Actaeon  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In Greek mythology, Actaeon (Greek: Ακταίων), son of the priestly herdsman Aristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero, trained by the centaur Cheiron, who suffered the fatal wrath of Artemis; (later his myth was attached to her Roman counterpart Diana). The surviving details of his transgression vary: "the only certainty is in what Aktaion suffered, his πάθος, and what Artemis did: the hunter became the hunted; he was transformed into a stag, and his raging hounds, struck with a 'wolf's frenzy' (λύσσα), tore him apart as they would a stag." This is the iconic motif by which Actaeon is recognized, both in ancient art and in Renaissance and post-Renaissance depictions.

Actaeon in art

  • Aeschylus and other tragic poets made use of the story, which was a favourite subject in ancient works of art.
  • There is a well-known small marble group in the British Museum illustrative of the story, in gallery 83/84.
  • Two paintings by the 16th century painter Titian (right; and Diana and Actaeon).
  • Actéon, an operatic pastorale by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.
  • the aria "Oft she visits this lone mountain" from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, first performed in 1689 or earlier.
  • Giordano Bruno, "Gli Eroici Furori".
  • In canto V of G. B Marino's poem "Adone" the protagonist goes to theater to see a tragedy representing Actaeon's myth. This episode is relevant because it is a foreshadowing of the protagonist's violent death at the end of the book.
  • A composition for Brass Band by Gareth Wood and premiered by Cory Band at the Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass 2008
  • Actaeon's Fall (Against The Hounds), the opening track in the 2009 album Luminous Night by Six Organs of Admittance
  • Ted Hughes wrote a version of the story in his 'Tales from Ovid'.
  • "Diana and Actaeon", 2001 oil on linen by Katherine Doyle




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Actaeon" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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