chiron's story


Chiron (or Cheiron ) was a Centaur, half man and half horse and the son of the Titan Cronos. Cronos disguised himself as a horse in order to seduce Philyra without his wife Rhea discovering the affair. Chiron, the only immortal centaur, unlike other centaurs who are descended from Ixion, was among the gentlest, wisest, and most learned of creatures. Known for his exceptional goodness and wisdom, he was asked to tutor several of the greatest of Greek heroes, including Achilles, Actaeon, Asclepius, Heracles, Jason, Aeneas, and Peleus. According to the bards, Hercules stopped to visit Pholus. Hercules was thirsty and persuaded Pholus to open a jar of wine that was the common property of the centaurs. The other centaurs smelled the wine and came running. A fight broke out between Hercules and the centaurs. Chiron took no part in the fight but, was accidentally wounded by Hercules with a poison arrow. As an immortal Chiron could not die but, lived in terrible pain. In order to conclude the story of Chiron and his glory, the story of Prometheus must be told: Upon the conclusion of the war between the Olympians and the Titans, Prometheus and Epimetheus were spared imprisonment in Tatarus because they had not fought along side their fellow Titans. As a reward, they were given the task of creating all of the creatures of the earth. Prometheus assigned Epimetheus the task of giving the creatures of the earth their various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good qualities out and there were none left for man. So Prometheus decided to make man stand upright as the gods did and to give them fire. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure.
Prometheus loved man more then the Olympians, who had banished most of his family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that man must present a portion of each animal they sacrificed to the gods, Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. He created two piles, one with bones wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in an animal hide. He then bade Zeus to pick. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word, Zeus had to accept that as his share for future sacrifices. In his anger over the trick, he took fire away from man. Prometheus, however, lit a torch from the sun and brought it back to man. Zeus was enraged that man once again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrible punishment on both man and Prometheus. To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. He then had Hermes give the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creation was Pandora, the first women. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. Thus, completed Zeus sent Pandora down to Epimetheus who was staying amongst the men. Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but, Pandora's beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora's curiosity about the jar, that she was forbidden to open, became too great. She opened the jar and out flew all manor of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes. However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing - hope. Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked on sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and for refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus's children would dethrone him. To punish Prometheus, Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, take him to the Caucasus Mountains, and chain him to a rock with unbreakable adamanite chains. Here he was tormented day and night by a giant eagle tearing at his liver. Zeus gave Prometheus two ways out of this torment. He could tell Zeus who the mother of the child that would dethrone him was; or meet two conditions: First, that an immortal must volunteer to die for Prometheus. Second, that a mortal must kill the eagle and unchain him. Eventually, Chiron the Centaur, in order to be relieved of the unrelenting torment of the wound inflicted by Hercules, gave his immortality to the Titan Prometheus allowing himself to die. Hercules then came and killed the giant eagle freeing Prometheus. Seeing the sacrifice made by Chiron, Zeus deemed it necessary to honor Chiron. This honor came in the form of placing Chiron forever in the skies as the constellation Sagittarius.