The Ancient Library

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On this page: Melanippides – Melanippus – Melanthius – Meleager



that of Bias, both being daughters of Pro3tus. A descendant of his son Anti-phates was Oi'cles, who was a companion of Heracles in the expedition against Troy, and was slain in battle by LaSmedon; he again was ancestor of the seer and hero Amphiaraus. Descendants of his other son Mantins were Cleitus, whom Eos, the goddess of dawn, carried off on account of his beauty, and Polypheides, whom, after the death of A.mphiaraus, Apollo made the best of seers. The son of Polypheides was the seer Theoclymenus, who, flying from Argos on account of committing a murder, met Telemac-hus at Pylus, was led by him to Ithaca, and announced to Pene­lope the presence in Ithaca of Odysseus, and to the suitors their approaching death. The seer Polyidus (q.v.) was also said to be a great-grandson of Melampus. At Argos Melampus was held to be the first priest of Dionysus, and originator of mys­terious customs at festivals and at cere­monies of expiation.

Melanippldes. Greek dithyrambic poet. (See dithyrambos.)

Melanippus. A Theban, who mortally wounded Tydeus in the fight of the Seven against Thebes, and was himself slain by Amphiaraus. (Cp. tydeds.)

Melanthius. See philocles.

Meleager (Gr. MeUagrOs). (1) Son of (Eneus of Calydon and of Althaea, husband of Cleopatra (see idas), one of the most celebrated heroes of Greek legend. He took part in the enterprise of the Argonauts and brought about the celebrated chase of the Calydonian boar (see ceneus), to which he invited the most renowned heroes of the time, Admetus, Amphiaraus, Jason, Idas, Lynceus, Castor and Pollux, Nestor, Theseus and Pirlthous, Peleus, Telamon, and others. Many lost their lives, till at last Meleager slew the monster. However, Artemis thereupon stirred up furious strife between the Calydonians and the Curetes(who dwelt at Pleuron) about the head and skin of the boar, the prize of victory. The Caly­donians were victorious, as long as Melea­ger fought at their head; but when he slew the brother of his mother, she uttered a terrible curse on him, and he retired sullenly from the fray. The Curetes im­mediately forced the Calydouians to retreat, and were already beginning to climb the walls of Calydon, when, at the height of their distress, he yielded to the prayers of his wife, and again joined in the fight to ward off destruction from the city; but he

did not return alive, for the Erinys had accomplished the curse of his mother. Ac­cording to. a later legend, the Mcerae appeared to his mother on the seventh day after his birth, and announced to her that her son would have to die when a log of wood on the hearth was consumed by the flame; whereupon Althaea immediately snatched the log from the fire and con­cealed it in a chest. At the Calydonian Hunt Meleager fell in love with Atalante (q.v.), and gave her (who had inflicted the first wound) the prize, the skin of the


animal which he had killed. He slew the brothers of his mother, the sons of Thestius, when they were lying in wait for the virgin to rob her of the boar's hide. Overcome by pain at the death of her brothers, Althaea sets fire to the log, and Meleager dies a sudden death. His mother and wife hang themselves; his sisters weep so bit­terly for Meleager, that Artemis for pity changes them into guinea-hens (Gr. mSlf.H-grldSs). Legends relate that even in the nether world Meleager retained his daunt­less courage; for when Heracles descended

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