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Atalante

1. The Arcadian Atalante is described as the daughter of Jasus (Jasion or Jasius) and Clymene. (Aelian, Ael. VH 13.1; Hyg. Fab. 99; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 216.) Her father, who had wished for a son, was disappointed at her birth, and exposed her on the Parthenian (virgin) hill, by the side of a well and at the entrance of a cave. Pausanias (3.24.2) speaks of a spring near the ruins of Cyphanta, which gushed forth from a rock, and which Atalante was believed to have called forth by striking the rock with her spear. In her infancy, Atalante was suckled in the wilderness by a she-bear, the symbol of Artemis, and after she had grown up, she lived in pure maidenhood, slew the centaurs who pursued her, took part in the Calydonian hunt, and in the games which were celebrated in honour of Pelias. Afterwards, her father recognized her as his daughter; and when he desired her to marry, she made it the condition that every suitor who wanted to win her, should first of all contend with her in the foot-race. If he conquered her, he was to be rewarded with her hand, if not, he was to be put to death by her. This she did because she was the most swift-footed among all mortals, and because the Delphic oracle had cautioned her against marriage. Meilanion, one of her suitors, conquered her in this manner. Aphrodite had given him three golden apples, and during the race he dropped them one after the other. Their beauty charmed Atalante so much, that she could not abstain from gathering them. Thus she was conquered, and became the wife of Meilanion. Once when the two, by their embraces in the sacred grove of Zeus, profaned the sanctity of the place, they were both metamorphosed into lions. Hyginus adds, that Atalante was by Ares the mother of Parthenopaeus, though, according to others, Parthenopaeus was her son by Meilanion. (Apollod. 3.9.2; Serv. ad Aen. 3.313; Athen. 3.82.)

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