Althaia Picture




The wife of the lord of Kalydon (Calydon), Oineus; the mother of Meleagros (Meleager).

Althaia was a woman of fierce passion and her bitter resentment of her son’s pride caused his eventual death.

On one occasion, the city of Kalydon was under assault and Meleagros refused to fight; the elders of the city offered many gifts to Meleagros if he would help defend the city and king Oineus begged for his son to take up the sword and save the city from certain destruction; finally, at the pleading of his wife, Kleopatra (Cleopatra), Meleagros donned his armor and entered the battle at the last moment; the city was saved but the gifts that he had been offered were not given because the people of Kalydon felt that Meleagros had not done his duty in a proper way.

Meleagros earned his mother’s hatred when he killed her brother (or brothers) in a quarrel; after the Kalydonian Boar Hunt, Meleagros awarded the hide of the boar to the huntress, Atalanta, because she had been the first to wound the beast; Althaia’s brother(s) tried to take the boar hide away from Atalanta and Meleagros killed him (them); Althaia never forgave Meleagros and her vengeance caused Meleagros’ death.

Meleagros was fated at his birth to die when the wood on the fire burned away; Althaia took the wood from the fire and preserved it so that her son might have a long life; when Meleagros killed her brother(s), she took the wood she had hidden at Meleagros’ birth and burned it; Meleagros died.

Stewart, Michael. "People, Places & Things: Althaia", Greek Mythology: From the Iliad to the Fall of the Last Tyrant.

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