BRONZE BOAR FIGURINE
Bronze boar figurine, early 5th century BC, found in the excavations south of the Parthenon. Acropolis Museum, display case no. 20, exhibit no. 6
Massive and ferocious, the wild boar inspired both awe and dread in the ancient Greeks. Boar hunting required a well-coordinated team of hunters, capable of tracking down and fatally wounding an aggressive and potentially deadly prey.
The most celebrated boar in Greek myth was the one sent by the goddess Artemis to ravage the fields of Calydon, in Aetolia, after the local king, Oeneus, had neglected to sacrifice to her.
The hero Meleager, who was the king’s own son, slayed the ravenous beast, but not without the help of the huntress Atalanta, to whom he awarded the boar’s head and hide as a trophy for having drawn the first blood in the hunt. However, this caused much dissension amongst the numerous contenders for the trophy, with ultimately tragic consequences for the royal family of Calydon.
Another legendary boar was the one that roamed the forests of Mount Erymanthos. Resorting to ruse, Herakles managed to capture the Erymanthian Boar alive and carried it back to Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, who, terrified, took refuge inside a large pithos (storage jar).