The best-known legends with which they are connected are those of Ixion and the battle with the Centaurs. A well-known Lapith was Caeneus, said to have been originally a girl named Caenis, the favourite of Poseidon, who changed her into a man and made her invulnerable. In the Centaur battle, having been crushed by rocks and trunks of trees, he was changed into a bird, or he disappeared into the depths of the earth unharmed. 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.
Edited and wikified from an encyclopedia of 1911