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date: 03 October 2022


, mythical Greek hero


, mythical Greek hero
  • Jenny March


Meleager (1), in mythology son of *Ares or of *Oeneus, king of the Aetolians of Calydon (see Aetolia), and Althaea. He was the great hero of the Calydonian boar-hunt, the story of which is first found in Homer, told by *Phoenix (2) during the Embassy to *Achilles. Oeneus forgot to sacrifice to Artemis, and she, in anger, sent a great wild boar to ravage the country. Meleager gathered huntsmen and hounds from many cities and killed the boar. The goddess then stirred up strife between Aetolians and *Curetes over the head and hide of the boar, and a violent battle ensued (Il. 9. 529 ff.). From this point on, Homer seems to develop the traditional story in order to create a paradeigma (example) paralleling Achilles' situation, the better for Phoenix to persuade him back to battle. While Meleager fought, all went well for the Aetolians, but when he withdrew from battle (out of anger with his mother, who had cursed him for the ‘slaying of a brother’) the Curetes attacked their city more and more violently. Meleager was offered gifts and was entreated to return to battle by priests, his father, mother, and sisters; but he refused. Only when his wife Cleopatra entreated him did he go and fight, but then too late to receive the offered gifts. Elsewhere (2. 642) the fact of his death is mentioned, but not the manner of it. In other epic versions, the Ehoiai (fr.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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