Meleager (mĕlēāˈjər) [key], hero in Greek mythology. He was the son of Oeneus, king of Calydon, and Althaea. When Meleager was born, a prophecy said that he would die when a certain log in the fire was burned. His mother snatched the log from the fire and hid it. Meleager grew to be a famous warrior. When Oeneus failed to sacrifice to Artemis, the goddess sent a huge wild boar to ravage his land. To kill the boar Greece's bravest heroes were summoned. Those who came included Castor and Pollux, Theseus, Jason, Nestor, and Atalanta. Meleager led the hunt, known as the Calydonian hunt, and killed the boar. He gave its pelt to Atalanta, with whom he had fallen in love. When his mother's brothers tried to take the pelt, Meleager killed them. In revenge, his mother angrily burned the hidden log, and Meleager died as prophesied. In Homer, the Atalanta account is absent, and Meleager is killed in a battle for possession of the pelt.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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