Tsar Calidona, Oinei, the father of the hero Meleager, incurred the wrath of the great goddess Artemis. One day, celebrating the harvest of fruits in his gardens and vineyards, he offered rich sacrifices to the Olympian gods, and only Artemis did he not sacrifice. Artemis Oineya was punished for this. She sent a formidable boar to the country. A ferocious, huge boar ravaged all the surroundings of Calydon. With his monstrous fangs, he uprooted entire trees, destroyed vineyards and apple trees covered with delicate flowers. The boar did not spare people if they came across him. Grief reigned in the vicinity of Calydon. Then the son of Oinei Meleager, seeing the general sadness, decided to organize a round-up and kill the boar. He gathered many heroes of Greece for this dangerous hunt. Those who came from Sparta took part in the hunt Castor and Polydeucus, Theseus from Athens, king Admet from Fer, Jason from Iolk, Iolaus from Thebes, Peyrifoy from Thessaly, Peleus from Phthia, Telamon from the island Salamin and many other heroes. Came hunting from Arcadia and Atlanta, fast in running, like the fastest-footed deer. She was raised in the mountains. Her father ordered her to be taken to the mountains immediately after birth, as he did not want to have daughters. There, in the gorge, Atlanta was nursed by a bear, and she grew up among hunters. As a huntress, Atlanta was equal to Artemis herself.

Hermes with Dionysus
Hermes with Dionysus.
(Statue of Praxiteles, IV century BC)
For nine days the assembled heroes feasted at the hospitable Oiney. Finally, they went on a wild boar hunt. The surrounding mountains resounded with the loud barking of numerous packs of dogs. The dogs picked up a huge boar and chased him. Here appeared a boar rushing like a whirlwind, driven by dogs. The hunters rushed to him. Each of them hurried to hit the boar with his spear, but the struggle with the monstrous boar was hard, not one of the hunters experienced the power of his terrible fangs. The boar was also struck to death by its fangs by the intrepid hunter, the Arcadian Ankeya, when he, swinging his double-edged axe, wanted to kill the boar. Then Atlanta pulled her tight bow and shot a sharp arrow at the boar. At that moment Meleager arrived in time. With a mighty blow of the spear he killed a huge boar. The hunt is over. Everyone was happy with their luck.

But who should be awarded the award? Many heroes participated in the hunt. Many of them struck the boar with their sharp spears. A dispute arose over the reward, and the goddess Artemis, angry at Meleager for killing her boar, further inflated the feud.

This feud finally led to a war between the Aetolians, residents of Calydon, and the Kuretes, residents of the neighboring city of Pleuron. While the mighty hero Meleager was fighting in the ranks of the Aetolians, victory was on their side.

Once, in the heat of battle, Meleager killed his mother's brother Alfei. Alphea was saddened to learn about the death of her beloved brother. She became furious when she learned that her brother had fallen by the hand of her son Meleager. In anger at her son, Alphea prayed to the gloomy king Hades and his wife Persephone to punish Meleager. In a frenzy, she called on the avengers Erinius to hear her pleas. Meleager was angry when he learned that the mother was calling death on him, her son, and withdrew from the battle. He sat sad, with his head bowed on his hands, in the peace of his beautiful wife Cleopatra, As soon as Meleager stopped fighting in the ranks of the Aetolians, victory ceased to accompany them. The Courettes began to win. They laid siege to the already rich Calydon. Calydon was threatened with death. In vain the elders of Calydon begged Meleager to return to the ranks of the army. They offered the hero a great reward, but the hero did not heed their pleas. Meleager's elderly father, Oinei, himself came to the rest of Meleager's wife, Cleopatra; he knocked on the closed door and begged Meleager to forget his anger - after all, his hometown of Calydon was dying. And Meleager did not listen to him. His sister, mother, and beloved friends begged Meleager to help, but Meleager was adamant. The Kuretes, meanwhile, had already taken possession of the walls of Calydon. They have already set fire to city houses, wanting to put everything on fire. Finally, the walls of the chambers where Meleager was located also shook from the blows. Then his young wife in horror threw herself on her knees in front of him and began to beg her husband to save the city from destruction. She begged him to think about the evil fate that would befall both the city and the vanquished, to think that the victors would take their wives and children into heavy slavery. Did he really want her to suffer the same fate? The mighty Meleager heeded the pleas of his wife. He quickly put on shining armor, girded himself with a sword, and took up his huge shield and spear. Meleager rushed into battle, repelled the Kuretes and saved his native Kalidon. But Meleager himself was waiting for death. The gods of the kingdom of the shadows of the dead heard the pleas and curses of Alfea. Meleager fell in battle, struck to death by the golden arrow of the far-striking god Apollo, and Meleager's soul flew away to the sad realm of shadows.