Minor Divinities (page 146, with art)

Chapter 3: Olympos, the Underworld, and Minor Divinities

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Athens, Acropolis Museum 1.587:  Attic black figure dinos fragment by Sophilos, Chariklo


Beazley Archive Pottery Database

London, British Museum, 1971,1101.1: Attic black-figure dinos by Sophilos (“The Erskine Dinos”), wedding of Peleus and Thetis: Cheiron, Hebe, Dionysos, Leto and Chariklo

British Museum

British Museum

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Florence, Museo Archeologico 4209: Attic black-figure volute krater by Kleitias and Ergotimos (Francois Krater), wedding of Peleus and Thetis: Dionysos, Hestia, Chariklo, Demeter, Iris, Cheiron and Peleus

A. Furtwaengler and K. Reichhold, Griechische Vasenmalerei: Auswahl hervorragender Vasenbilder (Serie I, Tafel 1-60, 1904), detail of pls. 1-2


Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Pindar, Pythian 4.103

from the presence of Chariclo and Philyra, where the holy daughters of the Centaur raised me. Greek Text

ApB 2.5.4 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

So passing through Pholoe he [Herakles] was entertained by the centaur Pholus, a son of Silenus by a Melian nymph.  Greek Text

Pindar, Pythian 2.25-48

He [Ixion] learned a clear lesson. For although he received a sweet life among the gracious children of Cronus, he did not abide his prosperity for long, when in his madness of spirit he desired Hera, who was allotted to the joyful bed of Zeus. But his arrogance drove him to extreme delusion; and soon the man suffered a suitable exquisite punishment. Both of his crimes brought him toil in the end. First, he was the hero who, not without guile, was the first to stain mortal men with kindred blood; second, in the vast recesses of that bridal chamber he once made an attempt on the wife of Zeus. A man must always measure all things according to his own place. Unnatural lust throws men into dense trouble; it befell even him, since the man in his ignorance chased a sweet fake and lay with a cloud, for its form was like the supreme celestial goddess, the daughter of Cronus. The hands of Zeus set it as a trap for him, a beautiful misery. Ixion brought upon himself the four-spoked fetter, his own ruin. He fell into inescapable bonds, and received the message that warns the whole world. She bore to him, without the blessing of the Graces, a monstrous offspring—there was never a mother or a son like this—honored neither by men nor by the laws of the gods. She raised him and named him Centaurus, and he mated with the Magnesian mares in the foothills of Pelion, and from them was born a marvelous horde, which resembled both its parents: like the mother below, the father above.  Greek Text

Souidas 602F1 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker pt. 3 B, p. 733, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Plato, Phaidros 229d

But I, Phaedrus, think such explanations are very pretty in general, but are the inventions of a very clever and laborious and not altogether enviable man, for no other reason than because after this he must explain the forms of the Centaurs, and then that of the Chimaera, and there presses in upon him a whole crowd of such creatures, Gorgons and Pegas, and multitudes of strange, inconceivable, portentous natures.  Greek Text

♠ Xenophon, Kynegetikos (On Hunting) 4.3.17

Diodoros Siculus 4.69-70

He [Ixion], the story goes, having promised that he would give many gifts of wooing to Eïoneus, married Dia, the daughter of Eïoneus, by whom he begat Peirithoüs. But when afterward Ixion would not pay over the gifts of wooing to his wife, Eïoneus took as security for these his mares. Ixion thereupon summoned Eïoneus to come to him, assuring that he would comply in every respect, but when Eïoneus arrived he cast him into a pit which he had filled with fire. Because of the enormity of this crime no man, we are informed, was willing to purify him of the murder. The myths recount, however, that in the end he was purified by Zeus, but that he became enamoured of Hera and had the temerity to make advances to her. Thereupon, men say, Zeus formed a figure of Hera out of a cloud and sent it to him, and Ixion, lying with the cloud (Nephelê) begat the Centaurs, as they are called, which have the shapes of men. But the myths relate that in the end Ixion, because of the enormity of his misdeeds, was bound by Zeus upon a wheel and after death had to suffer punishment for all eternity.

The Centaurs, according to some writers, were reared by Nymphs on Mt. Pelion, and when they had attained to manhood they consorted with mares and brought into being the Hippocentaurs, as they are called, which are creatures of double form; but others say that it was the Centaurs born of Ixion and Nephelê who were called Hippocentaurs, because they were the first to essay the riding of horses, and that they were then made into a fictitious myth, to the effect that they were of double form. We are also told that they demanded of Peirithoüs, on the ground of kinship, their share of their father’s kingdom, and that when Peirithoüs would not yield it to them they made war on both him and the Lapiths.  Greek Text

Loukianos, Zeuxis 4

On fresh green-sward appears the mother Centaur, the whole equine part of her stretched on the ground, her hoofs extended backwards; the human part is slightly raised on the elbows; the fore feet are not extended like the others, for she is only partially on her side; one of them is bent as in the act of kneeling, with the hoof tucked in, while the other is beginning to straighten and take a hold on the ground–the action of a horse rising. Of the cubs she is holding one in her arms suckling it in the human fashion, while the other is drawing at the mare’s dug like a foal. In the upper part of the picture, as on higher ground, is a Centaur who is clearly the husband of the nursing mother; he leans over laughing, visible only down to the middle of his horse body; he holds a lion whelp aloft in his right hand, terrifying the youngsters with it in sport (Greek Text).

London, British Museum 1957,0413.245: Centaur Family, engraving by Jan Collaert II, after Loukianos, Zeuxis 4, 1578 or later

British Museum

Warburg Institute Iconographic Database

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#Chariklo, #Cheiron, #Demeter, #Dionysos, #Hebe, #Hestia, #Iris, #Kentauroi, #Leto, #Peleus, #Thetis

Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, December, 2017.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2021.

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