Calydon was an ancient city in Aetolia, on the west coast of mainland Greece near modern Missolonghi. The tale tells how Artemis, goddess of the hunt, took spiteful revenge on a king who slighted her.
WHEN Meleager, son of Oeneus, king of Calydon, was born, the Fates whispered that his life would last no longer than a chip of wood upon the nursery fire. Overhearing them, his mother Althaea sprang to the fire and doused it, locking what remained safely in a chest.
Many years later, Oeneus forgot to honour Artemis in his sacrifices, and the outraged goddess loosed a huge boar in his kingdom, which tore through it destroying crops and homes.
Meleager, now a young man, assembled a formidable hunting party of heroes to deal with the menace, from Jason and Theseus to Castor and Pollux — and also one woman, Atalanta.
Atalanta had been found in the woods as a baby by hunters, and was herself skilled as a hunter. But her presence was a source of constant discord in the party, with Meleager’s uncles especially resentful of a woman.
In fact, everything was going as the vengeful Artemis had planned.