Atalanta- Roman Heroine Essay, Research Paper
AtalantaAtalanta was a great heroine, athlete, and hunter. As an infant, she was abandoned and raised by a mother bear. Her father had left her on a mountainside, because, like many people at the time, he was disappointed at having a daughter and not a son. The she-bear nursed her and cared for her, and Atlanta learned great hunting techniques. Young Atalanta grew into an active young girl. When she was still young, a hunter found her and raised her. She grew to surpass them by far in her hunting skills. There were quite a few times when her hunting skills proved to be useful. For example, there was the Calydonian boar hunt. Artemis had sent the creature in order to punish King Oeneus. Many heroes tried to slay the boar, but were unsuccessful. Atalanta set out to slay the boar, and with her came the King s son, Meleager. He was madly in love with her, although she did not know it. Not many people found her attractive, for she was once described as having a face too maidenly to be that of a boy, and too boyish to be that of a maiden. When the hunting party found the boar, Atalanta kept her head and shot it with an arrow. Then, Meleager stabbed it in the heart and killed it. Although he actually killed the boar, he let Atalanta have the honor of having its hide. That eventually led to his own death. Another great feat that Atalanta accomplished was the slaying of the centaurs. Centaurs were far more powerful than any mortal, and with only two arrows, Atalanta took their lives. It has been said, although it is controversial, that she later left after the boar hunt to sail on the Argo. Also, after she had returned she entered a wrestling match, and defeated the great hero Peleus, the father of Achilles.
She eventually found her true parents, and left to live with them while in the meantime Atalanta was confronted with quite a number of suitors. She had sworn that she would never marry, and as a simple way to dispose of the great many suitors, announced that any man who could defeat her in a footrace would be her husband, knowing that no mortal man could possibly overcome her. Many men tried, but no one as much in love with her as Melanion. He asked Aphrodite for help, and she was always willing to subdue wild maidens who despised love. With her help, he got hold of three golden apples that no one in the world could see without wanting desperately to have them. He devised a plan in which he was sure he could beat Atalanta and win the race. As soon as the foot race began, he threw an apple past Atalanta so she would need to stoop to pick up. He did this three times, once with each apple, and it gave him enough leeway to win the race. Atalantas was his. Little is known of what happened to her after marriage, except for that she gave birth to a baby boy, Parthenopaeus. Also, it has been said that both she and her husband were transformed into lions after some indignity done to either Zeus or Aphrodite.Her wild and active years of hunting as a human had come to an end.