Centaurs are mythical creatures whose bodies combine the upper part of a human body growing out of a horse’s body where the neck is on a real horse.

In Greek myth centaurs represent the animal passions. They are depicted as wild in their behavior, given to drunken violence.

Ricci painting Centaurs and Lapiths

Centaurs represent the unbridled passions. In this scene they have stormed a wedding and are trying to carry off the women. "The Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs," Sebastiano Ricci, c.1705.

The exception to usual centaur behavior is Chiron, an intelligent, civilized centaur who was the teacher of heroes. Known as a healer, astrologer, and oracle, Chiron appears in various stories as the teacher of Asclepius, Aeneas, Theseus, and Achilles, among others.

The wise centaur Chiron instructing the hero Achilles. Roman fresco.

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