The "Half brothers" is a sculptural work inspired by the mythologies of the centaur and minotaur, liminal beings, hybrids of man and beast. The two are not known to have met in classical mythology, though narrative links exist. The etymology of centaur translates as bull-slayer, and the Athenian hero Thesus, as vanquisher of both the centaurs and the Minotaur, symbolised the emergence of Hellenic culture. The anthropomorphic Olympian gods, led by Zeus, battled with the hybrid gods of the older civilisations. The centaur and Minotaur, meeting as "Half-brothers", emphasise the conflict between the bestial and intellectual aspects of the human psyche.
In myth the centaurs were born from a union of Ixion and Nephele, the latter being the raincloud created by Zeus, in the image of Hera, his wife. A dispute between the centaurs and a race of men, known as the Lapiths is known as the centaurmachy , centaur wars. The cause of the war was the attempted abduction of Hippodamia and the other Lapith women. The centaurs were driven away by the men, aided by the Athenian hero Thesus and the centaurmachy symbolised the struggle between civilisation and barbarism.
The Minataur was a composite of man and bull, and myhology relates that king Minos of Crete was given a white bull by Poseidon, god of the oceans, for the purpose of sacrifice to gain the favour of the Olympian gods. Minos decided to keep the bull, thus incurring the displeasure of Aphrodite, goddess of love, who made his wife Pasiphae fall in love with the Cretan bull. Daedalus, the legendary craftsman, fashioned a hollow cow for Pasiphae to climb into, so that she might copulate with the white bull.
King Minos constructed a great labyrinth to contain the monstrous beast and youths were sacrificed to appease the Minotaur and to provide for his sustenance. The Athenian hero Thesus vowed to kill the man eating monster, and with the help of Ariadne, Minos' daughter, who had fallen in love with the hero, the Minotaur was destroyed.
The origin of many myths derive from the historic power struggles in the Aegean sea. The Athenians were subject to the political potency of the Minoan peoples, but with the eventual demise of Crete, the power transferred to continental Greece, bringing an end to tributary offerings.The image of the Minotaur may have derived from Minoan priests disguised as the Cretan bull or sun god and in Hellenic mythology, the race of centaurs were symbolic of chaos and unbridled passions.