A centaur is a creature from Greek and Roman mythology with the body and legs of a horse, and the torso, head and arms of a man in place of the horse's head and neck. Centaurs are often depicted with a bow and arrow. The constellation Sagittarius (the archer) is a depiction of a centaur.
Centaurs appear in various classical myths; among the most famous is Chiron, who was tutor to the young Achilles. In his political tract The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli uses the centaur as a metaphor for a being that combines the best attributes of both man and beast. Centaurs also appear in Dante's Inferno, patrolling the seventh circle of Hell.
It is believed that centaur myths may have originated from contact between Greeks and mounted hunters from Thessaly, or other horse-riding cultures, before the Greeks learnt how to ride horses.