MITOLOGIA GRECA

Centauri

Nati dall’unione del re dei Lapiti Issione e di una nuvola, erano esseri per metà cavalli e per metà uomini. Selvaggi e rozzi, vivevano nelle foreste nutrendosi di carne cruda.

I Centauri possedevano i pregi ed i difetti del genere umano portati a livelli estremi.

Nella mitologia a loro sono stati riservati ruoli completamenti contrastanti: dall’eterna saggezza all’incredibile crudeltà. La figura del Centauro, durante il Medioevo, era associata agli eretici e alla loro interna dissociazione che gli faceva considerare metà cristiani e metà pagani.

Dante nella Divina Commedia colloca i centauri nell’inferno (Inferno XII) come custodi giustizieri dei violenti contro il prossimo, proprio per il loro rapporto diretto con la violenza avuto nella vita.

Sono legati a diversi racconti mitici, tra cui l’episodio in cui si narra della battaglia contro una popolazione della Tessaglia: i Lapiti. Invitati al banchetto nuziale, in occasione del matrimonio tra il re Piritoo e Ippodamia, i Centauri, completamenti ebbri assunsero un atteggiamento talmente insolente che uno di loro, Eurito, arrivò persino ad assalire la sposa, trascinandola per i capelli. Si scatenò una lotta furibonda, finché i Centauri non furono scacciati dalla festa nuziale

Centauri
Ercole
Un’altra leggenda racconta del Centauro Nesso che viveva sulle rive del fiume Eveno e traghettava i viaggiatori sull’altra sponda.

Un giorno Ercole, con la sua sposa Deianira, si trovò a dover attraversare il fiume, ma Nesso si rifiutò di trasportare entrambi nello stesso tempo, cosicché Ercole guadò il fiume da solo. Fu un gioco astuto di Nesso che appena ebbe Deianira in groppa si diede alla fuga tentando di rapirla, ma fu colpito ed ucciso da una freccia di Ercole.

Morendo rivelò alla donna che se avesse raccolto il suo sangue e intriso una veste, avrebbe potuto contare sull’amore eterno di Ercole. Ogni volta che il suo sposo si fosse dimostrato interessato ad un’altra donna, Deianira non doveva far altro che far indossare la veste a Ercole per farlo tornare a lei devotamente.

Passarono gli anni.

Ercole combatté molte battaglie tra cui quella vittoriosa con Ecaclia. Al suo ritorno l’eroe riportò con sé la figlia del defunto re, Iole. Fermatosi nelle vicinanze di Trachis, mandò Lica, un suo compagno da Deianira per prendere una veste bianca da sacrificare. Deianira temendo la bellezza di Iole, consegnò a Lica la camicia intrisa anni prima del sangue di Nesso.

Indossatola Ercole fu subito colto da terribili dolori. Il sangue del centauro era avvelenato dalla freccia che lo aveva ucciso, la quale era stata intinta anni prima nel sangue dell’Idra di Lerna.

Ercole impazzito dal dolore uccise Lica, poi ordinò di costruirgli una pira sui cui si fece ardere. Deianira distrutta dal dolore e dal rimorso pose fine alla sua vita impiccandosi.

La vendetta di Nesso era compiuta.

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