Calydonian Boar

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The Calydonian Boar is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was killed in the Calydonian Hunt, in which many male heroes took part, but also a powerful woman, Atalanta, who won its hide by first wounding it with an arrow. This outraged some of the men, with tragic results. Strabo[2] was under the impression that the Calydonian Boar was an offspring of the Crommyonian Sow vanquished by Theseus.

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Importance in Greek mythology and art

The Calydonian Boar is one of the chthonic monsters in Greek mythology, each set in a specific locale. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia, it met its end in the Calydonian Hunt, in which all the heroes of the new age pressed to take part, with the exception of Heracles, who vanquished his own Goddess-sent boar separately(see Erymanthian Boar). Since the mythic event drew together numerous heroes[3]—among whom were many who were venerated as progenitors of their local ruling houses among tribal groups of Hellenes into Classical times—the Calydonian Boar hunt offered a natural subject in classical art, for it was redolent with the web of myth that gathered around its protagonists on other occasions, around their half-divine descent and their offspring. Like the quest for the Golden Fleece (Argonautica) or the Trojan War that took place the following generation, the Calydonian Hunt is one of the nodes in which much Greek myth comes together.

Both Homer[4] and Hesiod and their listeners were aware of the details of this myth, but no surviving complete account exists: some papyrus fragments found at Oxyrhynchus are all that survive of Stesichorus' telling;[5] the myth repertory called Bibliotheke ("The Library") contains the gist of the tale, and before that was compiled the Roman poet Ovid told the story in some colorful detail in his Metamorphoses.[6]

Hunt

King Oeneus ("wine man") of Calydon, an ancient city of west-central Greece north of the Gulf of Patras, held annual harvest sacrifices to the gods on the sacred hill. One year the king forgot to include Great "Artemis of the Golden Throne" in his offerings[7] Insulted, Artemis, the "Lady of the Bow", loosed the biggest, most ferocious boar imaginable on the countryside of Calydon. It rampaged throughout the countryside, destroying vineyards and crops, forcing people to take refuge inside the city walls (Ovid), where they began to starve.

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