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Theseus Slaying a Centaur


Theseus Slaying a Centaur
Theseus Slaying a Centaur
About 1855
Antoine-Louis Barye
Gift of the Louis W. Hill family

Key Ideas
Discussion Questions

Theseus was the son of Aegeus (EE-GEE-us), the king of Athens. Remarkably intelligent and very strong, Theseus accomplished many amazing tasks. He killed the mighty Minotaur (MIN-a-tor) in the Labyrinth of Crete (CREET), and prevented an invasion of Athens by the Amazons, a race of female warriors.

Pirithoüs (pi-RITH-oh-us), King of the Lapiths (LAP-iths), heard of Theseus's reputation and wanted to see for himself if Theseus was indeed as brave and clever as people said. So, one day when Theseus was herding his cattle near Marathon, Pirithoüs made a raid on his herd. A fight broke out at once. However, Pirithoüs overcome with admiration for Theseus, surrendered and humbly told him that he would accept any punishment Theseus chose. But Theseus asked only for his friendship.

Some time later, Pirithoüs invited his friend Theseus to his wedding to Hippodamia (hippo-DAME-ee-ah). Among the many wedding guests were the Centaurs (SEN-tars), neighbors of Pirithoüs. The Centaurs had the bodies of horses and the torsos and heads of men. They were an unruly bunch! They drank too much wine and started to make trouble. When they tried to kidnap Hippodamia, Theseus quickly intervened, defeating the Centaurs and saving his friend's bride.

Key Ideas Story Background Discussion Questions


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