What are Centaurs?
Centaurs are mythological creatures who
have the head, arms, and chest of a human
and the rest of its body is that of a
horse. Centaurs are the followers of the
wine god Dionysus, male centaurs are known
for drunkenness, lewd behavior and for
carrying off helpless young maidens.
Centaurs are said to inhabit Mount Pelion
in Thessaly, found in northern Greece
as well as the Foloi oak forest in Elis,
and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.
Female centaurs are called Kentaurides,
are less prevalent in Greek literature
and art, but they do appear occasionally
in later antiquity.
Other Names: Kentauroi, Ixionidae,
Centauress (female), Kentaurides (female),
Chiron: Unlike most centaurs,
Chiron was a centaur that was
known for his exceptional goodness
and wisdom. Chiron was the only
immortal centaur. Chiron was accidentally
wounded by Heracles. As an immortal,
Chiron could not die, but he lived
in terrible pain. Chiron chose
to trade his life for the release
Eurytion: Eurytion led
the Centaurs into the battle that
broke out at Peirithous's wedding.
Losing this battle resulted, meant
the Centaurs were forced out from
their home on Mount Pelion.
History: Images and illustrations of
centaurs date back to Assyria in 2000 BC and
India in 3000 BC. It is also thought that the
idea of the centaur originated when non-riding
cultures were introduced to nomads mounted on
horses. The theory suggests that such riders
would appear as half-man, half-animal, to someone
never having been introduced to horseback riding.
Centaurs are best known for their appearances
in Greek mythology. There were said to be two
families of centaurs, the first family were
said to be the offspring of Ixion (son of Ares)
and a cloud nymph, Nephele. This group was known
for raucous and offensive behavior, the traits
they inherited from humans were said to make
them ignorant and yet cunning. The second group
of centaurs which included the kind-hearted
Chiron, was said to be the offspring of Cronus,
the Titan and Philyra, an ocean nymph.
Iconic Symbols: Many think of centaurs
in conjunction with archery, but that is
simply do to the astrological sign, Sagittarius.
Did You Know?
A centaur is
one of the symbols associated
with both the Iota Phi Theta and
the Delta Lambda Phi fraternities.
Meanings: Centaurs were said to represent
dark and unruly forces, due to their partying
ways. Centaurs symbolize indulgence, desires
and unbridled passions. Instead of mastering
or taming their unruly instincts, the centaurs
are ruled by their instincts. Centaurs represent
violent lust, adultery, brutality, vengefulness,
heretics, and the Devil. Centaurs also represent
the inner-struggle for good and evil, moderation
and excess, passion and propriety, and forgiveness