Althaia (page 329)

Chapter 11: The Daughters of Thestios

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Bak 5.97-102 – Bakchylides, Odes

for otherwise my father, horse-driving Oineus, would have appeased the anger of holy, white-armed Artemis with  garland of buds, [100] when he entreated her with sacrifices of many goats and red-backed cattle.  Greek Text

Bak 5.70 – Bakchylides, Odes

Among them, the shade of Porthaon’s bold, [70] spear-wielding descendant stood out.  Greek Text

Bak 5.127-54 – Bakchylides, Odes

Then I killed, among many others, Iphiclus and noble Aphares, my mother’s swift brothers; for [130] strong-spirited Ares does not discern a friend in battle—shafts fly blindly from the hands against the souls of the enemy, and bring death [135] to whomever the god wishes. My mother, the hostile daughter of Thestius, did not take this into account; she brought about my evil fate, the fearless woman, and planned my destruction. [140] She took the log of my swift doom out of the ornate chest, and burned it. Fate had marked off that this should be the boundary of my life. I happened to be slaying [145] Clymenus, Daïpylus’ valiant son, whose body was flawless; I had overtaken him in front of the towers. The others [150] were fleeing to the well-built ancient city of Pleuron. And my sweet soul diminished; I knew that my strength was gone, aiai! I breathed my last breath in tears, as I left behind splendid youth.  Greek Text

Cho 602-11 – Aischylos, Choephoroi (Libation Bearers)

Let whoever is not flighty in his wits know this, when he has learned of the device of a lit brand contrived by Thestius’ heartless daughter: [605] she destroyed her own child by burning the charred brand of the same age as he when, coming from his mother’s womb, he cried out, and it aged in pace with him through his life [610] to the day decreed by fateGreek Text

Paus 10.31.3-4 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

But the poem Eoeae, as it is called, and the Minyad agree in giving a different account. For these poems say that Apollo helped the Curetes against the Aetolians, and that Meleager was killed by Apollo. [4] The story about the brand, how it was given by the Fates to Althaea, how Meleager was not to die before the brand was consumed by fire, and how Althaea burnt it up in a passion—this story was first made the subject of a drama by Phrynichus, the son of Polyphradmon, in his Pleuronian Women:—“For chill doom
He escaped not, but a swift flame consumed him,
As the brand was destroyed by his terrible mother, contriver of evil.
Polyphradmon, Pleuronian Women, unknown location. However, it appears that Phrynichus did not elaborate the story as a man would his own invention, but only touched on it as one already in the mouths of everybody in Greece.  Greek Text

Il 9.529-99 – Homer, Iliad

The Curetes on a time were fighting and the Aetolians staunch in battle [530] around the city of Calydon, and were slaying one another, the Aetolians defending lovely Calydon and the Curetes fain to waste it utterly in war. For upon their folk had Artemis of the golden throne sent a plague in wrath that Oeneus offered not to her the first-fruits of the harvest in his rich orchard land; [535] whereas the other gods feasted on hecatombs, and it was to the daughter of great Zeus alone that he offered not, whether haply he forgat, or marked it not; and he was greatly blinded in heart.  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Paus 10.31.3 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

As to the death of Meleager, Homer says that the Fury heard the curses of Althaea, and that this was the cause of Meleager’s death.  Greek Text

ApB 1.8.3 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

But Meleager in a rage slew the sons of Thestius and gave the skin to Atalanta. However, from grief at the slaughter of her brothers Althaea kindled the brand, and Meleager immediately expired.

But some say that Meleager did not die in that way, but that when the sons of Thestius claimed the skin on the ground that Iphiclus had been the first to hit the boar, war broke out between the Curetes and the Calydonians; and when Meleager had sallied out and slain some of the sons of Thestius, Althaea cursed him, and he in a rage remained at home; however, when the enemy approached the walls, and the citizens supplicated him to come to the rescue, he yielded reluctantly to his wife and sallied forth, and having killed the rest of the sons of Thestius, he himself fell fighting. After the death of Meleager, Althaea and Cleopatra hanged themselves, and the women who mourned the dead man were turned into birds.  Greek Text

Il 2.642 – Homer, Iliad

and fair-haired Meleager was dead.  Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2024.

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