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Mythology of the constellation Centaurus

To the Greeks CENTAURUS represented Chiron, the leader of the Centaurs. These creatures - half-man, half-horse were aggressive and warlike, Chiron being the one exception. The only immortal Centaur, he was exceedingly wise and kind. His story is closely connected with the Fourth Labour of Hercules who, on his way to capture the rampaging Erymanthian boar, called on the Centaur Pholus. After eating a good meal, and despite warnings from Pholus, Hercules opened a cask of wine belonging to all of the Centaurs. They were incensed at such a liberty and furiously attacked Hercules but he managed to overcome them and chased them to Malea, the home of Chiron. Sadly, the kindly creature was accidentally struck on the knee by one of Hercules' poisoned arrows. In spite of Hercules' desperate efforts to help his friend, the wound would not heal, and Chiron seemed doomed to an eternal life of suffering. However fate, in the form of Prometheus, intervened. Zeus agreed that Prometheus should take over Chiron's immortality, thus allowing the stricken Centaur to be freed from his agony. He was then placed by Zeus in the heavens.
 

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