Centaurus (Greek Mythology) - Constellation

Constellation

Centaurus was the first person to group stars into constellations and taught others how to read them. One explanation of the constellation is that Centaurus put a picture of himself in the sky to guide his sailor friends the Argonauts.

The most popular meaning of the constellation is that it represents the form of Chiron. Chiron was the king of the centaurs and unlike his race he was intelligent and wise. So wise, in fact, that he tutored Heracles who became one of his great friends. The myth goes that Heracles was out on a visit to his dear friend Pholus' house. Pholus was a centaur and was having dinner with Heracles. After dinner was over Heracles decided that he was thirsty and took it upon himself to get some wine. The wine that he took, however, was the sacred wine of the centaurs. It was meant to only be drunk by the centaurs and only on special occasions. Pholus saw this and could not muster up the courage to tell his strong friend that he was not allowed to drink that wine. It was not long before the sacred scent reached the other centaurs. The infuriated centaurs grabbed weapons and charged at Pholus' house. The coward Pholus fled almost immediately and left Heracles to fend for himself. Heracles killed several of the centaurs and soon enough of them were dead that the rest became afraid and tried to flee. Upon shooting at the fleeing beasts, Heracles' poison arrow grazed the knee of Chiron. Chiron was not involved in the fight but came out to try to stop it. The immortal Chiron could not die from his wound and thus would be doomed to live in great pain forever. He cried to Zeus to give him relief and end his life. Zeus took pity on the centaur and let him die. To honor him, Zeus gave Chiron a place amongst the stars.

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