Can someone please explain to me how centaurs were created?

Does it seem weird to anyone else that we know about it, but we don't know the full story?


2 Answers 2


Centaurs are borne from a cloud nymph named Nemphele and the Lapith king Ixion.

The story goes like this:

  • Ixion is a terrible person, and deceitfully invites some poor dude to a "banquet" where he makes the person fall into a pit. (this is from memory)

  • Zeus takes pity (from him being a murderer), and decides to purify him by inviting Ixion to his own banquet.

  • Ixion, being a bad person, decides to try to win the love of Hera.

  • Zeus finds out, and makes a ghost of Hera from a cloud. Ixion has intercourse with the cloud (nymph).

  • Ixion lives torturedly(?) ever after. Nymph gives birth to some centaurs.

Apollodorus, Epitome, e.1, section 21

Ixion fell in love with Hera and attempted to force her; and when Hera reported it, Zeus, wishing to know if the thing were so, made a cloud in the likeness of Hera and laid it beside him; and when Ixion boasted that he had enjoyed the favours of Hera, Zeus bound him to a wheel, on which he is whirled by winds through the air; such is the penalty he pays. And the cloud, impregnated by Ixion, gave birth to Centaurus.


Although there are conflicting ideas the two most common are that they were either born of Ixion and Nephele or descendants of Centaurus, a son of Apollo. However there is a similar version where Centaurus is said to be born of Ixion and Nephele.

The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera).

This is from the Wikipedia page on Centaurs

The centaurs were descendants of Centaurus, a son of the music god Apollo.

This is from MythWeb


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