ACTAEON, son of Aristaeus and Autonoe, a famous Theban hero and hunter, trained by the centaur Cheiron. According to the story told by Ovid (Metam. iii. 131; see also Apollod iii. 4), having accidentally seen Artemis (Diana) on Mount Cithaeron while she was bathing, he was changed by her into a stag, and pursued and killed by his fifty hounds. His statue was often set up on rocks and mountains as a protection against excessive heat. The myth itself probably represents the destruction of vegetation during the fifty dog-days. Aeschylus and other tragic poets made use of the story, which was a favorite subject in ancient works of art. There is a well-known small marble group in the British Museum illustrative of the story.
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