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The Calydonian Boar

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Chapter Summary

The poet of the Iliad knew epic songs concerned with other realms of mythology besides the Trojan War: the conflicts of the gods among themselves, and a body of saga relating to the more westerly parts of Greece, the kingdoms of Pylos, Elis, and Aetolia. This last region is represented above all in the story about Meleager that Phoenix tells in the Embassy episode; this tale is summarized in this chapter. The Aetolians were defending Calydon against the Kouretes, who were bent on sacking it. Oineus had failed to sacrifice to Artemis, and she had sent an outsize boar to ravage his orchards. His son Meleager had assembled hunters and dogs from many towns and, after a struggle in which many died, succeeded in killing the boar. The chapter contributes some observations, partly of a literary nature and partly relating to the troubled marriage of myth and ritual.

Keywords: Aetolia; Calydonian boar; Iliad; Meleager; Phoenix



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