Centaur

The Centaur's are half man, and half horse. They have the body of a horse but, in place of the horse's head the have the torso, head and arms of a man. Most are wild and savage, known for lustfulness and drunkenness. The exception is the wise Centaur Chiron.

The father of Centaurs was Centaurus, who was held in disrepute by both men and gods. Some accounts claim that he was the son of Apollo and Stilbe but, the more interesting accounts say he was fathered by Ixion. He gave birth to the race of Centaurs by mating with Magnesian mares.

The pivotal event in the history of the Centaurs was their war with the Lapiths. King Peirithous of the Lapiths inherited part of Thessaly from his father Ixion. The Centaurs as grandsons of Ixion claimed they were entitled to part of the land. After a first round of fighting a peace was arranged. Peirithous invited the Centaurs to his wedding. Here the Centaurs became drunk, then violent. Under the lead of Eurytion they attempted to carry off the Lapith women. In the resulting battle the Centaurs were defeated and driven from the area.

Chiron

Chiron was known for his exceptional goodness and wisdom. He was the only immortal centaur. He became the tutor for a number of famous Greek heroes including: Achilles, Asclepius, Actaeon.

Despite his immortality he was to end up dying. Heracles stopped to visit Pholus . Heracles was thirsty and persuaded Pholus to open a jar of wine that was the common property of the centaurs. The other centaurs smelled the wine and came running. A fight broke out between Heracles and the centaurs. Chiron took no part in the fight but, was accidentally wounded by Heracles. As an immortal, Chiron could not die but lived in terrible pain.

Chiron then chose to trade his life for the release of Prometheus. He may be the Centaur represented in the constellation Centaurus.

Eurytion

Led the Centaurs in the battle that broke out at Peirithous's wedding. Losing this battle resulted in the Centaurs being forced out of their home on Mount Pelion. Later Eurytion forced King Dexamenus to agree to give his daughter Mnesimache to be his wife. When he came to collect her Heracles, who was the kings guest killed him.

Pholus

A civilized Centaur Pholus invited Heracles to be his guest. However, the wine he used to entertain Heracles drew the other Centaurs and a fight resulted. After the fight Pholus accidently dropped one of Heracles poisoned arrows on his foot and died as a result. Some claim that Pholus is the individual represented in the constellation Centaurus.

Nessus

Nessus was driven from his home in Arcadia by Heracles. He established himself as a ferryman on the river Evenus. He even claimed to be appointed to the task by the gods because of his good character. Years later he had the task of ferrying Heracles bride Deianeira while Heracles crossed on his own. Nessus took advantage of the situation to try to rape Deianeira. Heracles prevented this by shooting him with a poison arrow. As he was dying he persuaded Deianeira that a love charm made from his blood would insure Heracles faithfulness. In fact, he knew this charm to be poisonous. Ultimately it was this charm that killed Heracles.

Rhoecus

Along with Hylaeus, he attempted to rape Atalanta , who was able to kill him with a single arrow.

Hylaeus

Along with Rhoecus, he attempted to rape Atalanta , who was able to kill him with a single arrow.

[Greek Myth]

J.M.Hunt