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Table of Contents
See the fact file below for more information on the Centaurs or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Centaurs worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Centaurs have a human’s head, arms, and torso, and the body and legs of a horse.
- A version of their story states that centaurs were born from Ixion, king of the Lapiths, and Nephele, a cloud that was made to look like Hera.
- Another version of the story about their origin makes the centaurs children of a man named Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares.
- Centaurs are said to inhabit Mount Pelion and Magnesia in Thessaly, the Malean peninsula of southern Laconia, and the Foloi forest in Elis.
- A tribe of horned centaurs also lived in Cyprus. Nonnus stated that this tribe was fathered by Zeus. When Aphrodite eluded him, in frustration, Zeus spilled his seed on the ground of Cyprus.
- Twelve rustic daimodes, known as Lamian Pheres, were ordered by Zeus to protect the infant Dionysos from Hera.
- Hera was enraged and turned the Lamian Pheres into Centaurs with ox horns.
- At a later time, the Lamian Pheres accompanied Dionysus in his fight against the Indians.
- Centaurs are generally characterized as lawless, wild, and inhospitable.
ORIGIN OF THE MYTH
- Prevalent theories believe that the idea of centaurs came from ancient people who saw nomads riding horses for the first time.
- Bernal Díaz del Castillo, a Spanish conquistador, reported Aztecs misapprehending Spanish cavalrymen as half-man, half-animal.
- Greek writers also described the Lapith tribe of Thessaly as the inventors of horse-riding.
- Thessalian tribes also claimed that their horses were descendants of centaurs.
- Robert Graves, a historical novelist, guessed that centaurs were a faintly remembered horse totem from a fraternal earth cult of the pre-Hellenic era.
- The centaurs are most famous for their battle with the Lapiths. This battle is called Centauromachy.
- The battle began when the centaurs attempted to abduct Lapith women and Hippodamia, the king’s bride, on their wedding day. They were driven off with the help of Theseus, a hero present at the wedding.
- This battle is portrayed by Phidias in his Parthenon metopes and in a Renaissance-inspired sculpture by Michelangelo.
- Called centauresses or centaurides, female centaurs do not appear in early Greek art and literature. They only started to appear occasionally in late classical literature and art.
- The earliest examples of art with centauresses are a Macedonian mosaic dating back to the 4th century BC.
- Hylonome, a centauress, was also mentioned by Ovid. Hylonome committed suicide when her husband was killed in the battle with the Lapiths.
REPRESENTATIONS IN ARTS
- A broken Mycenaean pot found at Ugarit shows terracotta figures that were tentatively identified as centaurs. This suggests that the myth of these creatures may already have been present during the Bronze Age.
- Centaurs were among the first representative figures that were painted on Greek pottery during the Geometric period.
- During the Archaic period, Greek art depicted centaurs in three varying forms.
- Professor Paul Baur classified these representations into Class A, Class B, and Class C.
- Class A shows centaurs with a human torso attached to the body of the horse where the neck would be.
- Class B is depicted as having a human body and legs, which are joined to the hindquarters of a horse by the human waist.
- Class A and Class B appear with each other in some cases.
- Class C, on the other hand, appears with human front legs with hooves instead of feet.
- Winged centaurs were also depicted later in some amphorae paintings.
- Centaurs were also repeatedly shown in Roman art.
- At the Mozac Abbey in Auvergne, France, capitals of the monastery columns had carved centaurs harvesting grapes.
- Centaurs are also depicted on some Pictish stone carvings from north-east Scotland.
- At the University of Tennessee, the John C. Hodges library has a permanent exhibit known as Centaur from Volos. The exhibit was made by Bill Willers, with a combination of a Shetland pony and a human skeleton.
- Willers made another exhibit at the International Wildlife Museum.
- The full-mount skeleton of a centaur in this museum was made with the help of The Skull Unlimited International Inc.
- Centaurs were also common in European heraldry.
- In classical literature, a book about St. Anthony the Great’s life tells of his encounter with a centaur. The centaur challenged him, but was later forced to admit that the gods had been dethroned.
- This is depicted in Stefana di Giovanni’s The Meeting of St Anthony Abbot and St Paul the Hermit.
- Lucretius expressed his unbelief in the creatures, saying that centaurs could not exist because of their varying growth rate. He explained that at three years old, humans are just a little older than babies, while horses of the same age are already in the prime of their life.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Centaurs across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Centaurs worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Centaurs which are Greek mythology creatures that are part-human and part-horse. They were believed to exist in tribes that resided in caves.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Who Are the Parents?
- Centaur Books
- Placing Points
- Drunk Words
- Paid Mischief
- Percy’s Eyes
- Foreign Centaur
- The Art of Centaurs
- Centaur Fashion
- Stars for Centaurs
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Link will appear as Centaurs Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 2, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.