Altheia (page 332 with art)

Chapter 11: The Daughters of Thestios

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27 GLP – Accius, Meleager – Fragments of more recent Greek literary papyri cited according to D.L. Page, Select Papyri III, pp. 154-59London 1941.

Greek Text and English Translation

♠  DS 4.34.4-5 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

But Atalantê, the daughter of Schoeneus, participated in the hunt, and since Meleager was enamoured of her, he relinquished in her favour the skin and the praise for the greatest bravery. The sons of Thestius, however, who had also joined in the hunt, were angered at what he had done, since he had honoured a stranger woman above them and set kinship aside. Consequently, setting at naught the award which Meleager had made, they lay in wait for Atalantê, and falling upon her as she returned to Arcadia took from her the skin. [5] Meleager, however, was deeply incensed both because of the love which he bore Atalantê and because of the dishonour shown her, and espoused the cause of Atalantê. And first of all he urged the robbers to return to the woman the meed of valour which he had given her; and when they paid no heed to him he slew them, although they were brothers of Althaea.​ Consequently Althaea, overcome with anguish at the slaying of the men of her own blood, uttered a curse in which she demanded the death of Meleager; and the immortals, so the account runs, gave heed to her and made an end of his life.  Greek Text

ApB 1.8.2 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Althaea had also a son Meleager, by Oeneus, though they say that he was begotten by Ares. It is said that, when he was seven days old, the Fates came and declared that Meleager should die when the brand burning on the hearth was burnt out. On hearing that, Althaea snatched up the brand and deposited it in a chest. Meleager grew up to be an invulnerable and gallant man, but came by his end in the following way. In sacrificing the first fruits of the annual crops of the country to all the gods Oeneus forgot Artemis alone. But she in her wrath sent a boar of extraordinary size and strength, which prevented the land from being sown and destroyed the cattle and the people that fell in with it. To attack this boar Oeneus called together all the noblest men of Greece, and promised that to him who should kill the beast he would give the skin as a prize. Now the men who assembled to hunt the boar were these:— Meleager, son of Oeneus; Dryas, son of Ares; these came from Calydon; Idas and Lynceus, sons of Aphareus, from Messene; Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus and Leda, from Lacedaemon; Theseus, son of Aegeus, from Athens; Admetus, son of Pheres, from Pherae; Ancaeus and Cepheus, sons of Lycurgus, from Arcadia; Jason, son of Aeson, from Iolcus; Iphicles, son of Amphitryon, from Thebes; Pirithous, son of Ixion, from Larissa; Peleus, son of Aeacus, from Phthia; Telamon, son of Aeacus, from Salamis; Eurytion, son of Actor, from Phthia; Atalanta, daughter of Schoeneus, from Arcadia; Amphiaraus, son of Oicles, from Argos. With them came also the sons of Thestius. And when they were assembled, Oeneus entertained them for nine days; but on the tenth, when Cepheus and Ancaeus and some others disdained to go hunting with a woman, Meleager compelled them to follow the chase with her, for he desired to have a child also by Atalanta, though he had to wife Cleopatra, daughter of Idas and Marpessa. When they surrounded the boar, Hyleus and Ancaeus were killed by the brute, and Peleus struck down Eurytion undesignedly with a javelin. But Atalanta was the first to shoot the boar in the back with an arrow, and Amphiaraus was the next to shoot it in the eye; but Meleager killed it by a stab in the flank, and on receiving the skin gave it to Atalanta. Nevertheless the sons of Thestius, thinking scorn that a woman should get the prize in the face of men, took the skin from her, alleging that it belonged to them by right of birth if Meleager did not choose to take it.  Greek Text

Met 8.324-27 – Ovid, Metamorphoses 

When Meleager saw her, he at once
longed for her beauty, though some god forbade.
The fires of love flamed in him; and he said,
“Happy the husband who shall win this girl!”  Latin Text

Met 8.425-44 – Ovid, Metamorphoses

At length the hero Meleager pressed
his conquering foot upon the monster’s head
and said, “O Atalanta, glorious maid,
of Nonacris, to you is yielded spoil,
my lawful right, and I rejoice to share
the merit of this glorious victory.”

And while he spoke, he gave to her the pelt,
covered with horrid bristles, and the head
frightful with gory tusks: and she rejoiced
in Meleager and his royal gift.

But all the others, envious, began
to murmur; and the sons of Thestius
levelled their pointed spears, and shouted out;
“Give up the prize! Let not the confidence
of your great beauty be a snare to you!
A woman should not interfering filch
the manly honors of a mighty hunt!
Aside! and let your witless lover yield!”
So threatened they and took from her the prize;
and forcibly despoiled him of his rights.

The warlike prince, indignant and enraged,—
rowed with resentment, shouted out. “What! Ho!
You spoilers of this honor that is ours,
brave deeds are different far from craven threats!”
And with his cruel sword he pierced the breast
of rash Plexippus, taken unawares,
and while his brother, Toxeus, struck with fear,
stood hesitating whether to avenge
or run to safety, Meleager plunged
the hot sword, smoking with a brother’s blood,
in his breast also. And so perished they.  Latin Text

Munich, Antikensammlung 596.  Chalcidian hydria, Atalanta and Peleus.

Furtwaengler Reichold

Kypria fr 26 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 59, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Bak 5.115-20 – Bakchylides, Odes

we buried those whom the loud-roaring boar had killed in his violent attacks: Ancaeus, and Agelaus, the best of my dear brothers, whom [120] Althaea bore in the far-famed halls of Oineus.  Greek Text

Il 2.609-11 – Homer, Iliad

all these were led by the son of Ancaeus, Lord Agapenor, [610] with sixty ships; and on each ship embarked full many Arcadian warriors well-skilled in fight.  Greek Text

ApB 1.8.2 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Now the men who assembled to hunt the boar were these:— Meleager, son of Oeneus; Dryas, son of Ares; these came from Calydon; Idas and Lynceus, sons of Aphareus, from Messene; Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus and Leda, from Lacedaemon; Theseus, son of Aegeus, from Athens; Admetus, son of Pheres, from Pherae; Ancaeus and Cepheus, sons of Lycurgus, from Arcadia; Jason, son of Aeson, from Iolcus; Iphicles, son of Amphitryon, from Thebes; Pirithous, son of Ixion, from Larissa; Peleus, son of Aeacus, from Phthia; Telamon, son of Aeacus, from Salamis; Eurytion, son of Actor, from Phthia; Atalanta, daughter of Schoeneus, from Arcadia; Amphiaraus, son of Oicles, from Argos. With them came also the sons of Thestius. Greek Text

ApB 3.9.1 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And Aleus had a daughter Auge and two sons, Cepheus and Lycurgus, by Neaera, daughter of Pereus.  Greek Text

Paus 8.4.1-10 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

After this king the land was called Arcadia instead of Pelasgia and its inhabitants Arcadians instead of Pelasgians.

[2] His wife, according to the legend, was no mortal woman but a Dryad nymph. For they used to call some nymphs Dryads, others Epimeliads, and others Naiads, and Homer in his poetry talks mostly of Naiad nymphs. This nymph they call Erato, and by her they say that Arcas had Azan, Apheidas and Elatus. Previously he had had Autolaus, an illegitimate son.

[3] When his sons grew up, Arcas divided the land between them into three parts, and one district was named Azania after Azan; from Azania, it is said, settled the colonists who dwell about the cave in Phrygia called Steunos and the river Pencalas. To Apheidas fell Tegea and the land adjoining, and for this reason poets too call Tegea “the lot of Apheidas.” 

[4] Elatus got Mount Cyllene, which down to that time had received no name. Afterwards Elatus migrated to what is now called Phocis, helped the Phocians when hard pressed in war by the Phlegyans, and became the founder of the city Elateia. It is said that Azan had a son Cleitor, Apheidas a son Aleus, and that Elatus had five sons, Aepytus, Pereus, Cyllen, Ischys, and Stymphalus.

[5] On the death of Axan, the son of Arcas, athletic contests were held for the first time; horse-races were certainly held, but I cannot speak positively about other contests. Now Cleitor the son of Azan dwelt in Lycosura, and was the most powerful of the kings, founding Cleitor, which he named after himself; Aleus held his father’s portion.

[6] Of the sons of Elatus, Cyllen gave his name to Mount Cyllene, and Stymphalus gave his to the spring and to the city Stymphalus near the spring. The story of the death of Ischys, the son of Elatus, I have already told in my history of Argolis. Pereus, they say, had no male child, but only a daughter, Neaera. She married Autolycus, who lived on Mount Parnassus, and was said to be a son of Hermes, although his real father was Baedalion.

[7Cleitor, the son of Azan, had no children, and the sovereignty of the Arcadians devolved upon Aepytus, the son of Elatus. While out hunting, Aepytus was killed, not by any of the more powerful beasts, but by a seps that he failed to notice. This species of snake I have myself seen. It is like the smallest kind of adder, of the color of ash, with spots dotted here and there. It has a broad head and a narrow neck, a large belly and a short tail. This snake, like another called cerastes (“the horned snake”), walks with a sidelong motion, as do crabs.

[8] After Aepytus Aleus came to the throne. For Agamedes and Gortys, the sons of Stymphalus, were three generations removed from Arcas, and Aleus, the son of Apheidas, two generations. Aleus built the old sanctuary in Tegea of Athena Alea, and made Tegea the capital of his kingdom. Gortys the son of Stymphalus founded the city Gortys on a river which is also called after him. The sons of Aleus were Lycurgus, Amphidamas and Cepheus; he also had a daughter Auge.

[9] Hecataeus says that this Auge used to have intercourse with Heracles when he came to Tegea. At last it was discovered that she had borne a child to Heracles, and Aleus, putting her with her infant son in a chest, sent them out to sea. She came to Teuthras, lord of the plain of the Caicus, who fell in love with her and married her. The tomb of Auge still exists at Pergamus above the Calcus; it is a mound of earth surrounded by a basement of stone and surmounted by a figure of a naked woman in bronze.

[10] After the death of Aleus Lycurgus his son got the kingdom as being the eldest; he is notorious for killing, by treachery and riot in fair fight, a warrior called Areithous. Of his two sons, Ancaeus and Epochus, the latter fell ill and died, while the former joined the expedition of Jason to Colchis; afterwards, while hunting down with Meleager the Calydonian boar, he was killed by the brute.  Greek Text

AR 1.161-71 – Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautika

Moreover from Arcadia came Amphidamas and Cepheus, who inhabited Tegea and the allotment of Apheidas, two sons of Aldus; and Ancaeus followed them as the third, whom his father Lycurgus sent, the brother older than both. But he was left in the city to care for Aleus now growing old, while he gave his son to join his brothers. Antaeus went clad in the skin of a Maenalian bear, and wielding in his right hand a huge two-edged battleaxe. For his armour his grandsire had hidden in the house’s innermost recess, to see if he might by some means still stay his departure.  Greek Text

Il 23.634-35 – Homer, Iliad

In boxing I overcame Clytomedes, son of Enops, [635] and in wrestling Ancaeus of Pleuron, who stood up against me.  Greek Text

Bak 5.117-19 – Bakchylides, Odes

we buried those whom the loud-roaring boar had killed in his violent attacks: Ancaeus, and Agelaus, the best of my dear brothers.  Greek Text

Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg F1705.  Attic black figure.  Ankaios.

Furtwaengler 1885

Paus 8.45.5-7 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

The modern temple is far superior to all other temples in the Peloponnesus on many grounds, especially for its size. Its first row of pillars is Doric, and the next to it Corinthian; also, outside the temple, stand pillars of the Ionic order. I discovered that its architect was Scopas the Parian, who made images in many places of ancient Greece, and some besides in Ionia and Caria.

[6] On the front gable is the hunting of the Calydonian boar. The boar stands right in the center. On one side are Atalanta, Meleager, Theseus, Telamon, Peleus, Polydeuces, Iolaus, the partner in most of the labours of Heracles, and also the sons of Thestius, the brothers of Althaea, Prothous and Cometes.

[7] On the other side of the boar is Epochus supporting Ancaeus who is now wounded and has dropped his axe; by his side is Castor, with Amphiaraus, the son of Oicles, next to whom is Hippothous, the son of Cercyon, son of Agamedes, son of Stymphalus. The last figure is Peirithous.  Greek Text

Σ AR  1.164 – Scholia to Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautika – Scholia in Apollonium Rhodium vetera, p. 22, ed. C. Wendel. Berlin 1935.

Paus 8.45.2 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

Besides the exploits shared by the Tegeans with the Arcadians, which include the Trojan war, the Persian wars and the battle at Dipaea with the Lacedaemonians, the Tegeans have, besides the deeds already mentioned, the following claims of their own to fame. Ancaeus, the son of Lycurgus, though wounded, stood up to the Calydonian boar, which Atalanta shot at, being the first to hit the beast. For this feat she received, as a prize for valor, the head and hide of the boar.  Greek Text

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

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