Centaurs are creatures with the upper body of a human, and the lower body of a horse. They are skilled warriors and hunters.
The mother of centaurs is Nephele, a cloud made in the image of the goddess Hera. The identity of the father is less certain, but most sources cite Ixion, King of the Lapiths. Centaurs were said to reside in Thessaly, Elis, Laconia and Cyprus.
One of the most well known centaurs was Chiron, who was reserved and civilized, unlike most of his kind which are known to be wild and warlike. Chiron was a teacher and a healer, and notably tutored the Greek hero Achilles.
Another notable centaur is Nessus, who would bring about the death of the Greek hero Hercules (also known as Heracles). After offering to help Hercules's wife across a river, Nessus attempted to steal her away, only to be shot by Hercules with an arrow dipped in the poison blood of the Hydra. Before dying, he gave his blood-soaked tunic to Deianeira, the wife of Hercules. Unwittingly, she later gave this tunic to Hercules, who was poisoned by Nessus's tainted blood upon putting it on.
These two centaurs show the dual nature of the creatures - the intelligence and composure of man at odds with the wild nature of the horse.