Centaurs in Greek Mythology
"These monsters were represented as men from the head to the loins, while the rest of the body was that of a horse. The ancients were too fond of a horse to consider the union of his nature with man's as forming a very degraded compound, and accordingly the Centaur is the only one of the fancied monsters of antiquity to which any good traits are assigned. The Centaurs were admitted to the companionship of man, and at the marriage of Pirithous with Hippodamia they were among the guests. At the feast of Eurytion, one of the Centaurs, becoming intoxicated with the wine, attempted to offer violence to the bride; the other Centaurs followed his example, and a dreadful conflict arose in which several of them were slain. This is the celebrated battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, a favorite subject with the sculptors and poets of antiquity.
But not all the Centaurs were like the rude guests of Pirithous. Chiron was instructed by Apollo
, and was renowned for his skill in hunting, medicine, music, and the art of prophecy. The most distinguished heroes of Greek history were his pupils. Among the rest the infant Asklepios was intrusted to his charge by Apollo, his father. When the sage returned to his home bearing the infant, his daughter Ocyroe came forth to meet him, and at sight of the child burst forth into a prophetic strain (for she was a prophetess), foretelling the glory that he was to achieve. Asklepios when grown up became a renowned physician, and even in one instance succeeded in restoring the dead to life. Hades resented this, and Zeus
, at his request, struck the bold physician with lightening, and killed him, but after his death received him into the number of the gods. Chiron was the wisest and most just of all the Centaurs, and at his death Zeus placed him among the stars as the constellation Sagittarius
- from Bulfinch's Mythology
Centaurs in Art History
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Who's Who in Classical Mythology
This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters - and creatures - from Classical myth and legend.