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NESSUS

Origin: Greek Mythology.

Description: a famous centaur who was killed by Heracles, and whose tainted blood in turn killed Heracles. He fought in the battle with the Lapiths and also became a ferryman on the river Euenos. 

Myths:

Nessus is known for his role in the story of the Tunic of Nessus. After carrying Deianeira, the wife of Heracles, across the river, he attempted to steal her away. Heracles saw this from across a river and shot a Hydra-poisoned arrow into Nessus’ breast. As a final act of malice, Nessus told Deianeira, as he lay dying, that his blood would ensure that Heracles would be true to her forever.

Deianeira foolishly believed him. Later, when her trust began to wane because of Iole, she spread the centaur’s blood on a shirt and gave it to her husband. Heracles went to a gathering of heroes, where his passion got the better of him. Meanwhile, Deianeira accidentally spilled a portion of the centaur’s blood on the floor. To her terror, it began to fume by the light of the rising sun.

She instantly recognized it as poison and sent her messenger to warn Heracles but it was too late. He lay dying slowly and painfully as the shirt burned his skin- either in actual flames or by the heat of the poison. He died a noble death on a funeral pyre of oak branches, and was taken to Mount Olympus by Zeus and welcome amongst the gods for his noble exploits.

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