Study Guide

The Calydonian Boar Hunt A Who's Who of Legendary Boars

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A Who's Who of Legendary Boars

If you Google "mythological boar" chances are pretty much all of the first links to pop up will be our mean, piggy buddy from Calydon. However, he wasn't the only legendary boar to cause a ton of trouble. Another, pestering porker from Greek mythology was the vicious Eurymanthian Boar, which was captured by Heracles as one of his Twelve Labors. Another vicious boar was the one who killed Adonis. Some say this wild swine was sent by Ares who was jealous of Adonis's affair with Aphrodite; others say this boar was sent, like the Calydonian Boar, by Artemis, who was also jealous of the affair. (Get the full story here.)

Of course, other cultures had their own wicked boars as well. One South American tribe told the story of Aunyaina, a child-eating boar-demon who chased some kids up a tree by hauling itself up a vine. (Yeah, demon boars can climb vines. Now you know that.) Luckily, a helpful parrot chewed through the vine. The evil boar then plummeted to the ground, where it exploded into a bunch of lizards. After this, the children all turned into monkeys. (Yeah, we're not quite sure of the cause and effect in that myth either.)

Zipping over to India, we find yet another story of a super-powered boar. One of the many feats of the Hindu god, Vishnu, was defeating the demon Hiranyaksha. We bet you thought we were going to say that this demon looked like a boar, but nope. It just kind of looked like a person. This story actually turns the boar into the hero, because Vishnu took the form of a boar to defeat the Hiranyaksha, who was trying to drag the whole Earth down into the Cosmic Ocean. (The Mythological Boar Anti-Defamation League really likes this story.)

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