Actaeon's Misfortune

Actaeon was a great Thebian hero, trained by Chiron himself, as was his predecessor Achilles. A superb hunter, Actaeon was unmatched by all in the sport. One fateful day, Actaeon was hunting with his hounds in the woods, none the wiser that Artemis herself, was bathing naked in a nearby pond. Once through the clearing, he finally saw. Startled, Artemis put a curse of silence on Actaeon. Should he so much as speak a word from this moment on, he would be changed into that which he hunted so fearlessly, a stag.

Snapped out of his trance by the sound of his hunting party in the distance, immediately he calls for them. And immediately he is turned. The hounds, now on his scent, chase fearlessly towards their prey, as they had been taught by none other than the man they are now unknowingly pursuing.

In what was his last ditch effort, the dogs closing in, the sound of the party coming ever closer, Actaeon looks up towards the sky, with the head of a beast and the psyche of a man (and had his arms been those of a human, they too most definitely would have been raised in prayer towards Mt. Olympus) begging for a sign from the gods. They did not answer, and Actaeon was torn apart, not only physically, but mentally. His psyche torn into as many pieces as his body.

ὁρᾷς τὸν Ἀκτέωνος ἄθλιον μόρον,
ὃν ὠμόσιτοι σκύλακες ἃς ἐθρέψατοδιεσπάσαντο,
κρείσσον' ἐν κυναγίαιςἈρτέμιδος εἶναι κομπάσαντ',
ἐν ὀργάσιν.
Look at Actaeon's wretched fate
who by the man-eating hounds he had raised,
was torn apart, better at hunting
than Artemis he had boasted to be, in the meadows.

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