The Lapiths (Ancient Greek: Λαπίθαι) are a legendary people of Greek mythology, whose home was in Thessaly, in the valley of the Peneus and on the mountain Pelion.They were an Aeolian tribe. Like the Myrmidons and other Thessalian tribes, the Lapiths were pre-Hellenic in their origins. The genealogies make them a kindred people with the Centaurs: in one version, Lapithes (Λαπίθης) and Centaurus (Κένταυρος) were said to be twin sons of the god Apollo and the nymph Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. Lapithes was a valiant warrior, but Centaurus was a deformed being who later mated with mares, from whom the half-man, half-horse Centaurs sprang. Lapithes was the eponymous ancestor of the Lapith people, and his descendants include Lapith warriors and kings, such as Ixion, Pirithous, Caeneus, and Coronus, and the seers Idmon and Mopsus.
In the Iliad the Lapiths send forty manned ships to join the Greek fleet in the Trojan War, commanded by Polypoetes (son of Pirithous) and Leonteus (son of Coronus, son of Caeneus). The mother of Pirithous, the Lapith king in the generation before the Trojan War, was Dia, daughter of Eioneus or Deioneus; Ixion was the father of Pirithous, but like many heroic figures, Pirithous had an immortal as well as a mortal father. Zeus was his immortal father, but the god had to assume a stallion's form to cover Dia for, like their half-horse cousins, the Lapiths were horsemen in the grasslands of Thessaly, famous for its horses. The Lapiths were credited with inventing the bridle's bit. In fact, the Lapith king Pirithous was marrying the horsewoman Hippodameia, "tamer of horses", at the wedding feast that a battle, the Centauromachy, made famous.
The best-known legend with which the Lapiths are connected is their battle with the Centaurs at the wedding feast of Pirithous, the Centauromachy. The Centaurs had been invited, but, unused to wine, their wild nature came to the fore. When the bride was presented to greet the guests, the centaur Eurytion leapt up and attempted to rape her. All the other centaurs were up in a moment, straddling women and boys. In the battle that ensued, Theseus came to the Lapiths' aid. They cut off Eurytion's ears and nose and threw him out. In the battle the Lapith Caeneus was killed, and the defeated Centaurs were expelled from Thessaly to the northwest.
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