It's usual to recall that the name Minotaur comes from the name of the king Minos and from the animal Tauros and that makes sense to me, however going a little farther I found the name "Centaur" or "Kentauros" which means "bull slayer"(or something close to that) but I couldn't find any reference to confirm they have such "fame" or to justify their name; Why are they called so?

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    Per the wikipedia Theories of Origin, the idea of Centaurs arising from early contact of non-riding culture with horse riding cultures is a pretty good supposition. It's possible the use of lances by the riders result in the moniker, because these riders can pierce in the same way as the mighty bull with its horns. But as Gibet notes, it's unlikely we'll never know for sure, so it's a matter of best guesses.
    – DukeZhou
    Dec 27, 2017 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


Questions about etymology most often lead to literature in various languages. The wikipedia article mentions the (more or less) established view but for lack of translations it appears as unrealiable, coming through a mention of R. Graves.

Nineteenth c. philology already proposed that Centaurs are related to the Indic 'Ghandarva' as the phonetic transform is obvious. In 1883 Elard Meyer published a study Gandharven-Kentauren and half a century later Georges Dumezil published his book Le problème des Centaures (1929), a rather definitive treatment. He paid more attention to the Avestan gandareba. Scholars are unanimously dismissive of Palephatus and his folk etymology and speculating on the Proto IndoEuropean root of the word is not more acceptable.

The mythic core, according to Dumezil, pertains to appearing in disguise, something done during a ritual from the winter months. His thesis makes inessential the image "horse +man" which is usually taken to be the meaning of the word. Visual variations of this theme are collected in P. Baur Centaurs in Ancient Art (1912)

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    Very instructive and +1 for giving me the references,thank you. Dec 31, 2017 at 2:59

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