How the idea of half-man, half-horse creatures came into the world has puzzled poets, scholars and writers since antiquity. With the connection of Centaurs and Gandharves by Adalbert Kuhn some 170 years ago, these enigmatic mythical figures became a cross-cultural object of study for the first time. Michael Janda’s latest study is devoted to proving their historical-genetic relationship and analysing both names.
The path of investigation combines philology and linguistics with the history of religion and archaeoastronomy and leads from the earliest evidence from Greek and Indo-Iranian, and finally to the firmament. Along this path, Janda is able to take up numerous problems that would initially remain contradictory when viewed in isolation from specifically Greek, Avestan or Vedic philology, but which become immediately comprehensible within the mythical world conception of the Indo-Europeans.