Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

Meet the Monsters – Centaurs

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Meet the Monsters is a web series providing background on the mythological creatures featured in MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES.



According to Greek and Roman mythology, centaurs have the head, arms, and upper torso of a human, and the body, legs, and tail of a horse. Per Greek legend, centaurs descended from Ixion and Nephele (a cloud in the image of the goddess Hera). Another version lists them as descended from Centaurus and the Magnesian mares. Centaurus is described as either the son of Ixion and Nephele, or of the god Apollo and Stilbe (daughter of the river god Peneus). The latter tale includes a twin brother Lapithes, ancestor of the Lapiths. This relationship makes the war between the centaurs and Lapiths, in which the hero Theseus (legendary founder of Athens and son of the god Poseidon) appears, a war of cousins. Another famous centaur was named Chiron.

centaur03The Greek Philostratus the Elder described female centaurs:

“How beautiful the Centaurides are, even where they are horses; for some grow out of white mares, others are attached to chestnut mares, and the coats of others are dappled, but they glisten like those of horses that are well cared for. There is also a white female Centaur that grows out of a black mare, and the very opposition of the colours helps to produce the united beauty of the whole.”
centaur01The Centaurus constellation was listed by the 2nd century astronomer, Ptolemy. Centaur images appear in heraldry and on bank notes, coins, and stamps. More recently, centaurs appear in the game Dungeons & Dragons, the Narnia, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter films and books, and the books WORLD OF TEARS by Philip Jose Farmer, FABLEHAVEN by Brandon Mull, and MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES by Henry Herz.

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Author: Henry Herz

Children's book author

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