THE KENTAUROI KYPRIOI (or Cyprian Centaurs), were a tribe of bull-horned centaurs native to the island of Kypros. They were probably local fertility spirits (daimones), attendants of Aphrodite, probably related to the satyr-like Kerastai, the bull-horned priests of the goddess. In myth, the Cyprian Kentauroi were born of Gaia the earth when she was accidentally impregnated by the god Zeus during his failed attempt to seduce the goddess Aphrodite, who had just emerged from the sea. Despite their similar appearance, they were not connected with the more famous Kentauroi of Thessalia.
|ZEUS & GAIA (Dionysiaca 14.193 & 32.65)
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 611 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Not so wild his [Zeus'] desire had been for Kypris [Aphrodite], when craving but not attaining he scattered his seed on the ground, and shot out the hot foam of love self-sown, where in the fruitful land horned Kypros (Cyprus) flourished the two-coloured generation of wild creatures with horns (Pheres) [i.e. the Kentauroi, Centaurs]."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 193 ff :
"[When Rheia summoned the rustic divinities to join the army of Dionysos for his campaign against the Indians:] Another tribe of twiform Kentauroi (Centaurs) was ready, the Kyprioi (Cyprian). One when Kypris [Aphrodite] fled like the wind from the pursuit of her lascivious father [Zeus], that she might not see an unhallowed bedfellow in her own begetter, Zeus the Father gave up the chase and left the union unattempted, because unwilling Aphrodite was too fast and he could not catch her: instead of the Kyprian's bed, he dropt on the ground the love-shower of seed from the generative plow. Gaia (Earth) received Kronion's fruitful dew, and shot up a strange-looking horned generation."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 32. 65 ff :
"I [Zeus] desired the Paphian [Aphrodite], for whose sake I dropt seed in the furrow of the plowland and begat the Kentauroi (Centaurs)."
- Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.