Atalanta was a disappointment to her father because she was a girl, so he exposed her, but the goddess Artemis favored and protected her. Atalanta grew to be a top athlete.
|Peleus and Atalanta wrestling, black-figured hydria, c. 550 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 596).|
She was such a fast runner that Aphrodite had to provide her opponent with a trick to enable him to beat her.
|The Race between Atalanta and Hippomenes, by Nicolas Colombel (1644-1717), Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna. Atalanta is slowed as she picks up the golden apples rolled down by her rival|
She was one of the many Greek heroes known as Argonauts who went with Jason to fetch the Golden Fleece.
When Artemis was forgotten at a sacrifice by King Oineus, she was angered and sent the Calydonian Boar, a wild boar that ravaged the land, men, and cattle and prevented crops from being sown. Atalanta joined Meleager and many other famous heroes on a hunt for the boar.
Many of the men were angry that a woman was joining them, but Meleager, though married, lusted for Atalanta, and so he persuaded them to include her. Atalanta was incredibly fast and accurate with missiles. She was first to strike the Calydonian Boar. After Meleager finally killed the boar with his spear, he awarded the skin (or head) to Atalanta.
|Meleager Presenting The Head of the Calydonian Boa to Atalanta, Crosato Giovanni Battista|