Hercules, Nessus, And Deianira

III Style, House of the Centaur, Pompeii

The centaur Nessus offers to carry Hercules' wife and son across a swollen river. After depositing her on the far side, Nessus attempted to rape Deianira, but was slain with a poisoned arrow by Hercules. The dying centaur convinced Deianira - a very naive woman - that his blood-stained tunic would keep Hercules faithful to her. Later, she sent the tunic as a gift to the straying Hercules. But when Hercules put on the tunic he was driven to madness by the poisoned blood of the centaur, threw himself onto his own funeral pyre, and died, whereupon Deianira slew herself.