Among the many centaurs we know, we dedicate an article to the kindest, Chiron. This creature is born from Filira and Cronus, he turned into a horse to conquer it, and this is the simple reason why our centaur found himself from birth with a body half a horse and half a man. In addition to this mark of distinction, Chiron also has kindness. His is a meek soul, a lover of culture and science. It is very different from all the other centaurs who, in Greek mythology, have always stood out for their crude and crude, sometimes violent ways of doing things.
Chiron's name in ancient Greek is "Χείρων ", Chéirōn, and it is precisely from Greek mythology that it reaches us. We read that he married the nymph Cariclo, a union from which Ociroe was born, who lived on Mount Pelion. In his life he also had other children: Endeide, Melanippe, also known as Hippe, and Caristo.
For most of his life, Chiron lived in a house, located at Mount Pelio, in Thessaly, but certainly not in isolation. His home soon became a sort of school attended by many of those who later became important characters for their wisdom in the history of antiquity. Here are some names: Asclepius, Nestor, Macaone, Aeneas, Heracles, Castor and Pollux, Ulysses, Theseus, Achilles, Anfiarao, Peleo, Meleager, Cephalus, Telamon, Hippolytus.
Thanks to his great preparation in the field of medicine, Chiron, was called when Achilles burned his ankle while his mother Thetis tried to make him immortal with her magic. The gentle centaur managed to fix the situation not by healing his ankle but by replacing the damaged one with that of Damiso, a giant now dead but who had made himself known for his great ability in running. In fact, it is no coincidence that Achilles then became “faster footer”.
A great goodness of mind, one authentic wisdom, a strong knowledge of the sciences, in particular of the medical one: these are what make Chiron a very special centaur, very different from his brothers, always rough and violent and undoubtedly also ignorant.
If the god of medicine in Greek mythology is Asclepius, Chiron has all the merit since he is the one who acted as a silent and humble teacher, but he was not only an expert in medicine, his knowledge also concerned for example herbal sciences. There is even a German historian Giustino Febrònio who told of a "Garden of the Centaur" located in the Collepardo area.
We read that Chiron was also a great astrologer, according to some ancient scriptures, and even Isaac Newton seems to have considered him a "Practical astronomer", recognizing him as one of the first to delineate the constellations in Greece. This idea comes from a somewhat drawn interpretation of a passage from the Stromateis by Clemente Alessandrino.
Some of us may know this centaur because of the constellation that bears his name but few know the story behind its splendor. Let's see it, it is as fascinating as many of the events that we can find in Greek mythology.
When Heracles he began to fight with the Centaurs, managed to kill some of them while the survivors fled taking refuge in the cave where Chiron, friend of the hero, lived. In this contrast there was also an exchange of bows and an arrow, shot by Heracles, hit Chiron in the knee causing him a very serious injury, since the arrow was poisoned. Impossible to heal the wound, on the one hand, but on the other, impossible to kill Chiron who was immortal. The consequence was nothing more than a strong state of endless suffering for the poor centaur who was desperate, so desperate he wished to die, even if not technically possible.
“Bargaining” with Prometheus, who had become mortal due to his contrasts with Zeus, Chiron managed to give him immortality in order to stop suffering, and at this point the father of the Gods gave rise to the constellation of the Centaur in order to still have him at his side, in the sky .
We can read from the words of Ovid a passage from the story that we have just learned.
“(…) While the old man was handling the horrible arrows, due to the poison, one fell and stuck in his left foot. Screamed Chiron, and pulled the iron from the limb; Alcide and the boy Emonio (Achille) groaned. The centaur, meanwhile, was stirring (in a container) some herbs from the Pegasei mountains; then with those medicaments he tried to soothe the wound; but the poison was stronger than the medicine, and the disease spread deeply into the bones and throughout the body; the blood of the Hydra Learnea, mixed with that of the centaur, left no time for any help. As in front of his parent, Achilles remained motionless, his face streaked with tears; just like that he would have to cry if Peleus died. Often with affectionate hands he caressed the hands of the wounded man; - the teacher receives the prize for the costumes he gave - he often kissed him, often said even to the dying person: “Live, dear father, I beseech you; do not abandon me!"
The ending, we already know it, we can now go to observe where this constellation is positioned and if it is possible to observe it from Earth.
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