The centaurs of Greek mythology are creatures that are part human and part horse. They are usually portrayed with the torso and head of a human, and the body of a horse. Centaurs are the followers of the wine god Dionysus and are well known for drunkenness and carrying off helpless young maidens (find out more about Dionysus...)
.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.
The centaur Chiron was the teacher of the Greek heroes Jason, Theseus and Achilles. (find out more about Achilles...)
Chiron had an extensive knowledge of the healing arts. When he was accidentally hit by a poisonous arrow shot by Heracles, Chiron relinquished his immortality (in favor of Prometheus) in order to escape the eternal pain by dying. After his death he became the constellation of Sagittarius.
This statue depicts the famous Centaur Chiron with the young god Eros
playing cheerfully on his back.
Made of fine white alabaster stone. Louvre Museum, Paris, France.