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Mythological Monsters: Did they ever exist?

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Author Topic: Mythological Monsters: Did they ever exist?  (Read 2630 times)
Moira Kelliey
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« on: February 24, 2007, 08:57:52 pm »



Centaur

Painting by Sebastiano Ricci, of Centaurs at the marriage of Pirithous, king of the Lapithae

In Greek mythology, the centaurs (Greek: Κένταυροι) are a race of creatures composed of part human and part horse. In early Attic vase-paintings, they are depicted as the head and torso of a human joined at the (human's) waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be.

This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, and as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.

The centaurs descended from Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. Centaurus was the son of either Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the latter version of the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins.
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