Chiron was a centaur in Greek mythology. Unlike others of his kind, he was known across the land for his gentleness and wisdom, and was responsible for teaching and guiding many of the great Greek heroes.
He was the son of Cronos and the goddess Philyra, and was immortal. It was said that Cronos, fearing the wrath of his wife Rhea, disguised himself as a horse to lie with Philyra, and that's why Chiron was born in the form of a centaur.
Living in a cave in Mt. Pelion in Thessaly, Chiron was a tutor and guide to many of the great men of ancient Greece, including Peleus, his son Achilles, the great healer Aesculapius, Jason, Hercules, and others. Some said that Apollo himself took lessons from him.
He happened to be present when Hercules was in a fight with a group of centaurs, and was accidentally hit by one of the hero's arrows. His arrows were poisoned with the blood of the Hydra, for which there was no remedy. The immortal Chiron suffered greatly, until the gods granted him mortality, allowing him to die and his pain to come to an end.
- Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, by Edith Hamilton, Warner Books, 1969
- The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, by Pierre Grimal, Blackwell Publishers, 1986