Artemis
Overview
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 equivalent is Diana
Diana (mythology)
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt and moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy...

. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron is a term first used by Homer and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals...

: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals". In the classical period of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Artemis (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: (nominative) , (genitive) ) was often described as the daughter of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

, and the twin sister of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

.
Encyclopedia
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 equivalent is Diana
Diana (mythology)
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt and moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy...

. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron is a term first used by Homer and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals...

: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals". In the classical period of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Artemis (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: (nominative) , (genitive) ) was often described as the daughter of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

, and the twin sister of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

, wild animals
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

, wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

, childbirth
Childbirth
Childbirth is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus...

, virginity
Virginity
Virginity refers to the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions which place special value and significance on this state, especially in the case of unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth...

 and young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

 and the cypress
Cupressus
The genus Cupressus is one of several genera within the family Cupressaceae that have the common name cypress; for the others, see cypress. It is considered a polyphyletic group...

 were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

Etymology

Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 writers linked Artemis (Doric Artamis) by way of folk etymology to artemes (ἀρτεμής) ‘safe’ or artamos (ἄρταμος) ‘butcher’. However, the name Artemis (variants Arktemis, Arktemisa) is most likely related to Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 árktosbear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

’ (from PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 *h₂ŕ̥tḱos), supported by the bear cult that the goddess had in Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 (Brauronia) and the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 remains at the Arkouditessa, as well as the story about Callisto
Callisto
Callisto may refer to:*Callisto , a nymph*Callisto , a moon of Jupiter*Callisto , a genus of moths in the Gracillariidae family*Callisto , a character on Xena: Warrior Princess...

, which, perhaps, originally was about Artemis (epithet Calliste). This cult was a survival of very old totemic and shamanistic rituals and formed part of a larger bear cult
Bear worship
Bear worship is the religious practice of the worshiping of bears found in many North American and North Eurasian ethnic circumpolar religions such as the Sami, Nivkh, Ainu, and pre-Christian Finns...

 found further afield in other Indo-European
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 cultures. While connection with Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

n names has been suggested, the earliest attested forms of the name Artemis is the Mycenaean Greek a-te-mi-to and a-ti-mi-te, written in Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 at Pylos
Pylos
Pylos , historically known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It was the capital of the former...

. Artemis was venerated in Lydia
Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

 as Artimus.

Birth

Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology of the birth of Artemis and her twin brother, Apollo. All accounts agree, however, that she was the daughter of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

 and that she was the twin sister of Apollo.

An account by Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

 has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma (the mainland) or on an island. Hera was angry with Zeus, her husband, because he had impregnated Leto. But the island of Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

 (or Ortygia
Ortygia
Ortygia is a little island and it is the historical centre of the city of Syracuse, Sicily. The island, also known as Città Vecchia , contains many historical landmarks...

 in the Homeric Hymn to Artemis) disobeyed Hera, and Leto gave birth there.

In ancient Cretan history Leto was worshipped at Phaistos
Phaistos
Phaistos , also transliterated as Phaestos, Festos and Phaestus is an ancient city on the island of Crete. Phaistos was located in the south-central portion of the island, about 5.6 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea. It was inhabited from about 4000 BC. A palace, dating from the Middle Bronze...

 and in Cretan mythology Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis at the islands known today as the Paximadia.

A scholium
Scholium
Scholia , are grammatical, critical, or explanatory comments, either original or extracted from pre-existing commentaries, which are inserted on the margin of the manuscript of an ancient author, as glosses. One who writes scholia is a scholiast...

of Servius on Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

iii. 72 accounts for the island's archaic name Ortygia by asserting that Zeus transformed Leto into a quail
Quail
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes. Old World quail are found in the family Phasianidae, while New World quail are found in the family Odontophoridae...

 (ortux) in order to prevent Hera from finding out his infidelity, and Kenneth McLeish suggested further that in quail form Leto would have given birth with as few birth-pains as a mother quail suffers when it lays an egg.

The myths also differ as to whether Artemis was born first, or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as born first, becoming her mother's mid-wife upon the birth of her brother Apollo.

Childhood

The childhood of Artemis is not fully related in any surviving myth. The Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, who, having been thrashed by Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus. A poem of Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

 to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes: according to Callimachus, at three years old, Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, Zeus, asked him to grant her six wishes: to remain always a virgin; to have many names to set her apart from her brother Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

; to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer; to have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt; to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir; and for twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. She wished for no city dedicated to her, but to rule the mountains, and for the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.

Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates
Moirae
The Moirae, Moerae or Moirai , in Greek mythology, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny . Their number became fixed at three...

 to be a midwife, particularly since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo. All of her companions remained virgins, and Artemis closely guarded her own chastity. Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and the moon. Callimachus tells how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara
Lipari
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, and the name of the island's main town. It has a permanent population of 11,231; during the May–September tourist season, its population may reach up to 20,000....

, where Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

 and the Cyclops
Cyclops
A cyclops , in Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead...

 worked. Okeanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. Callimachus then tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of the forest, who gave her seven bitches and six dogs. She then captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with her bow first by shooting at trees and then at wild beasts.

Wooing the Goddess

As a young virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but none of them successfully won her heart, except her hunting companion Orion, who was then accidentally killed either by the goddess herself or by Gaia.

Alpheus, a river god, was in love with Artemis, but he realized that nothing he could do would win her heart. So he decided to capture her. Artemis who was with her companions at Letrenoi, went to Alpheus, but suspicious of his motives, she covered her face with mud so the river god would not recognize her. Another story involving the god is the story where he tried to rape Artemis' attendant Arethusa
Arethusa (mythology)
For other uses, see ArethusaArethusa means "the waterer". In Greek mythology, she was a nymph and daughter of Nereus , and later became a fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily....

. The goddess felt pity for her and saved her by transforming Arethusa into a spring in Artemis' temple, Artemis Alphaea
Artemis Alphaea
Alphaea, Alpheaea, or Alpheiusa was in Greek mythology an epithet of the goddess Artemis. She derived this name from the river god Alpheius, who was said to have been in love with her. It was under this name that she was worshiped at Letrini in Elis, and in Ortygia...

 in Letrini, where the goddess and her attendant drink.

Bouphagos, the son of the Titan Iapetos, saw Artemis and had a thought of raping her. Detecting his sinful thoughts Artemis struck him at Mount Pholoe.

Sipriotes was a boy who, either because he accidentally saw Artemis bathing or attempted to rape her, was turned into a girl by the goddess.

Actaeon

Artemis was once bathing in a vale on Mount Cithaeron, when the Theban hunter Actaeon
Actaeon
Actaeon , in Greek mythology, son of the priestly herdsman Aristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero. Like Achilles in a later generation, he was trained by the centaur Chiron....

 stumbled across her. Enraged, Artemis turned him into a stag and, not knowing their own owner, Actaeon's own dogs killed him.

Adonis

In some versions of the story of Adonis
Adonis
Adonis , in Greek mythology, the god of beauty and desire, is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central figure in various mystery religions. The Greek , Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, "lord", which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old...

, who was a late addition to Greek mythology during the Hellenistic period, Artemis sent a wild boar
Boar
Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...

 to kill Adonis as punishment for his hubristic boast that he was a better hunter than she.

In other versions, Artemis killed Adonis for revenge. In later myths, Adonis had been related as a favorite of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

, and Aphrodite was responsible for the death of Hippolytus, who had been a favorite of Artemis. Therefore, Artemis killed Adonis to avenge Hippolytus’s death.

In yet another version, Adonis was not killed by Artemis, but by Ares, as punishment for being with Aphrodite.

Orion

Orion
Orion (mythology)
Orion was a giant huntsman in Greek mythology whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion....

 was a hunting companion of the goddess Artemis. In some versions of his story he was killed by Artemis, while in others he was killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia
Gaia (mythology)
Gaia was the primordial Earth-goddess in ancient Greek religion. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods and Titans were descended from her union with Uranus , the sea-gods from her union with Pontus , the Giants from her mating with Tartarus and mortal creatures were sprung or born...

. In some versions, Orion tried to seduce Opis
Opis
Opis was an ancient Babylonian city on the Tigris, not far from modern Baghdad. The precise location of Opis has not been established, but from the Akkadian and Greek texts, it was located on the east bank of the Tigris, near the Diyala River.-History:Opis is mentioned for the first time at the...

, one of her followers, and she killed him. In a version by Aratus
Aratus
Aratus was a Greek didactic poet. He is best known today for being quoted in the New Testament. His major extant work is his hexameter poem Phaenomena , the first half of which is a verse setting of a lost work of the same name by Eudoxus of Cnidus. It describes the constellations and other...

, Orion took hold of Artemis' robe and she killed him in self-defense
Self-defense
Self-defense, self-defence or private defense is a countermeasure that involves defending oneself, one's property or the well-being of another from physical harm. The use of the right of self-defense as a legal justification for the use of force in times of danger is available in many...

. In yet another version, Apollo sent the scorpion. According to Hyginus
Gaius Julius Hyginus
Gaius Julius Hyginus was a Latin author, a pupil of the famous Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor, and a freedman of Caesar Augustus. He was by Augustus elected superintendent of the Palatine library according to Suetonius' De Grammaticis, 20...

 Artemis once loved Orion (in spite of the late source, this version appears to be a rare remnant of her as the pre-Olympian goddess, who took consorts, as Eos
Eos
In Greek mythology, Eos is the Titan goddess of the dawn, who rose from her home at the edge of Oceanus, the ocean that surrounds the world, to herald her brother Helios, the Sun.- Greek literature :...

 did), but was tricked into killing him by her brother Apollo, who was "protective" of his sister's maidenhood.

The Aloadae

These twin sons of Iphidemia and Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

, Otos and Ephialtes, grew enormously at a young age. They were aggressive, great hunters, and could not be killed unless they killed each other. The growth of the Aloadae
Aloadae
In Greek mythology, the Aloadae were Otus and Ephialtes , sons of Iphimedia, queen of Aloeus, by Poseidon, whom she induced to make her pregnant by going to the seashore and disporting herself in the surf or scooping seawater into her bosom. From Aloeus they received their patronymic, the Aloadai...

 never stopped, and they boasted that as soon as they could reach heaven, they would kidnap Artemis and Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 and take them as wives. The gods were afraid of them, except for Artemis who captured a fine deer (or in another version of the story, she changed herself into a doe) and jumped out between them. The Aloadae threw their spears and so mistakenly killed each other.

Callisto

Callisto
Callisto (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Callisto or Kallisto was a nymph of Artemis. Transformed into a bear and set among the stars, she was the bear-mother of the Arcadians, through her son Arcas.-Origin of the myth:...

 was the daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcadia and also was one of Artemis's hunting attendants. As a companion of Artemis, she took a vow of chastity. Zeus appeared to her disguised as Artemis, or in some stories Apollo, gained her confidence, then took advantage of her (or raped her, according to Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

). As a result of this encounter she conceived a son, Arcas. Enraged, Hera or Artemis (some accounts say both) changed her into a bear. Arcas almost killed the bear, but Zeus stopped him just in time. Out of pity, Zeus placed Callisto the bear into the heavens, thus the origin of Callisto the Bear as a constellation. Some stories say that he placed both Arcas and Callisto into the heavens as bears, forming the Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor , also known as the Little Bear, is a constellation in the northern sky. Like the Great Bear, the tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, whence the name Little Dipper...

 and Ursa Major
Ursa Major
Ursa Major , also known as the Great Bear, is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. It can best be seen in April...

 constellations.

Iphigenia and the Taurian Artemis

Artemis punished Agamemnon
Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

 after he killed a sacred stag in a sacred grove
Sacred grove
A sacred grove is a grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world...

 and boasted that he was a better hunter than the goddess. When the Greek fleet was preparing at Aulis
Aulis (ancient Greece)
Ancient Aulis was a Greek port-town, located in Boeotia in central Greece, at the Euripus Strait, opposite of the island of Euboea.Aulis never developed into fully independent polis, but belonged to Thebes and Tanagra respectively ....

 to depart for Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 to begin the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, Artemis becalmed the winds. The seer Calchas
Calchas
In Greek mythology, Calchas , son of Thestor, was an Argive seer, with a gift for interpreting the flight of birds that he received of Apollo: "as an augur, Calchas had no rival in the camp"...

 advised Agamemnon that the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Artemis then snatched Iphigenia from the altar and substituted a deer. Various myths have been told around what happened after Artemis took her. Either she was brought to Tauros and led the priests there, or became Artemis' immortal companion.

Niobe

A Queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion
Amphion
There are several characters named Amphion in Greek mythology:* Amphion, son of Zeus and Antiope, and twin brother of Zethus . Together they are famous for building Thebes. Amphion married Niobe, and killed himself after the loss of his wife and children at the hands of Apollo and Artemis...

, Niobe
Niobe
Niobe was a daughter of Tantalus and of either Dione, the most frequently cited, or of Eurythemista or Euryanassa, and she was the sister of Pelops and Broteas, all of whom figure in Greek mythology....

 boasted of her superiority to Leto because while she had fourteen children (Niobids
Niobids
In Greek mythology, the Niobids were the children of Amphion of Thebes and Niobe, slain by Apollo and Artemis because Niobe, born of the royal house of Phrygia, had boastfully compared the greater number of her own offspring with those of Leto, Apollo's and Artemis' mother: a classic example of...

), seven boys and seven girls, Leto had only one of each. When Artemis and Apollo heard this impiety, Apollo killed her sons as they practiced athletics, and Artemis shot her daughters, who died instantly without a sound. Apollo and Artemis used poisoned arrows to kill them, though according to some versions two of the Niobids were spared, one boy and one girl. Amphion, at the sight of his dead sons, killed himself. A devastated Niobe and her remaining children were turned to stone by Artemis as they wept. The gods themselves entombed them.

Chione

Chione was a princess of Pokis. She was beloved by two gods, Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

 and Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, and boasted that she was prettier than Artemis because she made two gods fall in love with her at once. Artemis was furious and killed Chione with her arrow or struck her dumb by shooting off her tongue. However, some versions of this myth say Apollo and Hermes protected her from Artemis' wrath.

Atalanta, Oeneus and the Meleagrids

Artemis saved the infant Atalanta
Atalanta
Atalanta is a character in Greek mythology.-Legend:Atalanta was the daughter of Iasus , a Boeotian or an Arcadian princess . She is often described as a goddess. Apollodorus is the only one who gives an account of Atalanta’s birth and upbringing...

 from dying of exposure after her father abandoned her. She sent a female bear to suckle the baby, who was then raised by hunters. But she later sent a bear to hurt Atalanta because people said Atalanta was a better hunter. This is in some stories.

Among other adventures, Atalanta participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar
Calydonian Boar
The Calydonian Boar is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was killed in the Calydonian Hunt, in which many male...

, which Artemis had sent to destroy Calydon
Calydon
Calydon was an ancient Greek city in Aetolia, situated on the west bank of the river Evenus. According to Greek mythology, the city took its name from its founder Calydon, son of Aetolus. Close to the city stood Mount Zygos, the slopes of which provided the setting for the hunt of the Calydonian...

 because King Oeneus
Oeneus
In Greek mythology, Oeneus, or Oineus was a Calydonian king, son of Porthaon and Euryte, husband of Althaea and father of Deianeira, Meleager, Toxeus, Clymenus, Periphas, Agelaus, Thyreus , Gorge, Eurymede, Mothone, Perimede and Melanippe...

 had forgotten her at the harvest sacrifices. In the hunt, Atalanta drew the first blood, and was awarded the prize of the skin. She hung it in a sacred grove at Tegea
Tegea
Tegea was a settlement in ancient Greece, and it is also a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Tripoli, of which it is a municipal unit. Its seat was the village Stadio....

 as a dedication to Artemis.

Meleager
Meleager
In Greek mythology, Meleager was a hero venerated in his temenos at Calydon in Aetolia. He was already famed as the host of the Calydonian boar hunt in the epic tradition that was reworked by Homer....

 was a hero of Aetolia. King Oeneus
Oeneus
In Greek mythology, Oeneus, or Oineus was a Calydonian king, son of Porthaon and Euryte, husband of Althaea and father of Deianeira, Meleager, Toxeus, Clymenus, Periphas, Agelaus, Thyreus , Gorge, Eurymede, Mothone, Perimede and Melanippe...

 had him gather heroes from all over Greece to hunt the Calydonian Boar
Calydonian Boar
The Calydonian Boar is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was killed in the Calydonian Hunt, in which many male...

. After the death of Meleager
Meleager
In Greek mythology, Meleager was a hero venerated in his temenos at Calydon in Aetolia. He was already famed as the host of the Calydonian boar hunt in the epic tradition that was reworked by Homer....

, Artemis turned his grieving sisters, the Meleagrids
Meleagrids
In Greek mythology, the Meleagrids were the daughters of Althaea and Oeneus, sisters of Meleager. When their brother died, they cried incessantly until Artemis changed them into guineafowl and transferred them to the island of Leros...

 into guineafowl
Guineafowl
The guineafowl are a family of birds in the Galliformes order, although some authorities include the guineafowl as a subfamily, Numidinae, of the family Phasianidae...

 that Artemis loved very much.

Aura

In Nonnus
Nonnus
Nonnus of Panopolis , was a Greek epic poet. He was a native of Panopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid, and probably lived at the end of the 4th or early 5th century....

 Dionysiaca
Dionysiaca
The Dionysiaca is an ancient epic poem and the principal work of Nonnus. It is an epic in 48 books, the longest surviving poem from antiquity at 20,426 lines, composed in Homeric dialect and dactylic hexameters, the main subject of which is the life of Dionysus, his expedition to India, and his...

, Aura
Aura (mythology)
In Greek and Roman mythology, Aura is the divine personification of the breeze. The plural form, Aurae, "Breezes," is often found.The velificatio, a billowing garment that forms an arch overhead, is the primary attribute by which an Aura can be identified in art...

 was Greek goddess of breezes and cool air, daughter of Lelantos
Lelantos
Lelantos, or Lelantus, was the Titan father of Aura by Periboa. He was the son of Coeus and Phoebe and brother to Leto and Asteria.-References:* Davidson, James, The Greeks and Greek Love, Random House, Inc., 2009. ISBN 9780375505164....

 and Periboia. She was a virgin huntress, just like Artemis and proud of her maidenhood. One day, she claimed that the body of Artemis was too womanly and she doubted her virginity. Artemis asked Nemesis
Nemesis (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nemesis , also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris . The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess: the goddess of revenge...

 for help to avenge her dignity and caused the rape of Aura by Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

. Aura became a mad and dangerous killer. When she bore twin sons, she ate one of them while the other one, Iakhos, was saved by Artemis. Iakhos later became an attendant of Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 and the leader of Eleusinian Mysteries
Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...

.

Trojan War

Artemis may have been represented as a supporter of Troy because her brother Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 was the patron god of the city and she herself was widely worshipped in western Anatolia in historical times. In the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

she came to blows with Hera, when the divine allies of the Greeks and Trojans engaged each other in conflict. Hera struck Artemis on the ears with her own quiver, causing the arrows to fall out. As Artemis fled crying to Zeus, Leto gathered up the bow and arrows.

Artemis played quite a large part in this war. Like her mother and brother, who was widely worshiped at Troy, Artemis took the side of the Trojans. At the Greek's journey to Troy, Artemis becalmed the sea and stopped the journey until an oracle came and said they could win the goddess' heart by sacrificing Iphigenia, Agamemnon
Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

's daughter. Agamemnon once promised the goddess he would sacrifice the dearest thing to him, which was Iphigenia, but broke the promise. Other sources said he boasted about his hunting ability and provoked the goddess' anger. Artemis saved Iphigenia because of her bravery. In some versions of the myth,, Artemis made Iphigenia her attendant or turned her into Hecate
Hecate
Hecate or Hekate is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads.She is attested in poetry as early as Hesiod's Theogony...

, goddess of night, witchcraft, and the underworld.

Aeneas
Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

 was helped by Artemis, Leto, and Apollo. Apollo found him wounded by Diomedes and lifted him to heaven. There, the three of them secretly healed him in a great chamber.

Worship of Artemis


Artemis, the goddess of forests and hills, was worshipped throughout ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. Her best known cults
Cult (religious practice)
In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings , its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. Cult in this primary sense is...

 were on the island of Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...


(her birthplace); in Attica at Brauron
Brauron
The sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron is an early sacred site on the eastern coast of Attica near the Aegean Sea in a small inlet. The inlet has silted up since ancient times, pushing the current shoreline farther from the site...

 and Mounikhia (near Piraeus
Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

); in Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

. She was often depicted in paintings and statues in a forest setting, carrying a bow and arrows, and accompanied by a deer.

The ancient Spartans used to sacrifice to her as one of their patron goddesses before starting a new military campaign
Military campaign
In the military sciences, the term military campaign applies to large scale, long duration, significant military strategy plan incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war...

.

Athenian festivals
Athenian festivals
The festival calendar of city-state of classical Athens involved the staging of a large number of festivals each year. These Athenian festivals included:-Athena:...

 in honor of Artemis included Elaphebolia
Elaphebolia
The Elaphebolia was an ancient Greek festival held at Athens and Phocis during the month of Elaphebolion dedicated to Artemis Elaphebolos...

, Mounikhia, Kharisteria, and Brauronia. The festival of Artemis Orthia
Artemis Orthia
The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, an Archaic site devoted in Classical times to Artemis, was one of the most important religious sites in the Greek city-state of Sparta.- Sanctuary :...

 was observed in Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

.

Pre-pubescent and adolescent Athenian girls were sent to the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron to serve the Goddess for one year. During this time, the girls were known as arktoi, or little she-bears. A myth explaining this servitude states that a bear had formed the habit of regularly visiting the town of Brauron, and the people there fed it, so that, over time, the bear became tame. A girl teased the bear, and, in some versions of the myth, it killed her, while, in other versions, it clawed out her eyes. Either way, the girl's brothers killed the bear, and Artemis was enraged. She demanded that young girls "act the bear" at her sanctuary in atonement for the bear's death.

Virginal Artemis was worshipped as a fertility/childbirth goddess in some places, assimilating Ilithyia
Ilithyia
Eileithyia or Ilithyia , was the Cretan goddess adopted into ancient Greek religion and myth as the goddess of childbirth and midwifery.-Etymology and cult:...

, since, according to some myths, she assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin. During the Classical period
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, she was identified with Hecate
Hecate
Hecate or Hekate is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads.She is attested in poetry as early as Hesiod's Theogony...

. Artemis also assimilated Caryatis
Caryatis
In ancient Greek religion Artemis Caryatis was an epithet of Artemis that was derived from the small polis of Karyai in Laconia; there an archaic open-air temenos was dedicated to Carya, the Lady of the Nut-Tree, whose priestesses were called the caryatidai, represented on the Athenian Acropolis as...

 (Carya).

Epithets

As Aeginaea, she was worshiped in Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

; the name means either huntress of chamois
Chamois
The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand...

, or the wielder of the javelin . She was worshipped at Naupactus
Naupactus
Naupactus or Nafpaktos , is a town and a former municipality in Aetolia-Acarnania, West Greece, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Nafpaktia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 as Aetole; in her temple in that town there was a statue of white marble representing her throwing a javelin. This "Aetolian Artemis" would not have been introduced at Naupactus, anciently a place of Ozolian Locris
Ozolian Locris
Ozolian Locris or Esperian Locris was a district inhabited by the Ozolian Locrians a tribe of the Locrians, upon the Corinthian gulf, bounded on the north by Doris, on the east by Phocis, and on the west by Aetolia.-Name:...

, until it was awarded to the Aetolia
Aetolia
Aetolia is a mountainous region of Greece on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, forming the eastern part of the modern prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania.-Geography:...

ns by Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

. Strabo records another precinct of "Aetolian Artemos" at the head of the Adriatic
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

. As Agoraea
Agoraea
Agoraea and Agoraeus were epithets given to several divinities of Greek mythology who were considered to be the protectors of the assemblies of the people in the agora , particularly in Athens, Sparta, and Thebes. The gods so named were Zeus, Athena, Artemis, and Hermes...

 she was the protector of the agora
Agora
The Agora was an open "place of assembly" in ancient Greek city-states. Early in Greek history , free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the Agora for military duty or to hear statements of the ruling king or council. Later, the Agora also served as a marketplace where...

. As Agrotera
Agrotera
Agrotera was an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the most important goddess to Attic hunters.At Agrae on the Ilissos, where she was believed to have first hunted after her arrival from Delos, Artemis Agrotera had a temple, dating to the 5th century BC, with a statue carrying a bow...

, she was especially associated as the patron goddess of hunters. In Elis
Elis
Elis, or Eleia is an ancient district that corresponds with the modern Elis peripheral unit...

 she was worshiped as Alphaea
Artemis Alphaea
Alphaea, Alpheaea, or Alpheiusa was in Greek mythology an epithet of the goddess Artemis. She derived this name from the river god Alpheius, who was said to have been in love with her. It was under this name that she was worshiped at Letrini in Elis, and in Ortygia...

. In Athens Artemis was often associated with the local Aeginian
Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

 goddess, Aphaea
Aphaea
Aphaea was a Greek goddess who was worshipped almost exclusively at a single sanctuary on the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. She originated as early as the 14th century BCE as a local deity associated with fertility and the agricultural cycle...

. As Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron is a term first used by Homer and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals...

, she was the patron of wild animals; Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 used this title. As Kourotrophos, she was the nurse of youths. As Locheia, she was the goddess of childbirth and midwives. She was sometimes known as Cynthia
Cynthia
Cynthia is a feminine given name of Greek origin: Κυνθία, Kynthía, "from Mount Cynthus" on Delos island. It can be abbreviated as Cindy. There are various spellings for this name....

, from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus
Cynthus
Mount Cynthus is located on the isle of Delos, part of the Greek Cyclades.In Greek mythology, Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis on this island, having been shunned by Zeus' wife Hera who was extremely jealous of his liaison with Leto...

 on Delos
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

, or Amarynthia from a festival in her honor originally held at Amarynthus in Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

. She was sometimes identified by the name Phoebe, the feminine form of her brother Apollo's solar epithet Phoebus.

Festivals

Artemis was born at the sixth day, the reason why it was sacred for her.
  • Festival of Artemis in Brauron, where girls aged not more than 10 and not less than 5 dressed in saffron robes played the bear to appease the goddess after the plagued she sent when her bear was killed.
  • Festival of Amarysia is a celebration to worship Artemis Amarysia in Attica
    Attica
    Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

    . In 2007, a team of Swiss and Greek archaeologists found the ruin of Artemis Amarysia Temple, at Euboea, Greece.
  • Festival of Artemis Saronia, a festival to celebrate Artemis in Trozeinos, a town in Argolis
    Argolis
    Argolis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

    . A king named Saron built a sanctuary for the goddess after the goddess saved his life when he went on hunting and swept by the wave and held a festival for her.
  • At the 16 of Metageitnio (second month on Athenian calendar), people sacrifice to Artemis and Hecate at deme of Erchia.
  • Kharisteria Festival on 6 of Boidromion (third month) to celebrate the victory of Marathon
    Battle of Marathon
    The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. It was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate...

     and also known as the Athenian "Thanksgiving".
  • Day six of Elaphobolia (ninth month) festival of Artemis the Deer Huntress where she was offered cakes shaped like stags, made from dough, honey and sesame-seeds.
  • Day 6 of 16 of Mounikhion (tenth month) a celebration of her as the goddess of nature and animal. A goat was being sacrificed to her.
  • Day 6 of Thargelion (eleventh month) the 'birthday' of the goddess, while the seventh was Apollo's.
  • A festival for Artemis Diktynna (of the net) in Hypsous.
  • Laphria
    Laphria
    Laphria was an ancient Greek religious festival which ended once a year in Patras in honour of the goddess Laphria, the Laphrian Artemis. Pausanias wrote messages on that festival. During his visit, the temple of Laphrian Artemis was brought there by Calydon, a belief, as Laphria was also named...

    , a festival for Artemis in Patrai. The procession started by setting the logs of wood around the altar, each of them sixteen cubits long. On the altar, within the circle, is placed the driest of their wood. Just before the time of the festival, they construct a smooth ascent to the altar, piling earth upon the altar steps. The festival begins with a most splendid procession in honor of Artemis, and the maiden officiating as priestess rides last in the procession upon a car yoked to deer. It is, however, not until the next day that the sacrifice is offered.
  • In Orchomenus, a sanctuary was built for Artemis Hymnia where her festival was celebrated every year.

Artemis in art

The oldest representations of Artemis in Greek Archaic art portray her as Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron
Potnia Theron is a term first used by Homer and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals...

("Queen of the Beasts"): a winged goddess holding a stag and leopard in her hands, or sometimes a leopard and a lion. This winged Artemis lingered in ex-votos as Artemis Orthia
Artemis Orthia
The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, an Archaic site devoted in Classical times to Artemis, was one of the most important religious sites in the Greek city-state of Sparta.- Sanctuary :...

, with a sanctuary close by Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

.

In Greek classical art she is usually portrayed as a maiden huntress, young, tall and slim, clothed in a girl's short skirt, with hunting boots, a quiver, a bow and arrows. Often, she is shown in the shooting pose, and is accompanied by a hunting dog
Hunting dog
A hunting dog refers to any dog who assists humans in hunting. There are several types of hunting dogs developed for various tasks. The major categories of hunting dogs include hounds, terriers, dachshunds, cur type dogs, and gun dogs...

 or stag. When portrayed as a goddess of the moon, Artemis wore a long robe and sometimes a veil covered her head. Her darker side is revealed in some vase paintings, where she is shown as the death-bringing goddess whose arrows fell young maidens and women, such as the daughters of Niobe
Niobe
Niobe was a daughter of Tantalus and of either Dione, the most frequently cited, or of Eurythemista or Euryanassa, and she was the sister of Pelops and Broteas, all of whom figure in Greek mythology....

.

Only in post-Classical art do we find representations of Artemis-Diana with the crown of the crescent
Crescent
In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points .In astronomy, a crescent...

 moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, as Luna. In the ancient world, although she was occasionally associated with the moon, she was never portrayed as the moon itself. Ancient statues of Artemis have been found with crescent moons, but these moons are always Renaissance-era additions.

On June 7, 2007, a Roman era bronze sculpture of Artemis and the Stag
Artemis and the Stag
Artemis and the Stag is an early Roman Imperial or Hellenistic bronze sculpture of the ancient Greek goddess Artemis. In June 2007 the Albright-Knox Art Gallery placed the statue into auction; it fetched $28.6 million, the highest sale price of any sculpture at the time.-Description:The statue...

was sold at Sotheby’s auction house in New York state by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is an art museum located in Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York. The gallery is a major showplace for modern art and contemporary art. It is located directly across the street from Buffalo State College.-History:...

 for $25.5 million.

Attributes

  • Bow and arrow

According to the Homeric Hymn to Artemis, she had golden bow and arrows, as her epithet was Khryselakatos, "of the Golden Shaft", and Iokheira (Showered by Arrows). The arrows of Artemis could also to bring sudden death and disease to girls and women. Artemis got her bow and arrow for the first time from The Kyklopes, as the one she asked from her father. The bow of Artemis also became the witness of Callisto's oath of her virginity. In later cult, the bow became the symbol of waxing moon.
  • Chariots

Artemis' chariot was made of gold and was pulled by four golden horned deer (Elaphoi Khrysokeroi). The bridles of her chariot were also made of gold.
  • Spears, nets, and lyre


Although quite seldom, Artemis is sometimes portrayed with a hunting spear. Her cult in Aetolia, the Artemis Aetolian, showed her with a hunting spear. The description about Artemis' spear can be found in Ovid's Metamorphosis, while Artemis with a fishing connected with her cult as a patron goddess of fishing.

As a goddess of maiden dances and songs, Artemis is often portrayed with a lyre.

Fauna

  • Deer
    Deer
    Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...


Deer were the only animals held sacred to Artemis herself. On seeing a deer larger than a bull with horns shining, she fell in love with these creatures and held them sacred. Deer were also the first animals she captured. She caught five golden horned deer called Elaphoi Khrysokeroi and harnessed them to her chariot. The third labour of Heracles, commanded by Eurystheus
Eurystheus
In Greek mythology, Eurystheus was king of Tiryns, one of three Mycenaean strongholds in the Argolid, although other authors including Homer and Euripides cast him as ruler of Argos: Sthenelus was his father and the "victorious horsewoman" Nicippe his mother, and he was a grandson of the hero...

, consisted in catching the Cerynitian Hind alive. Heracles begged Artemis for forgiveness and promised to return it alive. Artemis forgave him but targeted Eurystheus for her wrath.
  • Hunting dog

Artemis got her hunting dogs from Pan in the forest of Arcadia. Pan gave Artemis two black-and-white dogs, three reddish ones, and one spotted one - these dogs were able to hunt even lions. Pan also gave Artemis seven bitches of the finest Arcadian race. However, Artemis only ever brought seven dogs hunting with her at any one time.
  • Bear
    Bear
    Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...


The sacrifice of a bear for Artemis started from the Brauron cult. Every year, a little girl age between five and ten was sent to Artemis' temple at Brauron. Arktos e Brauroniois, a text by, Suidas, a Byzantine writer, told a legend about a bear that was tamed by Artemis, and introduced to the people of Athens. They touched it and played with it, until one day a group of girls poked the bear until it attacked them. A A brother of one of the girls killed the bear, so Artemis sent a plague in revenge. The Athenians consulted an oracle to understand how to end the plague. The oracle suggested that, in payment for the bear's blood, every Athenian virgin should not be allowed to marry until she had served Artemis in her temple ('played the bear for the goddess').

  • Boar
    Boar
    Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...


The boar is one of the favorite animals of the hunters, and also hard to tame. In honor of Artemis' skill, they sacrificed it to her. Oineus and Adonis were both killed by Artemis' boar.

  • Guinea fowl

Artemis felt pity for the Meleagrids as they mourned for their lost brother, Meleagor, so she transformed them into Guinea Fowl to be her favorite animals.
  • Buzzard hawk
    Hawk
    The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...


Hawks were the favored birds of many of the gods, Artemis included.

Flora

Palm
Arecaceae
Arecaceae or Palmae , are a family of flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. There are roughly 202 currently known genera with around 2600 species, most of which are restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates...

 and Cypress
Cypress
Cypress is the name applied to many plants in the cypress family Cupressaceae, which is a conifer of northern temperate regions. Most cypress species are trees, while a few are shrubs...

 were issued to be her birth place. Other plants sacred to Artemis are Amaranth
Amaranth
Amaranthus, collectively known as amaranth, is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. Approximately 60 species are recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to gold...

 and Asphodel
Asphodel
Asphodelus ramosus, also known as Branched asphodel, is a perennial herb in the Asparagales order. Similar in appearance to Asphodelus albus and particularly Asphodelus cerasiferus, it may be distinguished by its highly branched stem and smaller fruits.In addition, at least on the Catalan coast...

.

Artemis as the Lady of Ephesus

At Ephesus in Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

, Turkey, her temple became one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was probably the best known center of her worship except for Delos. There the Lady whom the Ionians associated with Artemis through interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus", "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus", respectively.-Roman...

was worshiped primarily as a mother goddess, akin to the Phrygian goddess Cybele
Cybele
Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

, in an ancient sanctuary where her cult image
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

 depicted the "Lady of Ephesus" adorned with multiple rounded breast like protuberances on her chest. They had been traditionally interpreted as multiple accessory breast
Accessory breast
Accessory breasts, also known as polymastia, supernumerary breasts, or mammae erraticae, is the condition of having an additional breast...

s, or as sacrificed bull testes, as some newer scholars claimed, until excavation at the site of the Artemision in 1987-88 identified the multitude of tear-shaped amber
Amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

 beads that had adorned her ancient wooden xoanon
Xoanon
A xoanon was an Archaic wooden cult image of Ancient Greece. Classical Greeks associated such cult objects, whether aniconic or effigy, with the legendary Daedalus. Many such cult images were preserved into historical times, though none have survived to the modern day, except where their image...

. In Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, Ephesian metalsmiths who felt threatened by Saint Paul's preaching of Christianity, jealously rioted in her defense, shouting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Only one of 121 columns still stand in Ephesus. The rest were used for making churches, roads, and forts.

Artemis in astronomy

A minor planet
Minor planet
An asteroid group or minor-planet group is a population of minor planets that have a share broadly similar orbits. Members are generally unrelated to each other, unlike in an asteroid family, which often results from the break-up of a single asteroid...

, (105) Artemis; a lunar crater
Artemis (crater)
Artemis is a tiny lunar impact crater located in the Mare Imbrium. Craters of this dimension typically form cup-shaped excavations on the surface of the Moon. It lies near the mid-point between the craters Euler to the west and Lambert to the east. Just a few kilometers to the southeast is the even...

; the Artemis Chasma
Artemis Chasma
Artemis Chasma is the nearly circular fracture in Venus' surface which almost encloses Artemis Corona. The chasma and its associating corona can be found on the Aphrodite Terra continent, at Latitude 35° South, Longitude 135° East....

 and the Artemis Corona
Artemis Corona
Artemis Corona is a corona found in the Aphrodite Terra continent, on the planet Venus, at .Named after Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunting, it is the largest corona on Venus, with a diameter of 2,600 kilometers...

 have all been named for her.

Artemis is the acronym for "Architectures de bolometres pour des Telescopes a grand champ de vue dans le domaine sub-Millimetrique au Sol," a large bolometer
Bolometer
A bolometer is a device for measuring the power of incident electromagnetic radiation via the heating of a material with a temperature-dependent electrical resistance. It was invented in 1878 by the American astronomer Samuel Pierpont Langley...

 camera in the submillimeter
Submillimetre astronomy
Submillimetre astronomy or submillimeter astronomy is the branch of observational astronomy that is conducted at submillimetre wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Astronomers place the submillimetre waveband between the far-infrared and microwave wavebands, typically taken to be between a...

 range that was installed in 2010 at the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment
Atacama Pathfinder Experiment
The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment is a radio telescope located at 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert, in northern Chile, 50 kilometers to the east of San Pedro de Atacama. The main dish has a diameter of 12 meters and consists of 264...

 (APEX), located in the Atacama Desert
Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world...

 in northern Chile.

Sources

  • Walter Burkert
    Walter Burkert
    Walter Burkert is a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult.An emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he also has taught in the United Kingdom and the United States...

    , 1985. Greek Religion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    )
  • Robert Graves
    Robert Graves
    Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

     (1955) 1960. The Greek Myths (Penguin)
  • Karl Kerenyi
    Karl Kerényi
    Károly Kerényi was a Hungarian scholar in classical philology, one of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology.- Hungary 1897–1943 :...

    , 1951. The Gods of the Greeks
  • Seppo Telenius
    Seppo Telenius
    Seppo Sakari Telenius is a Finnish writer and historian who lives in Harjavalta. He studied political history and social history at the University of Helsinki . His varied body of works includes novels, short stories, poems, local history books as well as essays...

    (2005) 2006. Athena-Artemis (Helsinki: Kirja kerrallaan)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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