Atalanta

Atalanta
/at'l an"teuh/, n.
Class Myth. a virgin huntress who promised to marry the man who could win a foot race against her but lost to Hippomenes when she stopped to retrieve three golden apples of Aphrodite that he dropped in her path. Also, Atalante /at'l an"tee/. Cf. Melanion.

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In Greek mythology, a swift-footed huntress.

Born in Boeotia or Arcadia, she was left to die at birth but was suckled by a bear. As an adult she took part in the famous Calydonian boar hunt and drew first blood. She offered to marry any man who could outrun her in a race, but the losers were required to pay with their lives. One contestant, Hippomenes (or Milanion), obtained three golden apples from Aphrodite to carry in the race. As he dropped them, Atalanta stooped to pick them up, and thus lost the race. The two were later turned into lions after they desecrated a shrine to Cybele or Zeus.

Atalanta, Greek marble statue; in the Louvre

Giraudon-Art Resource

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 in Greek mythology, a renowned and swift-footed huntress, probably a parallel and less important form of the goddess Artemis. Traditionally, she was the daughter of Schoeneus of Boeotia or of Iasus and Clymene of Arcadia.

      Her complex legend includes the following incidents: At her father's instance she was left to die at birth but was suckled by a she-bear. She took part in the Calydonian boar hunt; Atalanta drew first blood and was awarded the boar's head and hide by the boar's slayer, Meleager, who was in love with her. When his uncles took away the spoils from her, Meleager killed them and was in turn killed by their sister, his own mother. In the most famous story, one popular with ancient and modern artists, Atalanta offered to marry anyone who could outrun her—but those whom she overtook she speared.

      In one race Hippomenes (or Milanion) was given three of the golden apples of the Hesperides (q.v.) by the goddess Aphrodite; when he dropped them, Atalanta stopped to pick them up and so lost the race. Their son was Parthenopaeus, who later was one of the Seven who fought against Thebes after the death of King Oedipus. Atalanta and her husband, overcome with passion, made love in a shrine of the goddess Cybele (or of Zeus), for which they were turned into lions.

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Universalium. 2010.

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