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Meleager, Pio Clementino, Vatican Inv 490

In Greek mythology, Meleager or Meleagrus (Μελέαγρος) was the son of Althaea and Oeneus and, according to some accounts father of Parthenopeus and Polydora.

When Meleager was born, the Moirae predicted he would only live until a brand, burning in the family hearth, was consumed by fire. Althaea immediately hid the brand.

Meleager married Cleopatra, daughter of Idas.

Meleager Sculpture in Berlin, Roman copy of a Greek bronze original, c. 340-330 BC.. Marble Heighte 2.09 m, Inv.-Nr. Sk 215

Oeneus sent Meleager to gather up heroes to hunt the Calydonian Boar that had been stalking the area. Among many others, he chose Atalanta, a fierce huntress, whom he loved. According to one account of the hunt, Hylaeus and Rhaecus, two centaurs, tried to rape Atalanta. Meleager killed them. Then, Atalanta wounded the boar and Meleager killed it. He awarded her the hide since she had drawn the first drop of blood. Toxeus and Plexippus (Althaea's brothers) grew enraged that the prize was given to a woman. Meleager killed them in the ensuing argument. He also killed Iphiclus and Eurypylus for insulting Atalanta.

Since Meleager had killed her two brothers, Althaea placed the brand back upon the fire, killing him.

Later, Meleager was one of the Argonauts. This may, or may not, have been the same Meleager.

With Atalanta, Meleager may have been the father of Parthenopeus, although in other versions Hippomenes was his father.

His mother and wife hanged themselves; his sisters wept so bitterly for Meleager, that Artemis for pity changed them into guineahens (μελεαγρίδες). Legends relate that even in the nether world Meleager retained his dauntless courage; for when Heracles descended to Hades, all the shades fled before him except Meleager and Medusa.

Apollodorus. Bibliotheke I, viii, 1-3; Ovid. Metamorphoses VIII, 269-525; Homer. Iliad IX, 529-99.

Meleager, Louis-Simon Boizot

Meleager and Atalanta, Jacob Jordaens, first half of 17th century.

Meleager and Atalanta, Gerrit van Honthorst

The hunt of Meleagros and Atalante

* Meleager , Antico (1460 -1528 ) 1500 /25

Bulfinch : Meleager and Atalanta


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