Friday, June 08, 2007

Centaur of attention

Centaurs are a mythological creature that are half man and half horse. Generally they are depicted with a man's torso on a horse's body because let's face it, a horse's head on a man's body would look downright silly.

Now I suppose talk of Centaurs may conjure up in some people's minds the nasty little incident that occurred in Enumclaw, Washington not too long ago where a Boeing Engineer took his love of horses to an extreme level. His love affair with a stallion ended poorly (pun intended).

Centaurs get their name from Centaurus, the son of Apollo and a nymph named Stilbe. Centaurus apparently loved horses, too and fathered the mythological herd of half horse and half horses that would be known as Centaurs after sowing some wild oats with a few fillies.

Historians theorize that the myth of the centaur was actually spawned when tribes of people who hadn't domesticated horses encountered tribes of nomadic people who had figured out it is much easier to ride than walk. The horseless tribes mistook the men mounted on horses as one creature.

This was more common then one might think. The Aztecs, for example, thought Cortez's mounted soldiers were half man and half beast. Considering what happened to the Aztec culture after encountering Cortez, they were probably right.

Isn't it funny how we saddle ourselves with these myths.
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