Chiron

Chiron

Overview
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Chiron (ˈ; also Cheiron or Kheiron) (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Χείρων; "hand") was held to be the superlative centaur
Centaur
In Greek mythology, a centaur or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse...

 among his brethren.

Like the satyr
Satyr
In Greek mythology, satyrs are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus — "satyresses" were a late invention of poets — that roamed the woods and mountains. In myths they are often associated with pipe-playing....

s, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind, but he was not related directly to the other centaurs.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Chiron'
Start a new discussion about 'Chiron'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Chiron (ˈ; also Cheiron or Kheiron) (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Χείρων; "hand") was held to be the superlative centaur
Centaur
In Greek mythology, a centaur or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse...

 among his brethren.

History


Like the satyr
Satyr
In Greek mythology, satyrs are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus — "satyresses" were a late invention of poets — that roamed the woods and mountains. In myths they are often associated with pipe-playing....

s, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind, but he was not related directly to the other centaurs. He was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. According to an archaic myth he was sired by Cronus
Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...

 when he had taken the form of a horse and impregnated the nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 Philyra, Chiron's lineage was different from other centaurs, who were born of sun and raincloud, rendered by Greeks of the Classic period as from the union of the king Ixion
Ixion
In Greek mythology, Ixion was king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, and a son of Ares, or Leonteus, or Antion and Perimele, or the notorious evildoer Phlegyas, whose name connotes "fiery". Peirithoös was his son...

, consigned to a fiery wheel, and Nephele
Nephele
In Greek mythology, Nephele was a cloud nymph who figured prominently in the story of Phrixus and Helle.Greek myth also has it that Nephele is the cloud whom Zeus created in the image of Hera to trick Ixion to test his integrity after displaying his lust for Hera during a feast as a guest of Zeus...

 ("cloud"), which in the Olympian telling Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 invented to look like Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

. Myths in the Olympian tradition attributed Chiron's uniquely peaceful character and intelligence to teaching by Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 and Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

 in his younger days.
Chiron's haunts were on Mount Pelion; there he married the nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 Chariclo
Chariclo
Chariclo is the name of two nymphs in Greek mythology.Chariclo, daughter of Cychreus and Stilbe married Chiron and became the mother of Hippe, Endeis, Ocyrhoe, and Carystus....

 who bore him three daughters, Hippe
Hippe
In Greek mythology, Hippe was the daughter of the Centaur Chiron and Chariclo. She bore a daughter, Melanippe or Arne, to Aeolus, and was ashamed to tell her father...

 (with a daughter Melanippe
Melanippe
In Greek mythology, Melanippe referred to several different people.* Daughter of the Centaur Chiron. Also known as Hippe or Euippe. She bore a daughter to Aeolus, Melanippe or Arne...

, the "Black Mare" or Euippe, "truly a mare"), Endeis
Endeis
In Greek mythology, Endeïs was the wife of Aeacus and mother of Telamon and Peleus. The name is a dialect variant of Engaios ....

, and Ocyrhoe
Ocyrhoe
In Greek mythology, Ocyrhoe or Ocyrrhoe refers to three characters.*Ocyrhoe was a daughter of Chiron and Chariclo. Ocyrhoe was transformed into a horse because she told her father Chiron his exact fate. She revealed that he would forsake his immortality to be spared the agonizing pain of a...

, and one son Carystus
Carystus (mythology)
Carystus , in Greek mythology, was the son of Chiron and a nymph Chariclo, brother of Hippe, Endeis and Ocyrhoe, father of Zarex, and the eponym of the town of Carystus on Euboea....

.

A great healer, astrologer
Astrologer
An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology. Typically an astrologer draws a horoscope for the time of an event, such as a person's birth, and interprets celestial points and their placements at the time of the event to better understand someone, determine the auspiciousness of an...

, and respected oracle, Chiron was said to be the first among centaurs and highly revered as a teacher and tutor. Among his pupils were many culture hero
Culture hero
A culture hero is a mythological hero specific to some group who changes the world through invention or discovery...

es: Asclepius
Asclepius
Asclepius is the God of Medicine and Healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia , Iaso , Aceso , Aglæa/Ægle , and Panacea...

, Aristaeus
Aristaeus
A minor god in Greek mythology, which we read largely through Athenian writers, Aristaeus or Aristaios , "ever close follower of the flocks", was the culture hero credited with the discovery of many useful arts, including bee-keeping; he was the son of Apollo and the huntress Cyrene...

, Ajax
Ajax (mythology)
Ajax or Aias was a mythological Greek hero, the son of Telamon and Periboea and king of Salamis. He plays an important role in Homer's Iliad and in the Epic Cycle, a series of epic poems about the Trojan War. To distinguish him from Ajax, son of Oileus , he is called "Telamonian Ajax," "Greater...

, Aeneas
Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

, Actaeon
Actaeon
Actaeon , in Greek mythology, son of the priestly herdsman Aristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero. Like Achilles in a later generation, he was trained by the centaur Chiron....

, Caeneus
Caeneus
In Greek mythology, Caeneus was a Lapith hero of Thessaly and, in Ovid's Metamorphoses— where the classical model of a hero is deconstructed and transformed— originally a woman, Caenis, daughter of Atrax...

, Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

, Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

, Jason
Jason
Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

, Peleus
Peleus
In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

, Telamon
Telamon
In Greek mythology, Telamon , son of the king Aeacus, of Aegina, and Endeis and brother of Peleus, accompanied Jason as one of his Argonauts, and was present at the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. In the Iliad he was the father of Greek heroes Ajax the Great and Teucer the Archer by different...

, Perseus
Perseus
Perseus ,Perseos and Perseas are not used in English. the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians...

, sometimes Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

, Oileus
Oileus
In Greek mythology, Oileus was the king of Locris. His father was given as Hodoedocus and his mother as Agrianome , according to Hyginus's Fabulae. Oileus's wife was Eriopis, who bore him a son named Ajax...

, Phoenix
Phoenix (Iliad)
In Greek mythology, Phoenix , son of Amyntor and Cleobule, is one of the Myrmidons led by Achilles in the Trojan War...

, and in one Byzantine tradition, even Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

: according to Ptolemaeus Chennus
Ptolemaeus Chennus
Ptolemaeus Chennus or Chennos , of Alexandria, was a Greek grammarian during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian.According to the Suda, he was the author of an historical drama named Sphinx, of an epic, Anthomeros, in 24 books and a Strange History...

 of Alexandria, "Dionysius was loved by Chiron, from whom he learned chants and dances, the bacchic rites and initiations."

Death


His nobility is further reflected in the story of his death, as Prometheus sacrificed his life, allowing mankind to obtain the use of fire. Being the son of Cronus, a Titan
Titan (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age....

, he was immortal and so could not die. So it was left to Heracles to arrange a bargain with Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 to exchange Chiron's immortality for the life of Prometheus
Prometheus
In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals...

, who had been chained to a rock and left to die for his transgressions. Chiron had been poisoned with an arrow belonging to Heracles that had been treated with the blood of the Hydra
Lernaean Hydra
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even...

, or, in other versions, poison that Chiron had given to the hero when he had been under the honorable centaur’s tutelage. According to a Scholium
Scholium
Scholia , are grammatical, critical, or explanatory comments, either original or extracted from pre-existing commentaries, which are inserted on the margin of the manuscript of an ancient author, as glosses. One who writes scholia is a scholiast...

on Theocritus
Theocritus
Theocritus , the creator of ancient Greek bucolic poetry, flourished in the 3rd century BC.-Life:Little is known of Theocritus beyond what can be inferred from his writings. We must, however, handle these with some caution, since some of the poems commonly attributed to him have little claim to...

, this had taken place during the visit of Heracles to the cave of Pholus
Pholus (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Pholus was a wise centaur and friend of Heracles who lived in a cave on or near Mount Pelion.The differing accounts vary in details, but each story contains the following elements: Herakles visited his cave sometime before or after the completion of his fourth Labor, the capture...

 on Mount Pelion
Pelion
Pelion or Pelium is a mountain at the southeastern part of Thessaly in central Greece, forming a hook-like peninsula between the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean Sea...

 in Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 when he visited his friend during his fourth labour in defeating the Erymanthian Boar
Erymanthian Boar
In Greek mythology, the Erymanthian Boar is remembered in connection with The Twelve Labours, in which Heracles, the enemy of Hera, visited in turn "all the other sites of the Goddess throughout the world, to conquer every conceivable 'monster' of nature and rededicate the primordial world to its...

. While they were at supper, Heracles asked for some wine to accompany his meal. Pholus, who ate his food raw, was taken aback. He had been given a vessel of sacred wine by Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 sometime earlier, to be kept in trust for the rest of the centaurs until the right time for its opening. At Heracles' prompting, Pholus was forced to produce the vessel of sacred wine. The hero, gasping for wine, grabbed it from him and forced it open. Thereupon the vapours of the sacred wine wafted out of the cave and intoxicated the wild centaurs, led by Nessus
Nessus (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nessus was a famous centaur who was killed by Heracles, and whose tainted blood in turn killed Heracles. He was the son of Centauros. He fought in the battle with the Lapiths. He became a ferryman on the river Euenos....

, who had gathered outside. They attacked the cave with stones and fir trees. Heracles was forced to shoot many arrows (poisoned with the blood of the Hydra
Lernaean Hydra
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even...

) to drive them back. During this assault, Chiron was hit in the thigh by one of the poisoned arrows. After the centaurs had fled, Pholus emerged from the cave to observe the destruction. Being of a philosophical frame of mind, he pulled one of the arrows from the body of a dead centaur and wondered how such a little thing as an arrow could have caused so much death and destruction. In that instant, he let slip the arrow from his hand and it dropped and hit him in the hoof, killing him instantly. This, however, is open to controversy, because Pholus shared the "civilized centaur" form with Chiron in some art images, and thus would have been immortal.

Ironically, Chiron, the master of the healing arts, could not heal himself, so he willingly gave up his immortality. He was honoured with a place in the sky, for the Greeks as the constellation
Constellation
In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....

 Centaurus
Centaurus
Centaurus is a bright constellation in the southern sky. One of the largest constellations, Centaurus was included among the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations.-Stars:...

.

Chiron saved the life of Peleus
Peleus
In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

 when Acastus
Acastus
Acastus is a character in Greek mythology. He sailed with Jason and the Argonauts, and participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.-Biography:Acastus was the son of Pelias, then king of Iolcus, and Anaxibia ....

 tried to kill him by taking his sword and leaving him out in the woods to be slaughtered by the centaurs. Chiron retrieved the sword for Peleus. Some sources speculate that Chiron was originally a Thessalian
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 god, later subsumed into the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 pantheon as a centaur.

Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

 tells us another version of Chiron's death. In this version both Chiron and his student (see below) Achilles are in the cave on Mt. Pelion with Hercules. When Chiron admires the weapons of the mighty hero, Achilles is temped to touch them making one of the arrows fall and strike the left foot of the Centaur. Achilles cried, as he would for his father, as Chiron left for the skies.

Students

  • Achilles
    Achilles
    In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

     - When Achilles' mother Thetis
    Thetis
    Silver-footed Thetis , disposer or "placer" , is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient one of the seas with shape-shifting abilities who survives in the historical vestiges of most later Greek myths...

     left home and returned to the Nereids
    Nereids
    In Greek mythology, the Nereids are sea nymphs, the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris, sisters to Nerites. They often accompany Poseidon and can be friendly and helpful to sailors fighting perilous storms. They are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea, where they dwelt with their father...

    , Peleus brought his son Achilles to Chiron, who received him as a disciple, and fed him on the innards of lions and wild swine, and the marrow of she-wolves.

  • Actaeon
    Actaeon
    Actaeon , in Greek mythology, son of the priestly herdsman Aristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero. Like Achilles in a later generation, he was trained by the centaur Chiron....

     - Actaeon, who was bred by Chiron to be a hunter, is famous for his terrible death; for he, in the shape of a deer
    Deer
    Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

    , was devoured by his own dogs. The dogs, ignorant of what they had done, came to the cave of Chiron seeking their master, and the Centaur fashioned an image of Actaeon in order to soothe their grief.

  • Aristaeus
    Aristaeus
    A minor god in Greek mythology, which we read largely through Athenian writers, Aristaeus or Aristaios , "ever close follower of the flocks", was the culture hero credited with the discovery of many useful arts, including bee-keeping; he was the son of Apollo and the huntress Cyrene...

     - The Muses were, according to some, those who taught Aristaeus the arts of healing and of prophecy. Aristaeus discovered honey
    Honey
    Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

     and the olive
    Olive
    The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

    . After the death of his son Actaeon he migrated to Sardinia
    Sardinia
    Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

    .



  • Asclepius
    Asclepius
    Asclepius is the God of Medicine and Healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia , Iaso , Aceso , Aglæa/Ægle , and Panacea...

     - The great healing power of Asclepius is based on Chiron's teaching. Artemis
    Artemis
    Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

     killed Asclepius' mother Coronis
    Coronis (Greek mythology)
    There are several characters in Greek mythology by the name Coronis . These include:*Coronis , daughter of Phlegyas, King of the Lapiths, was one of Apollo's lovers. While Apollo was away, Coronis, already pregnant with Asclepius, fell in love with Ischys, son of Elatus...

    , on Apollo
    Apollo
    Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

    's orders, while still pregnant but snatched the child from the pyre, bringing him to Chiron who reared him and taught him the arts of healing and hunting.

  • Jason
    Jason
    Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

     - In an early tradition, Aeson
    Aeson
    In Greek mythology, Aeson or Aison was the son of Cretheus and Tyro, who also had his brothers Pheres and Amythaon. Aeson was the father of Jason and Promachus with Polymede, the daughter of Autolycus. Other sources say the mother of his children was Alcimede or Amphinome...

     gave his son Jason to the Centaur Chiron to rear at the time when he was deposed by King Pelias. Jason is the captain of the Argonauts
    Argonauts
    The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

    .

  • Medus
    Medus
    In Greek mythology, Medus was the son of Medea. His father is generally agreed to be Aegeas, although Hesiod states that Jason fathered him and Cheiron raised him. Medus was driven from Athens to Colchis with his mother. Medea's father Aeetes was the former king of Colchis, and Aeetes's brother...

     - Medus, who some call Polyxenus
    Polyxenus
    In Greek mythology, Polyxenus is a name that may refer to:*One of the first priests of Demeter and one of the first to learn the secrets of the Eleusinian Mysteries....

     and others Medeus, is the man after whom the country Media
    Medes
    The MedesThe Medes...

     was called. He was the son of Medea by Aegeus. Med[e]us died in a military campaign against the India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    ns.

  • Patroclus
    Patroclus
    In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Patroklos , was the son of Menoetius, grandson of Actor, King of Opus, and was Achilles' beloved comrade and brother-in-arms....

     - Patroclus' father left him in Chiron's cave, to study, side by side with Achilles
    Achilles
    In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

    , the chords of the harp, and learn to hurl spears and mount and ride upon the back of genial Chiron.

  • Peleus
    Peleus
    In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

     - Peleus, father of Achilles, was once rescued by Chiron: Acastus
    Acastus
    Acastus is a character in Greek mythology. He sailed with Jason and the Argonauts, and participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.-Biography:Acastus was the son of Pelias, then king of Iolcus, and Anaxibia ....

    , son of Pelias
    Pelias
    Pelias was king of Iolcus in Greek mythology, the son of Tyro and Poseidon. His wife is recorded as either Anaxibia, daughter of Bias, or Phylomache, daughter of Amphion. He was the father of Acastus, Pisidice, Alcestis, Pelopia, Hippothoe, Asteropia, and Antinoe.Tyro was married to Cretheus...

    , purified Peleus for having killed (undesignedly) his father-in-law Eurytion. However, Acastus' wife, Astydameia
    Astydameia
    In Greek mythology, Astydameia is a name attributed to five individuals.-Queen of Iolcus:Astydameia, daughter of Cretheus , was the Queen of Iolcus and wife of Acastus. Her husband purified Peleus of the murder of King Eurytion of Phthia. Astydameia fell in love with Peleus but he scorned her...

    , fell in love with Peleus, and as he refused her she intrigued against him, telling Acastus that Peleus had attempted to rape her. Acastus would not kill the man he had purified, but took him to hunt on Mount Pelion. When Peleus had fallen asleep, Acastus deserted him, hiding his sword. On arising and looking for his sword, Peleus was caught by the centaurs and would have perished, if he had not been saved by Chiron, who also restored him his sword after having sought and found it. Chiron arranged the marriage of Peleus with Thetis, bringing Achilles up for her. He also told Peleus how to conquer the Nereid Thetis who, changing her form, could prevent him from catching her. In other legends, it was Proteus
    Proteus
    In Greek mythology, Proteus is an early sea-god, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea", whose name suggests the "first" , as protogonos is the "primordial" or the "firstborn". He became the son of Poseidon in the Olympian theogony In Greek mythology, Proteus (Πρωτεύς)...

     who helped Peleus. When Peleus married Thetis, he received from Chiron an ashen spear, which Achilles took to the war at Troy
    Troy
    Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

    . This spear is the same with which Achilles healed Telephus by scraping off the rust.

The Precepts of Chiron


A didactic poem
Didacticism
Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός , "related to education/teaching." Originally, signifying learning in a fascinating and intriguing...

, Precepts of Chiron, part of the traditional education of Achilles, was considered to be among Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

's works by some of the later Greeks, for example, the Romanized Greek traveller of the 2nd century CE, Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

, who noted a list of Hesiod's works that were shown to him, engraved on an ancient and worn leaden tablet, by the tenders of the shrine at Helicon
Helicon
Mount Helicon is a mountain in the region of Thespiai in Boeotia, Greece, celebrated in Greek mythology. With an elevation of , it is located just off the Gulf of Corinth.-Greek mythology:...

 in Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

. But another, quite different tradition was upheld of Hesiod's works, Pausanias notes, which included the Precepts of Chiron. Apparently it was among works from Acharnae
Acharnae
Acharnae was the largest deme of ancient Attica; it was located in the northwest part of the Attic plain, south of Mt. Parnes in the general vicinity of the modern suburbs of Acharnes and Ano Liosia, about due north of Athens. The Acharnians chiefly grew cereals, grapes, and olives, although...

 written in heroic hexameters and attached to the famous name of Hesiod, for Pausanias adds "Those who hold this view also say that Hesiod was taught soothsaying
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

 by the Acharnians
Acharnae
Acharnae was the largest deme of ancient Attica; it was located in the northwest part of the Attic plain, south of Mt. Parnes in the general vicinity of the modern suburbs of Acharnes and Ano Liosia, about due north of Athens. The Acharnians chiefly grew cereals, grapes, and olives, although...

." Though it has been lost, fragments in heroic hexameter
Hexameter
Hexameter is a metrical line of verse consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to Greek mythology, hexameter...

s that survive in quotations are considered to belong to it. The common thread in the fragments, which may reflect in some degree the Acharnian image of Chiron and his teaching, is that it is expository rather than narrative, and suggests that, rather than recounting the inspiring events of archaic times as men like Nestor
Nestor (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nestor of Gerenia was the son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings...

 or Glaucus
Glaucus (soldier)
Glaucus was a son of Hippolochus and a grandson of Bellerophon. He was a captain in the Lycian army under the command of his close friend and cousin Sarpedon. The Lycians in the Trojan War were allies of Troy...

 might do, Chiron taught the primeval ways of mankind, the gods and nature, beginning with the caution "First, whenever you come to your house, offer good sacrifices to the eternal gods". Chiron in the Precepts considered that no child should have a literary education until he had reached the age of seven. A fragment associated with the Precepts concerns the span of life of the nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

s, in the form of an ancient number puzzle:

A chattering crow lives out nine generations of aged men, but a stag's life is four times a crow's, and a raven's life makes three stags old, while the phoenix outlives nine ravens, but we, the rich-haired Nymphs, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder
Aegis
An aegis is a large collar or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high religious authority or the holder of a protective shield signifying the same, such as a bag-like garment that contained a shield. Sometimes the garment and the shield are merged, with a small...

, outlive ten phoenixes."


In human terms, Chiron advises, "Decide no suit, until you have heard both sides speak".

The Alexandrian critic Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium was a Greek scholar, critic and grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholarship, but also for work on other classical authors such as Pindar and Hesiod. Born in Byzantium about 257 BC, he soon moved to Alexandria and studied under Zenodotus,...

 (late 3rd-early 2nd century BCE) was the first to deny that the Precepts of Chiron was the work of Hesiod.

Cultural adaptations

  • Chiron was featured in Dante Alighieri
    Dante Alighieri
    Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

    's Inferno
    Inferno (Dante)
    Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

    . He led the centaurs in Hell
    Hell
    In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

    's Circle of Violence where they fired their arrows at any of the damned that tried to escape from the Phlegethon.

  • John Updike
    John Updike
    John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

    's novel The Centaur
    The Centaur
    The Centaur is a 1963 novel by John Updike. It won the National Book Award in 1964. The story concerns George Caldwell, a school teacher, and his son Peter, outside of Alton , Pennsylvania. The novel explores the relationship between the depressive Caldwell and his anxious son...

    is an expansion and interpretation of the story of Chiron, set in the context of 20th century small-town America.

  • Chiron is also a main character in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians
    Percy Jackson & the Olympians
    Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a pentalogy of adventure and fantasy fiction books authored by Rick Riordan. The series consists of five books, as well as spin-off titles such as The Demigod Files and Demigods and Monsters. Set in the United States, the books are predominantly based on Greek...

    series by Rick Riordan
    Rick Riordan
    Richard Russell "Rick" Riordan, Jr. is an American author best known for writing the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He also wrote the Tres Navarre mystery series for adults and helped to edit Demigods and Monsters, a collection of essays on the topic of his Percy Jackson series...

    .

Use as a symbol


Chiron appears on the cap badge of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps
Royal Army Veterinary Corps
The Royal Army Veterinary Corps is an administrative and operational branch of the British Army responsible for the provision, training and care of animals. It is a small but technically competent corps forming part of the Army Medical Services...

 and also appeared on a similar badge worn by the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps
Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps
The Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps was an administrative corps of the Canadian Army. The Canadian Army Permanent Veterinary Corps was founded in 1910. The Canadian Army Permanent Veterinary Corps was redesignated the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps on 3 Nov 1919...

. Chiron is the official mascot of the Delta Lambda Phi
Delta Lambda Phi
Delta Lambda Phi is a national social fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men. It offers a social environment and structure similar to other Greek-model college fraternities. Delta Lambda Phi was founded on October 15, 1986 by Vernon L. Strickland III in Washington, D.C. and incorporated...

 national social fraternity. Chiron is also the centerpiece in the logo of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons
American Veterinary Medical Association
The American Veterinary Medical Association , founded in 1863, is a not-for-profit association representing more than 81,500 U.S. veterinarians working in private and corporate practice, government, industry, academia, and uniformed services....

.

The centaur logo of Remy Martin
Rémy Martin
Rémy Martin is a brand selling cognac , specialist of the Cognac Fine Champagne originally produced by Rémy Martin, a French winemaker, who founded the company in 1724...

cognac depicts Chiron.

External links