"Centaurs in file were running, armed with arrows"

Centaurs in Circle 7
Public DomainCentaurs in Circle 7 - Credit: Gustave Doré

(Canto 12, line 56)

In Greek mythology, the half-horses, half-men Centaurs were the children of the Thessalian Lapith king Ixion and Nephele, a cloud nymph. They are usually portrayed as violent and untamed creatures, which is why they are chosen by Dante to guard the violent souls. Various commentators have compared them to mercenaries used by tyrant rulers in Dante's time.