1. Son of Aristaeus and Autonoe, a daughter of Cadmus. He was trained in the art of hunting by the centaur Cheiron, and was afterwards torn to pieces by his own 50 hounds on mount Cithaeron. The names of these hounds are given by Ovid ( Metamorphoses III) and Hyginus.
The cause of this misfortune is differently stated; according to some accounts it was because he had seen Artemis while she was bathing in the vale of Gargaphia, on the discovery of which the goddess changed him into a stag, in which form he was torn to pieces by his own dogs. ( Metamorphoses III)
Others relate that he provoked the anger of the goddess by his boasting that he excelled her in hunting, or by his using for a feast the game which was destined as a sacrifice to her.
Pausanias saw near Orchomenos the rock on which Actaeon used to rest when he was fatigued by hunting, and from which he had seen Artemis in the bath; but he is of opinion that the whole story arose from the circumstance that Actaeon was destroyed by his dogs in a natural fit of madness.
Palaephatus gives an absurd and trivial explanation of it. According to the Orchomenian tradition the rock of Actaeon was haunted by his spectre and the oracle of Delphi commanded the Orchomenians to bury the remains of the hero, which they might happen to find, and fix an iron image of him upon the rock. This image still existed in the time of Pausanias and the Orchomenians offered annual sacrifices to Actaeon in that place.
The manner in which Actaeon and his mother were painted by Polygnotus in the Lesche of Delphi, is described by Pausanias.
2. A son of Melissus, and grandson of Abron, who had fled from Argos to Corinth for fear of the tyrant Pheidon. Archias, a Corinthian, enamoured with the beauty of Actaeon, endeavoured to carry him off; but in the struggle which ensued between Melissus and Archias, Actaeon was killed.
Melissus. brought his complaints forward at the Isthmian games, and praying to the gods for revenge, he threw himself from a rock. Hereupon Corinth was visited by a plague and drought, and the oracle ordered the Corinthians to propitiate Poseidon, and avenge the death of Actaeon.
Upon this hint Archias emigrated to Sicily, where he founded
the town of Syracuse.
From Apollodorus III
Autonoe and Aristaeus had a son Actaeon, who was bred by Chiron to be a hunter and then afterwards was devoured on Cithaeron by his own dogs. He perished in that way, according to Acusilaus, because Zeus was angry at him for wooing Semele bu according to the more general opinion, it was because he saw Artemis bathing. And they say that the goddess at once transformed him into a deer, and drove mad the fifty dogs in his pack, which devoured him unwittingly.
Actaeon being gone, the dogs sought their master howling lamentably, and in the search they came to the cave of Chiron, who fashioned an image of Actaeon, which soothed their grief.
So Now surrounding his fair body, as it were that of a beast, The strong dogs rent it. And then Actaeon perished at the instigation of Zeus.
For the first that drank their master's black blood Were Spartus and Omargus and Bores, the swift on the track. These first ate of Actaeon and lapped his blood. And after them others rushed on him eagerly ....
From Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans By Plutarch. Sertorius
There are people who take a pleasure in making collections of all such fortuitous occurrences that they have heard or read of, as look like works of a rational power and design; they observe, for example, that two eminent persons, whose names were Attis, the one a Syrian, the other of Arcadia, were both slain by a wild boar; that of two whose names were Actaeon, the one was torn in pieces by his dogs, the other by his lovers; that of two famous Scipios, the one overthrew the Carthaginians in war, the other totally ruined and destroyed them; the city of Troy was the first time taken by Hercules for the horses promised him by Laomedon, the second time by Agamemnon, by means of the celebrated great wooden horse, and the third time by Charidemus, by occasion of a horse falling down at the gate, which hindered the Trojans, so that they could not shut them soon enough
From Metamorphoses by Ovid Book The Third
The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag
In a fair chace a shady mountain stood,
Well stor'd with game, and mark'd with trails of blood;
Here did the huntsmen, 'till the heat of day,
Pursue the stag, and load themselves with rey:
When thus Actaeon calling to the rest:
"My friends," said he, "our sport is at the best,
The sun is high advanc'd, and downward sheds
His burning beams directly on our heads;
Then by consent abstain from further spoils,
Call off the dogs, and gather up the toils,
And ere to-morrow's sun begins his race,
Take the cool morning to renew the chace."
They all consent, and in a chearful train
The jolly huntsmen, loaden with the slain,
Return in triumph from the sultry plain.
Actæon's Fifty Hounds
Amarynthos from Amarythia in Eubaea
Coran cropped crop—eared
Cyllopotes zig—zag runner
Cyprios the Cyprian
Draco the dragon
Dromas the courser
Ladon from Ladon in Arcadia
Molossos from Molossos
Napa begotten by a wolf
Paemenis leader Pterelas winged
Theridamas beast—tamer or subduer