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Caeneus battle with Centaurs, red figure Attic vase 5th century BC, Louvre Paris.

Brussels, Musees Royaux, A134

In Greek mythology, Kaineus or Caeneus was a well-known Lapith, originally a girl named Kaenis or Cænis and the favourite of Poseidon, who changed her into a man at her request and made her an invulnerable warrior. Such warrior women, indistinguishable from men, were familiar among the Scythian horsemen too (see the entry "Amazons"). In the Centaur battle, Caeneus proved invulnerable, until the Centaurs simply crushed him with rocks and trunks of trees, he disappeared into the depths of the earth unharmed and was released as a sandy-headed bird.

Image Athenian red-figure vase ca. 475-425 BC. Brussels, Musées Royaux A134

Pausanias about the Zeus Temples sculptures: In the center of the pediment is Peirithous. On one side of him is Eurytion, who has seized the wife of Peirithous, with Caeneus bringing help to Peirithous, and on the other side is Theseus defending himself against the Centaurs with an axe.


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