Beautiful pure bronze sculpture. In Greek mythology, the centaurs (from Ancient Greek: ????????? – Kéntauroi) are a race of creatures composed of part human and part horse. In early Attic vase-paintings, they are depicted with the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse’s withers, where the horse’s neck would be. This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron. The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either the son of Ixion and Nephele (instead of the Centaurs) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the latter version of the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins. Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, Mount Pholoe in Arcadia and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia. Centaurs continued to figure in literary forms of Roman mythology.