This is where we tell you all what you could ever want to know about centaur history! That is, the stories of mythology, how centaurs have appeared throughout the centuries in art and literature, etc. If you have anything to add, just poke at us.
Oh, and the "us" in this case is a pair of human-like beings that go with the names [Zab
] and [Linderel
Centaurs in Mythology and Symbology
There are many different versions of these myths, so even though there will be some repetition of names and events, it's good to read all of them. You choose which one you want to take to heart.
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 Artemis, 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 entrusted 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 lightning, 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.
More about Chiron
Chiron was the son of the Titan Cronos. Cronos disguised himself as a horse in order to seduce Philyra without his wife Rhea discovering the affair. Unlike other centaurs, who are descended from Ixion, Chiron was among the gentlest, wisest, and most learned of creatures. As a result, he was asked to tutor several of the greatest of Greek heroes, including Achilles, Asclepius, Heracles, Jason, Aeneas, and Peleus. Being the son of a god he was immortal, but Heracles accidentally wounded him with a poisoned arrow when fighting the other Centaurs. According to one tradition, in order to be relieved of the unrelenting torment of the wound, he gave his immortality to the Titan Prometheus and allowed himself to die. According to another, he appealed to Zeus and was transformed into the constellation Sagittarius.
When Hercules was taking his wife to his home in Tiryns, they came to a swollen river. Nessus, a centaur, offered to help Hercules get Deianira across the river. Hercules swam across and heard Deianira yelling for him. Assuming that the centaur was kidnapping her to rape her, Hercules shot him with an arrow tipped with Hydra's poison. The centaur, seeking vengeance, gave his shirt covered in Hydra's poison to Deianira and told her that it was a talisman that would renew love.
Years later, when Hercules had completed his labors and was still far from home, Deianira heard that his heart had been captured by another woman. She sent him the shirt not realizing that it was poisoned. Hercules, unaware of its taint, wore the shirt.
A symbol of man trapped by his baser impulses, especially lust, violence, and drunkenness. First shown in Greek art as a man with the equine hindquarters, but later with both fore- and hindquarters of a horse, the Centaur may in origin derive from bands of mounted brigands in the hills of Thessaly. According to one myth, the mortal Ixion ravished a cloud, believing her to be the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus; the cloud duly gave birth to the monster Centauros, whose bestiality with mares in turn produced the Centaurs. With this sorry lineage, the Centaurs became wild, drunken rapists - Nessus, for example, tried to carry off the wife of Herakles. Piero di Cosimo depicts Centaurs in Scenes of Primitive Man
: they are often shown in art with anguished faces and battling unsuccessfully against the forces of law and order. As such, they represent sensual passion, adultery and heresy in Christian iconography. The Centaur may also represent the base or animal aspect of humanity, as illustrated in Botticelli's Pallas and the Centaur
, in which the lowly creature cowers beside wise Athene (Minerva).
An alternative, humanising myth introduced a race of morally superior Centaurs. Chiron acquired his form because his father, Kronos (Saturn), hoping to conceal an illicit passion from his wife, transformed himself into a horse and made love to the nymph, Philyra. Chiron was a wise teacher, especially of music and medicine, and he educated many heroes including Achilles and Jason, and the demi-god Asklepios. He died when Herakles accidentally shot a poisoned arrow into Chiron's knee. Chiron, with bow and arrow, became the constellation Sagittarius.
The renowned Battle of the Centaurs (the Centauromachy) occurred at the wedding of Pirithous to the lovely Hippodamia. The Lapiths had invited the Centaurs, but at the sight of the beautiful bride, the fiercest Centaur, Eurytus, dragged her off by her hair and the others carried off whichever girl they could. The hero Theseus, a wedding guest, attacked them and a bloody fray ensued in which half the Centaurs were slain and the rest driven off. The celebrated Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, Athens, illustrate the violent struggle.
Horse-man hybrids appear in Vedic myth as the Gandharvas - physical virility combined with intellect.
The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and Literature
In spite of the fact that the centaur is nowadays often regarded purely as a symbol of the libido, dreaming about a centaur often represents an emotional drive, an affective energy that is trying to assert itself or is emerging from the depths of your being and threatening to submerge you. Determining whether this energy will have positive or devastating effects dcepends on the context in which the centaur appears in your dream, what it is doing and how you relate to it. Because the centaur is the symbol of Sagittarius, the ninth sign of the zodiac, its presence in a dream can also indicate that an important and usually propitious event will occur in your life during the period covered by the sign (22 November to 21 December), or that the number 9 and its associated symbols will play an important role in the near future.
Dictionary of Symbols, Myths & Legends by Didier Colin
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