LAPITHAE, a mythical race, whose home was in Thessaly in the valley of the Peneus.
According to some, the Lapithae are representatives of the giants of fable, or spirits of the storm; according to others, they are a semi-legendary, semi-historical race, like the Myrmidons and other Thessalian tribes.
The Greek sculptors of the school of Pheidias conceived of the battle of the Lapithae and Centaurs as a struggle between mankind and mischievous monsters, and symbolical of the great conflict between the Greeks and Persians.
From Trachis he wages successful war against the Dryopes and Lapithae as ally of Aegimius, king of the Dorians, who promised him a third of his realm, and after his death adopted Hyllus, his son by Deianeira.
Thus, he engages in combat with Heracles on two occasions to avenge the death of his son Cycnus; once Zeus separates the combatants by a flash of lightning, but in the second encounter he is severely wounded by his adversary, who has the active support of Athena; maddened by jealousy, he changes himself into the boar which slew Adonis, the favourite of Aphrodite; and stirs up the war between the Lapithae and Centaurs.
The west front exhibited the fight of the Lapithae and Centaurs.
They withdrew to Thessaly, where Aegimius, the mythical ancestor of the Dorians, whom Heracles had assisted in war against the Lapithae, adopted Hyllus and made over to him a third part of his territory.
I %ION,' in Greek legend, son of Phlegyas, king of the Lapithae in Thessaly (or of Ares), and husband of Dia.