Son of King Oeneus of of Calydon and Althaea. Seven days after his birth the
Fates appeared to foretell his future. Clotho and Lachesis predicted he would
be noble and brave. Atropos warn that he would die as soon as one of the sticks
in the fireplace burned completely. Taking the hint Althaea pulled the stick
from the fire, put it out, and hid it in a safe place.
While still young he came to be regarded as second only to Heracles in his abilities. He was the youngest of the Argonauts and according to some killed the Argonauts chief enemy, King Aeetes of Colchis.
After he returned from this journey he married Cleopatra and had a daughter Polydora. His domestic tranquility was brought to an end when Artemis unleashed the fearsome boar in his homeland. He naturally took a leading role in killing the boar during what became known as the Calydonian Boar Hunt which lead to his death.
One year, King Oeneus of Calydon managed to forget Artemis during the annual sacrifice to the gods. Artemis responded by bringing forth the largest, most savage, boar ever seen and unleashing on Calydon. The boar destroyed crops, killed men and livestock, and forced the people off the land to the protection of city walls. When planting season came the city face starvation unless the boars siege could be lifted.
Oeneus sent the word out seeking the bravest to hunt the boar and promising its skin as a prize. The most heroic of the generation responded. Many of the Argonauts came including the King's son Meleager. Also, several Meleager's Uncles from the neighboring Curetes. Amongst those who came was the great huntress Atlanta.
Atlanta's presence immediately caused problems. Many did not want to hunt with Atlanta because she was a woman. Meleager forced the rest of the hunting party to accept her. This lead to the opinion that Meleager must have been in love with Atlanta. The possibility that he respected her hunting skill is not considered.
When the boar was found things went badly. The boar struck first killing Ancaeus and several others. Then Peleus threw a javelin but, instead it hit his friend Eurytion instead of the boar.
Finally, Atlanta turned the battle when she drew first blood with one of her
arrows. Amphiaraus scored next. Then Meleager closed in and finished the boar.
Meleager then awarded the prize to Atlanta because she drew first blood. Awarding the prize to a woman angered the rest of the hunting party but, most stayed silent. However, his uncles felt their position entitled them to tell Meleager what to do. A quarrel breaks out between them and Meleager kills his uncles. On hearing of her brothers death by his hands, his mother burns the magic stick from the Fates visit. As predicted Meleager dies and Althaea then kills herself in remorse. This is followed by Cleopatra killing herself from grief.
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