Oeneus with coat and sceptre, Attic white-ground lekythos, c. 500 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 1905)

In Greek mythology, Oeneus /ˈɛnˌjs/ (Ancient Greek: Οἰνεύς, Oineús) was a Calydonian king, son of Porthaon and Euryte, husband of Althaea and father of Deianeira, Meleager, Toxeus, Clymenus, Periphas, Agelaus, Thyreus (or Phereus or Pheres), Gorge, Eurymede, Mothone, Perimede and Melanippe (although Meleager's and Deianeira's fathers could also have been Ares and Dionysus respectively).[1] Oeneus was also the father of Tydeus by Periboea, daughter of Hipponous, though Tydeus was exiled from Aetolia and appears in myths concerning Argos. He introduced winemaking to Aetolia, which he learned from Dionysus.

He sent Meleager out to find heroes to kill the Calydonian Boar, which was ravaging Calydon because Oeneus had forgotten to honor Artemis at the harvest ceremonies. So began the Calydonian Hunt during which the boar was killed by Atalanta and Meleager. However, an argument began as to who should take the boar's skin as a prize: Meleager gave it to Atalanta, but two of his maternal uncles, sons of Thestius, wanted the trophy for themselves, claiming that it belonged to them by the right of birth if Meleager did not want it. Meleager, in rage, killed them, which resulted in a war between the Calydonians and the Curetes, in which all of Oeneus' sons, including Meleager, fell.

The sons of Oeneus' brother Agrius deposed him but Diomedes, his grandson through Tydeus, put Oeneus back on the Calydonian throne (or the throne passed to Andraemon, husband of Gorge, due to Oeneus' old age). Oeneus either died of natural causes or was killed by the surviving sons of Agrius who laid an ambush against him while Diomedes was transporting him to Peloponessus. He was buried in Argos by Diomedes, and a town was named Oenoe after him.

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  1. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women gives Meleagrus' father as Ares and names Oeneus' children by Althaea as: Pheres, Agelaus, Toxeus, Clymenus, Gorge and Deianeira (Cat, fr, 25).
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