Half-men and half horses, the Centaurs lived on Mt Pelion in Thessaly. They were violent and drunk, but also healers, and the centaur Chiron was so wise he became the teacher of many heroes like Achilles, Jason and Asclepius.

Heracles had chased them away to Thessaly after the good centaur Pholos had invited him to dinner. The smell of the meat made the other centaurs attack Pholos cave in order to get the food, but Heracles killed some and banished the others. By accident

he also wounded the wise centaur Chiron, who was immortal but could not heal himself. Chiron then gave his life in order to let Prometheus live.

It was also a centaur, Nessus, who was to cause Heracles death. See Deianeira.
The centaurs were chased out of Thessaly after trying to abduct the wife of the Lapith king Peirithoos at their weddingfeast.

Originally, the centaurs were pictured as a full man with a horse body: the front legs belonged to the man and the back to a hose. Later, they took the form we usually know.