Atalanta was not a Goddesses but features in several Greek myths.  As often the case in Greek myths there are several different versions where even her parentage is disputed. Atalanta was said to be either the daughter of Schoeneus of Boeotia or Iasus and Clymene of Arcadia.

Despite being a mortal she is known as the “impassable goddess” as no person can outrun her. For this reason she is also linked to death, a force that can not be beaten.

Myths About Atalanta

In Greek mythology it is said that her father was disappointed that she was a girl and left her on a hillside to die. She was rescued and raised by a bear sent by the Goddess Artemis. The bear was killed later by hunters who brought up the child themselves.

Atalanta  became a renowned hunter herself, famously killing two centaurs when they attempted to kidnap her. She also became a great warrior and athlete. One myth suggests she fought on the side of Jason and the argonauts. However, in another version of this myth, Atalanta is forbidden from boarding the ship, as it was believed that having a beautiful women on board was bad luck and would cause arguments amongst the men.

When she killed a wild boar that rampaged through the land and prevented farmers from sewing their crops she came to her bravery came to her father’s attention. He reclaimed her as his daughter, giving him the right to choose who she should marry. Atalanta was furious as she told by the oracle that it would be dangerous for her to ever marry.

Atalanta decided that to prevent this fate she would remain chaste and dedicate herself to The Goddess Artemis. To thwart her fathers wishes she declared that she would only marry a man who could beat her in a race. Those that failed were killed at her hand.

Many men died trying to beat her until Aphrodite interfered. Aphrodite was jealous that Atalanta worshipped Artemis and not her. She gave three of her golden apples to Hippomenes. he used them to distract Atalanta, won the race and gained her hand in marriage. Unfortunately, Hippomenes in his happiness forgot to thank Aphrodite. The Goddess cursed the couple by increasing their desire for each other. This resulted in them consummating their marriage in a sacred sanctuary dedicated to Cybele ( some myths say Zeus). This angered the Gods who turned the newly weds into lions as a punishment, but not Atalanta bore a son named Parthenopeus.

A beautiful marble statute can be found of her at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

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