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Book 10: Atalanta Notes from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Book 10: Atalanta

Atalanta had been warned by the oracle not to marry, and so whenever a suitor came asking for her hand, she challenged him to a race. If he won, they would marry. If he lost, it cost him his life. Hippomenes didn't understand what all the fuss was about, but when he saw Atalanta for himself, he had to have her. Atalanta was impressed with Hippomenes and wasn't sure that she wanted to beat him, but she couldn't forget the words of the oracle. Hippomenes got three golden apples from Venus, and during the race, he would throw one to distract Atalanta. Each time she'd go after an apple, he'd pass her in the race. When they were nearing the finish line, Hippomenes threw the last apple and Venus made Atalanta go after it. The apple was heavier than the others, and it slowed the girl down, so Hippomenes won the race and they were married.

Unfortunately, Hippomenes forgot to properly thank Venus with a sacrifice, and so when he and Atalanta were at an ancient shrine, she put him under the inescapable pull of desire, and he and Atalanta defiled the holy place. For this disregard, the gods of the shrine changed them both into savage lions.

Venus warned Adonis to be careful of the savage animals in the forest when he hunted. She didn't want anything to happen to him. After her warning, she left to go back to the heavens. But she turned around when she heard his cries of pain. He'd been gored by a boar while he was hunting, and Venus couldn't save him. To remember him, she made him an anemone.

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