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in Greek mythology, the name of the hunter who discovered Artemis bathing and was changed by her to a stag and torn to death by his hounds. The name is of unknown origin. Sometimes used figuratively in 17c. for "a cuckold" (because of his "horns").
in Greek mythology, son of the minor god Aristaeus and Autonoe (daughter of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes in Boeotia); he was a Boeotian hero and hunter. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Actaeon accidentally saw Artemis (goddess of wild animals, vegetation, and childbirth) while she was bathing on Mount Cithaeron; for this reason he was changed by her into a stag and was pursued and killed by his own 50 hounds. In another version, he offended Artemis by boasting that his skill as a hunter surpassed hers.