Hellenistic Terracotta Centaur, Circa 2nd Century BC
In mythology, Centaurs (Kentauroi) were a tribe of half man, half horse beasts which inhabited the mountains and forests of Magnesia. Most are wild and savage, known for lustfulness and drunkenness. The father of Centaurs was Centaurus, who was held in disrepute by both men and gods.
The pivotal event in the history of the Centaurs was their war with the Lapiths. King Peirithous of the Lapiths inherited part of Thessaly from his father Ixion. The Centaurs,who were grandsons of Ixion due to his mating with Magnesian mares, claimed they were entitled to part of the land. After the first round of fighting a peace was negotiated and King Peirithous invited the Centaurs to his wedding. There the Centaurs became drunk and then violent. Under the lead of Eurytion they attempted to carry off the Lapith women. In the resulting battle, the Centaurs were defeated and driven from the area.