Calydon: A Boar Hunt & Golden Apples

It is hard for men who live on earth to influence the minds of gods. If not, with prayers and sacrifices of so many goats and red-backed cattle, my father Oineus, who whipped his horses hard, would have soothed the wrath of pale-armed Artemis, whose head is garlanded with flower buds. But the anger of the maiden goddess knew no bounds. She sent a savage fearless boar to Calydon, where the dancing is so beautiful. Its strength roiled like a stream in flood as with its tusks it decimated vineyards and slaughtered flocks and cut down any man it met. And we, the best of all the Greeks, stood steadfast for six days as we fought against the beast. At last one of the gods granted us victory. We buried those the screaming boar had slaughtered in its merciless attacks . Destructive fate had killed them. But still the anger of warlike Artemis, wild daughter of the goddess Leto, was unabated

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A brooding sky hangs heavy over Calydon. Above the terraced hilltop dark clouds press low, blanketing the mountains to the north and east, bruising what remains of the two temples as they await the deluge. It has been a short climb from the modern road, but in the lull between two storms it has already brought us far: down from the modern highway rumbling with trucks; down to the theatre, a damp, eccentric rectangle, its stone seats muddy-orange like the earth around them; past the hero-shrine and past the sanctuary of Dionysus, its tall trees dripping from the recent rain, a ruined church crumbling amid the brambles; on up the track through lustrous olive groves; and out on to the levelled bluff, once called the Laphrion, with wide views west to Messolonghi and south across the Gulf of Patras to the Peloponnese beyond. Only the foundations of the temples on the Laphrion survive. The Temple of Apollo was impressive, a colonnaded masterpiece proud above the plain, while slightly in its shadow, at the furthest edge of the escarpment, crouched the temple of his sister, Artemis. Her role was central. For it was she, the virgin huntress, who inspired the myth for which Calydon is best remembered.

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