Vivid Details of the Calydonian Boar Hunt Myth in Greek Mythology

The Calydonian Boar Hunt Myth in Greek Mythology
The ancient Greeks were exceptionally good-looking, brave, and have numerous myths related to them. One such myth is the great Calydonian Boar Hunt that has all the elements of an interesting mythological story. Buzzle traces the myth, valor, and tragedy behind the great hunting story.
SpiritualRay Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Boar Muse!
Famous painter Peter Paul Rubens, who painted the famed Meleager and Atalanta and the Hunt of the Calydonian Boar, was so inspired by his work that he repeatedly painted the scene and kept the original work with him as a source of inspiration for his similar hunt-themed paintings until his death in 1640.
The ancient Greeks had a pantheon of gods and goddesses, and to displease even one of them would surely bring their wrath upon the devotee. Greek mythology abounds in such tales of worship and the tragic consequences of inviting the irk of a deity. The famed myth of the Calydonian Boar Hunt is the first hunting party that saw the participation of many of the valiant Greek heroes and a single heroine of that time. Themed around bravery, jealousy, love, deceit, and revenge, this tale depicts very interesting twists and turns that have made it so popular in modern-day art and literature.
THE GENESIS
The earliest literary record of the Calydonian Boar Hunt comes from Book IX (9.529-99) of the Iliad, it states that when Oeneus, also known as the 'wine man', was the King of Calydon, an ancient city of west-central Greece, north of the Gulf of Patras. He received a vine-plant from Dionysus, the Greek God of wine-making and grape harvest. When his bounty produced fruits, he celebrated it by holding a harvest festival on the sacred hill, during which he forgot to sacrifice the offerings in honor of Goddess Artemis, the 'Lady of the Bow' or 'Artemis of the Golden Throne'. Irked by this negligent gesture, Goddess Artemis unleashed the gigantic and ferocious HUS KALYDONIOS or Calydonian Boar on Calydon.

The Calydonian Boar, which some state is the offspring of the underworld monster Crommyonian Sow, ravished and destroyed the Calydonian countryside by ruining the vineyards and crops, killing the cattle and forcing people to starve inside the city fortress. King Oeneus then called in the bravest men of Hellas, who are now known as the CALYDONIAN HUNTERS, and promised to reward the boar's skin as a kill-prize to the one who would eliminate it.
THE CALYDONIAN HUNTERS
The alphabetical list of the Calydonian Hunters who took part in the famous mythological hunt.
Acastus: the son of Pelias, King of Iolcus, and Anaxibia. He was part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.

Admetus: the King of Pherae in Thessaly. He was part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.

Amphiaraus: the son of Oracles and Hypermnestra, also the King of Argos.

Alcon: the son of Hippocoon, was killed by Heracles.

Alcon: a Thracian, the son of Ares.

Ancaeus: the son of Lycurgus, was killed by the Calydonian Boar.
Asclepius: God of Medicine and Healing.

Atalanta: virgin huntress, the daughter of Iasus, an Arcadian princess who was abandoned in the jungle by her father and raised by a bear. She grew up to be a skilled huntress and devotee of Goddess Artemis, she is the only lady to participate in the famed boar hunt among the male heroes, and the first one to deliver the fatal wound to the boar. It is said that Meleager was attracted to her, and fell in love with her bravery skills during th
Caeneus: originally a woman transformed into a man by God Poseidon, and was also a Lapith hero.

Castor: twin brother of Pollux, son of Leda and Tyndareus, the King of Sparta.

Cepheus: the son of Aleus and Neaera, and also the King of Tegea in Arcadia.

Cometes: son of Thestius, he claimed to first hit the boar so he deserved the kill-prize to which a fight broke out between Curetes―the sons of Thestius―and the Calydonians―Meleager.
Cteatus: one of the so-called Molionides, and sons of Molione.

Deucalion: the son of Prometheus.

Dryas: a leader of the Lapiths against the Centaurs.
Echion: the son of Hermes and Antianira, and part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.

Enaesimus: the son of Hippocoon, was killed by the Calydonian Boar.

Epochus: the son of Lycurgus.

Euphemus: the son of Poseidon, part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.

Eurypylus: one of the sons of Thestius, was killed by Meleager during the disputed fight regarding the kill-prize.
Eurytus: one of the so-called Molionides, and sons of Molione.

Eurytus: the son of Hermes and Antianira, and part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.

Evippus: one of the sons of Thestius, was killed by Meleager during the disputed fight regarding the kill-prize.

Hippasus: the son of Eurytus.

Hippalmus: who survived the attack by the Calydonian Boar.
Hippothous: the son of Cercyon.

Hylaeus: was killed by the Calydonian Boar.

Idas: the son of Aphareus and Arene.

Iolaus: the Theban divine hero, son of Iphicles and Automedusa, and Heracles's nephew.

Iphicles: the son of Amphitryon and Alcmene, and half-brother of Heracles.

Iphiclus: one of the sons of Thestius, was killed by Meleager during the disputed fight regarding the kill-prize.

Ischepolis: the son of Alcathous.
Jason: the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcos, and the leader of the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Laertes: the son of Arcesius and Chalcomedusa.

Lelex: King of Laconia and a demigod.

Leucippus: the son of Hippocoon.

Lynceus: part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.
Meleager: the Calydon hero and leader of the boar hunt, and also part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes. He was the son of Althaea and King Oeneus, he is said to have fallen for Atlanta's hunter skills and given her the kill-prize, which he rightly deserved.

Mopsus: famous Greek seer.

Nestor: the son of Neleus, the King of Pylos and Chloris.
Panopeus: a Phocian, the son of Phocus.

Pelagon: he survived an attack by the Calydonian Boar.

Peleus: the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina.

Phoenix: King of the Dolopians.

Phyleus: one of the Achaean leaders against Troy.

Pirithous: King of the Lapiths in Thessaly.
Plexippus: one of the sons of Thestius, was killed by Meleager during the disputed fight regarding the kill-prize.

Polydeuces: twin brother of Castor.

Prothous: one of the sons of Thestius.

Telamon: the son of Actaeus and Glauce, also part of the Argonauts, a band of Greek heroes.

Theseus: King of Athens.

Toxeus: one of the sons of Thestius, was killed by Meleager during the disputed fight regarding the kill-prize.
SUMMARY OF THE HUNT
Soon the team of valiant men and woman left for the great hunt led by Meleager. Being the son of King Oeneus, he had greater responsibility of killing the ferocious boar. Many of the men had initially refused to hunt alongside a woman, and it was Meleager who had convinced them; however, when the boar appeared out in the wilderness, it was Atalanta who wounded it first by giving it a fatal blow with an arrow.

As the hunt ensued, Peleus accidentally killed Eurytion, Meleager succeeded in killing the boar but due to his fatal romantic attraction towards Atlanta, gave her the kill-prize. The other men in the group did not like this gesture and claimed the boar skin as theirs, resulting in a quarrel in which Meleager killed his own uncles; the sons of Thestios, and returned the skin to Atalanta. On learning about the death of her brothers, Meleager's mother could not bear it and burned the magical brand ( it was predicted during Meleager's birth that the fire brand burning during his birth would be the cause of his death, hence his mother had not let it fully burn and kept it stored for his protection) which she had preserved, thus killing Meleager instantly. Thus, the revenge of Goddess Artemis was a success as she had destroyed King Oeneus's kingdom as well as caused the death of his son.
RUBENS PAINTING
As the mythical story is so vivid and interesting through its characters, it has been the subject of various artists and literary works alike. Most famous of them all is the painting by the famed painter Peter Paul Reubens, it's a Flemish style painting created during the period of 1611-1612 made with oil on panel and dimensions 23 1/4 X 35 1/2 in. Drawing inspiration from Ovid's, Metamorphosis (book VIII, 260-444), he has aptly titled it 'Meleager and Atalanta and the Hunt of the Calydonian Boar'. Rubens depicts the figures in a classic way by showing Atalanta mortally wounding the animal, then her cousins arriving from the left and right and finally Meleager in the picture, like a hero, carrying a long javelin, killing the beast.

Rubens portrays a faithful depiction of Ovid's story, he set his work in a lush landscape with a broad panoramic view. The painting offers a poetic and picturesque visual for the viewer, he drew inspiration from ancient Roman sarcophagi and statues for the figures. For the ones on the horseback, he followed the works of his Renaissance predecessors, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. He was so overwhelmed by his work that he kept the painting as an inspiration for his other hunt themed paintings until his death in 1640. Later the painting was acquired for the collection of Felipe IV. In 2006, the painting was sold to the Getty Collection in Paris for more than €300,000.
The mythological story depicts the epic theme of combat between man and animal and also touches the topic of gender bias that society was subjected to during the ancient times.