Like the Latin and Roman kings, in all likelihood legendary and mythological, this marble relief is a scene from Greek mythology. It deals with the Calydonian Boar Hunt.The boar was sent by Artemis (goddess of the hunt) to ravage Calydon in Aetolia because its king, Oeneus, insulted the goddess by not including her in his annual harvest sacrifices. The boar devastated the countryside, forcing farmers to take refuge behind Calydon’s walls. Because of the disruption to farming, the people began to starve.
In order to solve the problem, King Oeneus invited heroes from all over Greece to a hunt. The prize was the boar’s pelt and tusks. Also participating in the hunt was Meleager, King Oeneus’ son, and Atalanta, queen of the Amazons.
Many of the heroes refused to participate in the hunt with a woman. But Meleager convinced them to participate anyway. To make matters worse, Atalanta was the first to wound the boar with a shot from her bow, thereby allowing Meleager to finish it off with a spear. The heroes offered the prize to Meleager but he offered it to Atalanta for drawing first blood. The heroes would not tolerate a woman winning the prize and, Meleager, outraged by this insult to Atalanta, slew two of them. Ultimately, many of the hunt participants turned on each other. Meleager also died. In this way Artemis achieved her revenge upon King Oeneus.
Photo of Calydonian Boar Hunt marble relief by Craig Phares. Image is the property of Pro Romanis, GENCYA communications. This image may be used for educational purposes only. It must be accompanied by the following language. “Photo of Calydonian Boar Hunt marble relief, Capitoline museum, Rome. Property of Pro Romanis, division of GENCYA communications. For more information, visit www.proromanis.com“.