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Centaurs

by Micha F. Lindemans
The centaurs of Greek mythology are creatures that are part human and part horse. They are usually portrayed with the torso and head of a human, and the body of a horse. Centaurs are the followers of the wine god Dionysus and are well known for drunkenness and carrying off helpless young maidens. They inhabited Mount Pelion in Thessaly, northern Greece. According to one myth, they are the offspring of Ixion, the king of Lapithae (Thessaly), and a cloud. He had arranged a tryst with Hera, but Zeus got wind of it and fashioned a cloud into Hera's shape. Therefore, the Centaurs are sometimes called Ixionidae.

Centaurs

Notorious is their bestial behavior on the wedding of Pirithous, king of the Lapiths. They violated the female guests and attempted to abduct the bride. What followed was a bloody battle, after which they were driven from Thessaly. An exception was the kind and wise centaur Chiron, the teacher of the Greek heroes Jason and Achilles.

In medieval romances, the centaurs were called "Sagittary."


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