In Greek mythology, a centaur (from Ancient Greek: Κένταυρος, Kéntauros) or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse. In early Attic and Boeotian vase-paintings (see below), they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be.
This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.
The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithes, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins.
Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.
Centaurs continued to figure in literary forms of Roman mythology. A pair of them draw the chariot of Constantine the Great and his family in the Great Cameo of Constantine (c314-16), which embodies wholly pagan imagery.
Other articles related to "centaur, centaurs":
... Diosphos Painter, white-ground lekythos (500 BC) Botticelli, Pallas and Centaur (1482-83) Antonio Canova, Theseus Defeats the Centaur (1805-1819) Prince Bova fights Polkan, Russian ...
... Centaur Press, later renamed Centaur Books, was a New York-based small publisher active from the late 1960s through 1981 ... twentieth century for its "Time-Lost Series." Authors whose works were returned to print by Centaur Press include Robert E ... Centaur's output was small, generally on the order of one to three books a year ...
... The Atlas G, also known as Atlas G Centaur-D1AR was an American expendable launch system derived from the Atlas-Centaur ... The first stage was derived from the SM-65 Atlas missile, and a Centaur was used as the second stage ... The first stage was also flown without the Centaur, as the Atlas H ...
... Centaurs preserved a Dionysian connection in the 12th century Romanesque carved capitals of Mozac Abbey in the Auvergne, where other capitals depict harvesters, boys riding goats (a further ... Centaurs are shown on a number of Pictish carved stones from north-east Scotland, erected in the 8th–9th centuries AD (e.g ... Middle Ages it relates Anthony's encounter with a centaur, who challenged the saint but was forced to admit that the old gods had been overthrown ...
... Hodges library at The University of Tennessee hosts a permanent exhibit of a "Centaur from Volos", in its library ... of a Shetland pony is entitled "Do you believe in Centaurs?" and was meant to mislead students in order to make them more critically aware, according to the exhibitors ... The full-mount skeleton of a Centaur, built by Skulls Unlimited International, is on display, along with several other fabled creatures, including the Cyclops, Unicorn and Griffin ...
Famous quotes containing the word centaur:
“The ants a centaur in his dragon world.
Pull down thy vanity, it is not man
Made courage, or made order, or made grace.
Pull down thy vanity, I say pull down.”
—Ezra Pound (18851972)