Photo: Philippe Matsas / Opale (Fr)
December 2, 2019
The Centaur of Volos Project
In the early 1990s, due to my historic research into world mythology, (or perhaps due to my swashbuckling adventure novels) I was invited by professors Beauvais Lyons and Neil Greenberg to participate in the “Centaur of Volos” project at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This project, which spanned the departments and fields of zoology, psychology, computer science, theatre, printmaking and design, was tons of fun for the often stodgy world of academia.
Backstory: The ‘bones of the Centaur of Volos’ had been found on an isle off the coast of Greece and were interred with fanfare within the Great Hodges Library at UTK. The centaur, presumably a relative of Chiron (the centaur in myth who trained Achilles, Jason, Asclepius and others) soon became the subject of much scholarly work and hoopla for several years. I was asked to write a biography of the ‘Indiana-Jones-like’ adventurer who had first ‘discovered’ the fabled skeleton.
Instead, I went to Tunisia where–in the fabulous Bardo Museum of Tunis, packed with amazing Roman mosaics–I discovered the mosaic of two female centaurs, crowning Venus freshly risen from the sea. I wrote an interesting article for the University of Tennessee’s website: Tunisian Centaurs of Aphrodite.
As we now approach the 25th anniversary of the installation of the Volos centaur–during this celestial month of the centaur archer Sagittarius (aka Chiron)–it’s time to re-evaluate the importance of keeping our clear-sighted focus on our targets!
Another interesting related story is my article on The Horse of Carthage.
Happy Sagittarian Holiday!