What Is the Calydonian Boar Hunt:
Representations of the Calydonian Boar Hunt:
The boar hunt is clearly shown in art work, architecture, and sarcophagi. Artistic depictions run from the 6th century B.C. through the Roman period.
Principal Characters in the Calydonian Boar Hunt:
- Meleager - Hunt organizer and killer of the boar
- Oineus (Oeneus) - King of Calydon, in Aeotolia, who failed to sacrifice to Artemis (hubris)
- Calydonian Boar - the fierce animal who ravaged the countryside as Artemis sent him to do.
- Artemis - virgin goddess of the hunt who sent the boar and may have trained Atalanta.
- Atalanta - Female, Amazon-type, devotee of Artemis, who draws first blood.
- Althaea (Althaia) - daughter of Thestius, wife of Oineus and mother of Meleager who causes her son's death when he kills her brothers.
- Uncles - Meleager kills at least one of his uncles and is then killed himself.
Apollodorus 1.8 on Heroes of the Calydonian Boar Hunt:
- Meleager, son of Oeneus, from Calydon
- Dryas, son of Ares, from Calydon
- Idas and Lynceus, sons of Aphareus, from Messene
- Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus and Leda, from Lacedaemon
- Theseus, son of Aegeus, from Athens
- Admetus, son of Pheres, from Pherae
- Ancaeus and Cepheus, sons of Lycurgus, from Arcadia
- Jason, son of Aeson, from Iolcus
- Iphicles, son of Amphitryon, from Thebes [Sometimes the name Iphicles is given an uncle of Meleager]
- Pirithous, son of Ixion, from Larissa
- Peleus, son of Aeacus, from Phthia
- Telamon, son of Aeacus, from Salamis
- Eurytion, son of Actor, from Phthia
- Atalanta, daughter of Schoeneus, from Arcadia
- Amphiaraus, son of Oicles, from Argos
- sons of Thestius.
Basic Story of the Calydonian Boar Hunt:
Homer and Meleager:
In the Odyssey, Odysseus is recognized by an odd scar caused by a boar tusk. In The Hunt in Ancient Greece Judith M. Barringer ties the two hunts together. She says they are both rites of passage with maternal uncles serving as witnesses. Odysseus, of course, survives his hunt, but Meleager isn't so fortunate, although he survives the boar.
Death of Meleager:
Back at the palace, Althaea hears of the death of her brother(s) at the hands of her son. In revenge, she takes out a brand the Moirae (fates) had told her would mark the death of Meleager when it was burned completely. She sticks the wood in the hearth fire until it is consumed. Her son Meleager dies simultaneously. That's one version -- full of magic and a very non-maternal mother. There is another that is easier to stomach.
Apollodorus on Version 2 of the Death of Meleager:
See #1 on Thursday's -cide words to learn