Centaurs (Myths and Legends of the World)
In Greek mythology, centaurs were creatures that were half man and half horse. They had the head, neck, chest, and arms of a man and the body and legs of a horse. Most centaurs were brutal, violent creatures known for their drunkenness and lawless behavior. They lived mainly around Mount Pelion in Thessaly, a region of northeastern Greece.
Origin of the Centaurs. According to one account, centaurs were descended from Centaurus, a son of . A more widely accepted account of their origin, however, is that they were descendants of Ixion, the son of AresGreek god of war; son of Zeus and Hera (identified with the Roman god Mars) and king of the Lapiths, a people who lived in Thessaly.
Ixion fell in love with Hera, the wife of . Recklessly, Ixion arranged to meet with Hera, planning to seduce her. Zeus heard of the plan and formed a cloud in the shape of Hera. Ixion embraced the cloud form, and from this union, the race of centaurs was created.
War with the Lapiths. The main myth relating to the centaurs involves their battle with the Lapiths. King Pirithous of the Lapiths, son of Ixion, invited the centaurs to his wedding. The centaurs became drunk and disorderly and pursued the Lapith women. One centaur even tried to run off with the king's bride. A fierce battle erupted. The...
(The entire section is 784 words.)
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