In modern literature, centaurs are guardians or creatures gifted with strength, astronomy, and healing. Some deceptions portray centaurs more human with animalistic tendencies or act like wild savage monsters. Yet they contain the same physical traits of an entity that has the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse.
Centaurs can be viewed in our universe as a constellation, portraying the hybrid in the night sky. The name of the constellation is Centaurus and can be seen by the naked eye. The two bright stars are Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri. The faint red star in the center of the red circle is Proxima Centauri.
Myths and Legends
It is unclear aside from legend of where centaurs originated from. Some believe been born of Ixion and Nephele, which was a cloud made in the image of the Greek Goddess Hera. However, others believe centaurs are the children of Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares.
Citizens of Cyprus believed that while Aphrodite was avoiding Zeus, his seed spilled onto the land. Zeus gained Hera’s wrath by the many female conquests he encountered. He bestowed twelve daimones of the Lamos river to guard the infant Dionysos, protecting him from Hera. The enraged Goddess discovered their location and transformed them into ox-horned centaurs.
What we know of centaurs comes from art and mythology allowing authors to have creative free will when using them in their art. Female centaurs can be found in art and folklore but under a different name. Female centaurs are called centaurides or centauries.
Jerome’s version of The Life of Saint Anthony the Great, the hermit monk of Egypt, written by Athanasius of Alexandria, was widely discussed in the Middle Ages; it is relatedAnthony’s encounter with a centaur, who challenged the saint but was forced to admit that the old gods had been overthrown.
Modern literature uses centaurs to serve as warriors, guardians, and allies. In the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis centaurs are depicted as wise prophets or sages, loyal courtiers and majestic, powerful warriors. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling, a centaur named, Firenze saves Harry from the Dark Lord’s attack.
Additionally, centaurs could be wild beasts with animalistic traits or intelligent creatures with humanistic traits. Depending on the author’s purpose for using a centaur may alter the characteristic it presents. Despite their often appearance in fantasy little is truly known about the creature.