Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Atalanta


"The Race between Atalanta and Hippomenes" by Nicolas Colombel


Origin: Greek
Meaning: "equal in weight"
Gender: Feminine
Pronunciation: ah-tah-LAHN-tah

Atalanta is a name which comes from the Greek Atalante meaning "equal in weight", which is derived from Atalantos, a word that is related to Talanton which means "scale, balance".

In Greek mythology, the goddess Artemis was forgotten at a sacrifice by King Oineus, so she sent a Calydonian Boar that killed land, men, and cattle and prevented the crops from growing. Atalanta joined Meleager and many other heroes on a hunt for the boar. She became the first one to hit the boar and draw blood. After Meleager killed the boar he gave the skin (or the head) to Atalanta.

After the Calydonian Boar hunt, Atalanta refused to marry anyone who couldn't beat her in a footrace, and those who lost the race were killed. Many men died until Hippomenes came, and with the help of the goddess Aphrodite, he won the race by throwing three golden apples which Atalanta would pick up every he threw them. She was the only female that was allowed to sail with the Argonauts.

Atalanta is also a character in the book No Darkness For Love by Barbara Cartland.

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