Page name: Origins and existence [Exported view]
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Origins and existence at the beginning of time...(Mythology)Where do centaurs come from...? That is the question...
According to the greek mythology...
Centaurs were created by Poseidon who happened to like both humans and horses.
A centaur is a perfectly normal-looking human from head to pelvis, and the legs are replaced by a horse body.
There is no known female centaur in Greek mythology, and comes to mind the problem of reproduction...
They are said to enjoy drinking quite much.
They are said to live rather simply in caves or settlements, most of the time in herds.
They are rather friendly.
And finally they are said to have a cursed blood. [May-lea]
[enix1] Centaurs are the followers of the wine god Dionysus and are well known for drunkenness and carrying off helpless young maidens. They inhabited Mount Pelion in Thessaly, northern Greece. According to one myth, they are the offspring of Ixion, the king of Lapithae (Thessaly), and a cloud. He had arranged a tryst with Hera, but Zeus got wind of it and fashioned a cloud into Hera's shape. Therefore, the Centaurs are sometimes called Ixionidae. In medieval romances, the centaurs were called 'Sagittary'.
About centaurs in greek mythology
Chiron [keye'ron], "hand." As the most noble and learned of the centaurs, he was the teacher of Achilles, Actaeon, Aeneas, Peleus, Heracles, Asclepius, and Jason. He was skilled in medicine, music, archery, and the use of plants and herbs. When he was accidentally wounded by one of Heracles' poisoned arrows, Chiron exchanged his immortality for the mortality of Prometheus so he could find relief from his pain in death (Apollodorus 2.5.4; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.38).
Centaurs [sen'tawrs] or Kentauroi, "bull-goaders." A race of creatures with the head of a man and the legs and body of a horse, they were descendants of Centaurus, a son of Ixion, and the mares with whom he mated on the slopes of Mount Pelion. Chiron was the most famous of the centaurs. At the wedding of Pirithous, the centaurs tried to rape the bride and other Lapith women, causing a huge fight in which the centaurs were routed (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.21-48; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.21; Diodorus Siculus 4.69.1-70.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.210-535; Hyginus, Fabulae 33). Family Tree 33.
Deïanira [dee-ya-neye'ra] or Deianeira, "man-killer." She was the sister of Meleager. Heracles won her hand by defeating Acheloüs in a fight, but the centaur Nessus tried to rape her after carrying her across the River Evenus. Heracles saved her by shooting Nessus with an arrow that had been dipped in the poison of the Lernaean hydra. Nessus told Deïanira to gather some of his blood as a love potion to use on Heracles should he ever begin to stray from her; later, when Heracles wooed Iole, Deïanira sent him a robe that had been dipped in the blood of Nessus. When Heracles donned the robe, his flesh was eaten away-he finally stopped the excruciating pain by ending his life on a pyre he had Poeas build and ignite. Deïanira took her life with a sword (Sophocles, Trachiniae; Apollodorus 2.7.5-7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.1-238; Hyginus, Fabulae 34, 36). Family Tree 48.
Ixion [ik-seye'on], "strength." The son of Phlegyas, he was betrothed to Dia, but he killed her father by setting a trap for him. Zeus brought him up to Olympus to purify him, but Ixion fell in love with Hera. Zeus fashioned a cloud in the form of Hera, so when Ixion forced himself on what he thought was Hera, Zeus captured him and affixed him to a burning wheel that revolves forever. The offspring of Ixion and the cloud was Centaurus, who became the father of the race of centaurs (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.21-48; Apollodorus, Epitome
Pholus [foh'lus] or Pholos, "lair." He was a centaur who entertained Heracles when the hero was preparing to capture the Erymanthian boar for his fourth labor. He served a jar of wine to Heracles that belonged to all the centaurs, a deed that caused the centaurs to attack Heracle. While driving the centaurs away, Heracles inadvertently hit Chiron with one of his poisoned arrows; Chiron found relief by trading his immortality for the mortality of Prometheus. Pholus also met his death in this battle when he accidentally dropped one of Heracles' arrows on his foot (Sophocles, Trachiniae 1095-1096; Euripides, Heracles 364-374; Apollodorus 2.5.4; Diodorus Siculus 4.12.3-8; Hyginus, Fabulae 30).
Contribution by [Skydancer]
A Centaur is half man, half horse. Its head, trunk and arms are those of a man. Its legs and remaining body are those of a horse. It feeds on live flesh and lives like beasts in the forests of Thessaly. Centaurs have a wild craving for wine and women. Their brutal customs scare mankind. The Centaurs are very erratic. They can be hospitable one moment, irrational the next. Never trust a Centaur, they have a reputation for betraying you e.g. as the ferryman Charon who intends to rape Hercules' bride Deianeira after sailing her over the river out of Hercules' reach.
They come into the world because the priest Ixion dares to fall in love with the goddess Hera. Zeus punishes the priest by confusing him so that he lands in a cloud thinking it is Hera. Being enamored with the cloud that he thinks is Hera, the cloud gives birth to the Centaurs.
There are a few reliable Centaurs e.g. Chiron. Chiron is famous for his gentry, wisdom and knowledge unlike any of his brothers and has been the tutor and master of many a Greek hero.
He is the product of the Titan Cronus and the Nymph Philyra's relationship. His father takes the shape of a horse in order to seduce Philyra. When Philyra sees this half man-half horse abomination, she begs the gods to be changed into a linden tree.
Apollo and Artemis take pity on Chiron and teach him the divine arts of medicine and hunting. Chiron becomes a very popular teacher and founds a school at Mt. Pelion in Thessaly where he teaches great heroes to be as Pollux and Castor (the Dioscuri), Peleus, Achilles, Nestor, Odysseus, Actaeon, Diomedes and many of the Argonauts, for whom he makes a maritime chart when they leave for their expedition.
Chiron is accidentally killed by Hercules in the battle of the Centaurs and the Lapiths. Hercules pierces Chiron with one of his famous arrows, dipped in the poisonous blood of the Hydra of Lernae. Chiron has been granted immortality but suffers indescribably that she grants his immortality to Prometheus in order to die. Because of Chiron's nobility, Zeus does not let him enter Hades but places him in the stars as the constellation known as Sagittarius.
Another famous and kind Centaur is Pholus. Hercules asks for hospitality from Pholus who is known for his benevolence. Pholus, as the good host he is, serves a grandiose meal for Hercules. Hercules then takes a extraordinary wine reserved for the Centaurs without permission. When the bottle is opened the odor spreads across the countryside causing the furious Centaurs to surround Pholus' cave and attack Hercules who manages to kill a great number of them and scare the rest away.
Pholus takes no part in the battle but simply begins to bury his kinsmen when Hercules mortally wounds Pholus in the hoof (Hercules has a way of accidentally killing innocent Centaurs). Hercules buries the innocent victim with and honorary funeral by a mountain that has since then been called Pholoë.
A good site with a nice explanation about the origin, historical and mythological, of the centaurs
I was not sure where to put this so I guess here is the right place. Here are some sites with information about centaurs, I have no time to select the interesting stuf so I leave them to people who have that time.
this are just a few of them.. if you whant more just make a search for centaur in the net.
Two different cind of Centaurs
The Centaurs pictured in Greek art had the upper body, head, and arms of a man and the lower body and legs of a stallion. They were a wild, shaggy, ancient people, renowned for their wizardry. There were two separate branches of the Centaur family; these were opposite in temperament.
There is several legends about the origin of Centaurs. Robert Graves tell about the two very different types of Centaurs and their creation.The man Ixion was the son of Phlegyas, the Lapith king. Eioneus, his future father-in-law, invited Ixion to a banquet, but Ixion repaid Eioneus by laying a fire-trap. Eioneus fell into the pit and was burned alive. Zeus, a scoundrel himselfe, took Ixion to Olympus and purified him from his sins. Ixion, however, had not changed; he emedeatley made planes to seduce Hera. Hera escaped by making an image of herself from a cloud. The resulting child was Centaurus, who later sired the horse-men on the Magnesian mares. Sometimes these Centaurs were called the Magnetes, or "great ones", wich comes from the name Magnesian. This branch of the Centaurs were like Cherion and Pholus - wise and just.
Hellenic myths say that the Centaur Cherion was the son of a god and was skilled in hunting, medicine, music, and divination. This particular Centaur was especially skilled in medicinal herbs. One of Cherion's semi-divine studens was Asclepius, a god of healing and medicine. The wild, shaggy Greek Centaurs were considered to be great wizards, shape-shifters, and well-versed in occult lore. They taught their skills to gods and speciall heroes.
Since Centaurs often acted on behalf of Underworld deities, their image was put on Greek and Roman tombs and funeral monuments.
The second and more numerous branch of Centaurs were the children of Cronus and his wife, the beautiful sea nymph Philya. A drunken. lecherous bunch, these Centaurs reveledin the free-flowing wine, orgies and all-night celebrations of his deity. Any woman unfortunate enough to meet these Centaurs had to run for her honor. The Centaur Nessus was one of this type.
When Hercules was travelling with his wife Deianira, they came to a raging, flooded river. The water was to swift for Hercules to swim while carrying his wife. The Centaur Nessus appeard and offered to carry Deianira accross the river if Hercules would swim by himselfe. The Greek hero swam accross, only to look back seeing the Centaur running away with his wife. Hercules shot the Centaur with a poisoned arrow and killed him. While Hercules was swimming back accross the river, the dying Nessus told Deianira to dip one of Hercules' shirts in the Centaur's blood as a love charm. If the hero's love ever began to fail, she could renew it by having the hero wear the shirt. Deianira, beliving that all Centaurs were wise and just, did as he said. Several years later, Hercules captured a beautiful woman named Iole and fell in love with her. Deianira sent him the blood-tainted shirt, which he immediaetly wore. The Centaur's blood burned Hercules' flesh and killed the hero.
Other cultures also knew and recognized the Centaur. The Indo-Europeans may have brought the knowlege of this man-horse creature when they travelled through Grece. The area of central Asia had belif in man-horse wizards also. Even Assyrian seals show the Centaur.
Centaur figures were known in the Kassite and Middle-Assyrian, as well as the Babylonian Periods of civilization. Images of these creatures has been found on seals, sealings, and stamp-seals. The Centaurs of the Middle East, however, sometimes have scorpio tails. Often they are shown holding a bow or club and hunting other animals.
In English heraldry, the Centaur without a bow is almost unheard of, but the Centaurs armed with drawn bow appears in the coats of arms of a few English and Scottish families, besides some on the Continent. The unarmed Centaur figure does appear in the heraldry of several Continental families. The most famoust coat of arms bearing a Centaur belonged to King Stephen, who invaded England in 1135. However, Stephen's Centaurs are sometimes shown with the body of a lion instead of a horse. It was not until the Renaissance that the Centaur began to ve used in heraldy.
More to come...
Taken out from the book Magickal Mystical Creatures by D.J Conway
The origin i've read was that Ixion fell in love with Hera and Zeus made a phantom Hera, Ixion was fooled and had sex with her. She gave birth to Centauros who mated with the mares of Mount Etna. thus gave birth to the centauric race...
Go back to The Centaur Database
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