Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Centaurs >> Cyprian Centaurs (Kentauroi Kyprioi)


Greek Name

Κενταυροι Κυπριοι


Kentauroi Kyprioi

Latin Spelling

Centauri Cyprii


Centaurs of Cyprus

THE KENTAUROI KYPRIOI (Cyprian Centaurs), were a tribe of bull-horned centaurs native to the island of Kypros (Cyprus). They were born of Gaia the Earth when she was accidentally impregnated by Zeus during a failed attempt to couple with the goddess Aphrodite.

The Kentauroi were probably fertility-spirit (daimones) attendants of the goddess Aphrodite. They were no doubt related to the Kerastai (Cerastae)--bull-horned, Kyprian devotees of the goddess.

Despite their similar form they were not connected with the more famous Kentauroi of Thessalia.


ZEUS & GAIA (Dionysiaca 14.193 & 32.65)


Greek Name

Φηρες Κυπριοι


Phêres Kyprioi

Latin Spelling

Pheres Cyprii


Beasts of Cyprus


Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 611 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Not so wild his [Zeus'] desire had been for Kypris (Cypris) [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. Kentauroi (Centaurs)]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 193 ff :
"[Rheia summoned 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 (Cypris) [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 (Gaea, the Earth) received Kronion's (Cronion'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)."




A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.