Centaurs, or kentauros as they were known in Ancient Greek mythology
and part man
. Traditionally they have been depicted as
torsos on top of the lower body and hindlegs of a horse.
They are often shown as wild, lawless and wacky beings
While centaurs were considered to be monsters, the Ancient Greeks had
too much respect for horses to deem the half-horse, half-man being
totally evil. As a result, the centaur was granted some good traits, and
the species was allowed to roam amongst humans.
One of the most famous centaurs was Chiron, who was renowned for his
skill in hunting, medicine, music and prophecy. He was the wisest
and fairest of all centaurs and when Chiron died Jupiter put him in the
sky as the constellation Sagittarius.
The battle of Lapithae and the Centaurs occurred at the wedding of
Pirithous and Hippodamia, where Eurytion, one of the centaurs, got drunk
and tried to run away with the bride. The other centaurs
followed suit and a riot, complete with a bloody massacre, occured,
after which all the centaurs were driven from Mount Pelion.
The centaurs were skilled at fighting and used tree branches as their
weapon of choice. They are a recurring object in Ancient Greek and Roman art and poetry.
The literal meaning of "Cenataurus" is "one hundred strong".