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The Quinotaur (Lat. Quinotaurus) is a mythical sea creature mentioned in the 7th century Frankish Chronicle of Fredegar. Referred to as "bestea Neptuni Quinotauri similis", (the beast of Neptune which resembles a Quinotaur) it was held to have fathered Meroveus by attacking the wife of the Frankish king Chlodio and thus to have sired the line of Merovingian kings.

Myths and Legends

The suggested rape and subsequent family relation of this monster attributed to Frankish mythology is similar to to bull-related fertility myths in Greek mythology, where for example the Phoenician princess Europa was abducted by the god Zeus, in the form of a white bull, that swam her to Crete; or to the very myth of the Minotaur, which was the product of Pasiphaë's, a Cretan Queen's, intercourse with a white bull, initially allotted to King Minos, Pasiphaë's husband, as a sacrifice for Poseidon.

Appearance

This creature is a hybrid with the top half of a bull and the bottom half of a fish. It's most distinctive characteristic are the five horns on its head, which is where its name came from. This attribute has commonly been interpreted as the incorporated symbols of the sea god Neptune with his trident, and the horns of a mythical bull or Minotaur.

Etymology

The name translates from Latin as "bull with five horns" and the legend itself seems to correspond to the Indo-European etymology of Neptune (from PIE '*nepots', "grandson" or "nephew", compare also the Indo-Aryan 'Apam Napat', "grandson/nephew of the water").

It is not known whether the legend merged both elements of Neptune's name and bull myths by itself or whether this merger should be attributed to the Christian author. The clerical Latinity of the name does not indicate whether it is a translation of some genuine Frankish creature or a coining.

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