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Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

Page: 118

Centaurs and Lapithæ

To show his devotion to this newly won friend, Theseus consented to accompany him to the court of Adrastus, King of Argos, and witness his marriage to Hippodamia, daughter of the king. Many guests were, of course, present to witness the marriage ceremony, among others Hercules and a number of the Centaurs. The latter, struck with admiration for the bride’s unusual beauty, made an attempt to kidnap her, which was frustrated by the Lapithæ, seconded by Theseus and Hercules. The terrible struggle which ensued between the conflicting parties has ever been a favorite subject in art, and is popularly known as the “Battle between the Centaurs and Lapithæ.”

The hotly contested bride did not, however, enjoy a very long life, and Pirithous soon found himself, like Theseus, a disconsolate widower. To avoid similar bereavement in future, they both resolved to secure goddesses, who, being immortal, would share their thrones forever. Aided by Pirithous, Theseus carried off Helen, the daughter of Jupiter (p. 311), and, as she was still but a child, intrusted her to the care of his mother, Æthra, until she attained a suitable age for matrimony. Then, in return for Pirithous’ kind offices, he accompanied him to Hades, where they intended to carry off Proserpina.

While they were thus engaged, Helen’s twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, came to Athens, delivered her from captivity, and carried her home in triumph.


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