On Centaurs and Satyrs:

From Masks of Dionysus in “The Wildness of Satyrs”:

“Centaurs, on the other hand, make up a real society of their own, attached to neither god nor a master, situated outside the human world and civilization. Heracles cannot pass among them without violence. Nessos tries to rape Deianira. The opening of the wine jar entrusted to Pholus by Dionysus drives the centaurs into a frenzy, and the same kind of rioting at the wedding of Pirithous, where Theseus has to restrain the centaurs’ outbursts as they turn into drunken rapists. Inversely, some centaurs, such as Pholus and Chiron, hold secret powers, medical or magical ones. Chiron is also an educator, a famous paidotrophos. These hybrid beings are more truly on the borderline between extremes of wildness and culture, animality and humanity.

In the case of satyrs, the situation is not quite the same. Satyrs do not form an isolated society, far from the civilized world of humans. They accompany Dionysus, who is present among humans with wine, dance, and music, surrounded by maenads. They have a subordinate status, like that of slaves; servants of Dionysus, they also work as artisans at the forge of Hephaestus; sometimes they are sculptors, sometimes cooks. They can be servants of Heracles, who captures them but does not defeat them, unlike the centaurs who he massacres. By the logic of their servile status, satyrs are depicted as both thieves and gluttons, incorrigible and unrepentant drunkards.”

Add an annotation:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.