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The son of Oeneus of Calydon and Althaea, husband of Cleopatra (see Idas), one of the most celebrated heroes of Greek legend. He took part in the expedition of the Argonauts, and brought about the celebrated chase of the Calydonian boar (see Oeneus), to which he invited the most renowned heroes of the time, Admetus, Amphiaraüs, Iason, Idas, Lynceus, Castor and Pollux, Nestor , Theseus, and Pirithous, Peleus, Telamon, and others. Many lost their lives, till at last Meleager slew the monster. However, Artemis thereupon stirred up a furious strife between the Calydonians and the Curetes who dwelt at Pleuron, about the head and skin of the

Meleager. (From a Painting at Pompeii.)

boar, the prize of victory. The Calydonians were victorious as long as Meleager fought at their head; but when he slew the brother of his mother, she invoked a terrible curse on him, and he retired sullenly from the fray. The Curetes immediately forced the Calydonians to retreat, and were already beginning to climb the walls of Calydon, when, at the height of their distress, he yielded to the prayers of his wife, and again joined in the fight to ward off destruction from the city; but he did not return alive, for the Erinys had accomplished the curse of his mother. According to a later legend, the Moerae appeared to his mother on the seventh day after his birth, and announced to her that her son would have to die when a log of wood on the hearth was consumed by the flame; whereupon Althaea immediately snatched the log from the fire and concealed it in a chest. At the Calydonian Hunt, Meleager fell in love with Atalanté (q. v.), and gave her (who had inflicted the first wound) the prize, the skin of the animal which he had killed. He slew the brothers of his mother, the sons of Thestius, when they were lying in wait for the virgin to rob her of the boar's hide. Overcome by pain at the death of her brothers, Althaea set fire to the log, and Meleager died a sudden death. 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.


A Greek epigrammatist of Gadara in Palestine, who flourished about B.C. 60. His collection of epigrams, by himself and others, entitled Stephanos (wreath), formed the nucleus of the Greek anthology. Of his own poems there remain 131, in which amatory themes are cleverly and wittily treated. See Anthology.

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