Study Guide

The Story of Atalanta Context

Context

Atalanta, the kick-butt huntress, started off as a folk hero of the wild regions of Arcadia and/or Boeotia. Long before anybody was writing her story down, folks were sitting around campfires (or something like that) and telling each other of her daring do. One of the earliest mentions of her we have in print comes from Hesiod's Catalogues of Women. Only a super small fragment remains about her, though. We also know that great great granddaddy of all playwrights, Aeschylus, wrote a tragedy called Atalanta, but unfortunately no copy of the script remains. (Okay, seriously. Who lost the script?)

We can only get all the details of Atalanta's adventures in the works of much later writers, like Pseudo-Apollodorus, Statius, and Apollonius Rhodius. (Don't you wish your parents had named you Apollonius?) Probably, the most famous account of Atalanta's adventures comes from our main man Ovid, who included a version in The Metamorphoses, his massive collection of mythological poems. Later on (like waaaaay later), Atalanta belted out some arias in Handel's opera named after her, and her story was also told by big time British poet, Swinburne, in his Greek-style play, Atalanta in Calydon.

Don't go thinking that Atalanta is totally old school. She appeared in a recent TV movie of Jason and the Argonauts. Also, a version of her tried to get frisky with Hercules on the TV Series, Hercules: the Legendary Journeys. And yet another version of her whooped some booty with the Incredible Hulk in the world of Marvel Comics. Atalanta is also no stranger to video games. She shows up in the Golden Sun series, Herc's Adventures, Zeus: Master of Olympus, Rise of the Argonauts, and Age of Mythology.

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