by James Hunter

Caeneus was an invulnerable warrior of Thessaly; he voyaged with the Argonauts and took part in the Calydonian Hunt and was killed in the battle between the Lapiths and centaurs.

Originally, Caeneus was a beautiful maiden named Caenis, daughter of Elatus. The sea god Poseidon ravished her, and afterward promised to grant her anything she wished; she wished not to be a woman. He accepted her wish, and in addition, granted that as a man Caeneus would be protected from all wounds, and never fall to the sword.

At the wedding of Pirithous, when fighting broke out between the Lapiths and the centaurs, Caeneus slew many of the centaurs but remained unharmed himself. Finally a mob of centaurs began piling pine trees upon him, because they could not kill him, and he was crushed or smothered beneath the great weight. After his death, he flew away as a bird with tawny wings.



  • Hyginus. Fabulae, 14, 173.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses viii, 260-328; xii, 146-209, 429-535.