Half man and half horse, the centaur Chiron was seen as a healing figure in Greek Mythology. Sometimes depicted on pottery like the example below, he possessed an uncanny healing power and was said to be the creator of medicine. Son of the Titan Chronos, Chiron lived at the foot of Mount Pelion in Thessaly. He even instructed Greek heroes like Jason, Achilles, and Heracles. His career came to an end when Heracles accidentally hit him with a poisoned arrow. Rather than live in constant pain, he renounced his immortality and became the constellation Centaurus.

In Greek and Roman society, there was a constant struggle between those who saw healing as a mostly spiritual matter and advocates a rational, science-based approach. The latter was advocated by healers like Hippocrates, a well-known physician who pioneered ideas such as the Hippocratic oath, which bound Doctors not to reveal confidential information regarding their patients. It remains a rule that Doctors stand by to this day.

Artist: Christina L. Kolb

The centaur chiron.

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Credit: Christina L. Kolb and Open Past

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