Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is on the Greek mythological character. For information on Chiron in astronomy, see the article 2060 Chiron.
In Greek mythology, Chiron ("hand") — sometimes spelled Cheiron — was a centaur who was unlike most others of his kind in that he was intelligent, civilized and good natured. He was a son of Cronus and Philyra and was the father of Ocyrhoe with the nymph Chariclo. Chiron lived on Mount Pilion (or Pelion) and tutored the heroes Asclepius, Theseus, Achilles, Jason and Heracles.
Heracles accidentally shot him with a poisonous arrow (see: Erymanthian Boar), and Chiron willingly gave up his immortality to escape the pain. He was placed in the sky as the constellation Centaurus.
Chiron has been adapted for fictional works, most notably in Dante's The Divine Comedy, in which he is the chief guardian of the seventh circle of Hell. John Updike's novel The Centaur is an expansion and interpretation of the story of Chiron, set in the context of 20th century small-town America.
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