. Everyone from Tiger Woods to Paris Hilton is asked the question.

Is this the lamest question ever regarding mythicals? Talk about preloaded responses. Only a complete moron would guess that the minotaur had the advantage. And this result proves out by the 100% pro centaur responses. But what other conclusion is possible? None, actually. And that is what is wrong with the question to begin with. The minotaur doesn't have a remote chance of killing his opponent. Perhaps he would if the centaur were totally unskilled and inept, but in this scenario that isn't a consideration. 

Just the physical logistics of the challenge determine the end result. Just how fast can a bolt weighing less than 6 ounces at most hurl across a distance, pierce armor and kill a minotaur? Heck if I know. But I do know that the crossbow is lighter and more efficient at delivering death than any trident. At least from a distance and distance in this combat would be the advantage. The centaur has two other physical advantages over the minotaur and both include speed: One, four legs and better weight distribution, two, the velocity of a bolt (arrow) across distance. These advantages effectively cripple the minotaur before he is even in competition. 

Asking this question is akin to asking something like, "Who is the greater predator: a wolf cub or an adult female Siberian Tiger?"
Loading the question to such a degree makes it ridiculous. What is the point of it then? Is the survey taker totally in the centaur camp?

Here is a better question: Who would win in this scenario, minotaur versus centaur in hand to hand combat with no weapons. Now would you be likely to answer the centaur? Probably not. In this imagined scenario, the minotaur has some great physical advantages---sheer muscular force, center of gravity, horns to gore with and, hoofs to cross kick with. Plus, the minotaur could land astride the centaur's back and do some real damage while riding the four-legger including breaking the centaur's neck. The centaur has speed, four legs to assault with, and, some would argue, intelligence over the minotaur, but this is a question of brute physical force not one of tactical advantages. So, the minotaur wins.

I think there is also a hidden agenda in this survey. Overall, humans find horses to be more attractive and more intelligent creatures than cattle. I don't know about the beauty aesthetics, but the intelligence of horses is based upon the uses humans have for equines. When treated as more than a stupid food source cattle, yak, and oxen all prove to be equal to horses as far as I can tell. We don't use cattle for dressage, races or pleasure riding, but the fact that most of us haven't figured out how to effectively train felines betrays the concept of increased intelligence in trainable canines. The failure is in the human camp. 

While both are considered monsters, minotaurs have a reputation for blood thirsty carnality and violence that exceeds that of centaurs. The minotaur in the maze is a horror while Chiron is a learned mentor of heroes. Mythology draws a prejudice against minotaurs. Centaurs might be rowdy, drunken beasts but minotaurs are virgin devourers. It's a draw in the out-sized virility department. Centaurs are the object of almost countless artistic interpretations that include beauty and ideals of masculine perfection and feminine strength as well as pulchritude. When was the last time you saw a female minotaur? Our culture supports portrayals of studly, capable and handsome centaurs while poor bull-headed minotaurs are considered their lessers. I would say it is a matter of taste if I didn't know better. The Greeks admired horses. They merely used cattle.

But back to the main point of this opinion piece. Who is the more effective predator? A wolf or a puma? Duh. A minotaur with a trident versus a centaur with a crossbow. Duh, again.

Next time this guy goes out with a stupid survey maybe he can figure out how to use a very much less loaded question.

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