Deity of the Day
Greek Goddess of the Hunt, Forests and Hills, the Moon, Archery
Artemis is known as the goddess of the hunt and is one of the most respected of all the ancient Greek deities. It is thought that her name, and even the goddess herself, may even be pre-Greek. She was the daughter of Zeus, king of the gods, and the Titaness Leto and she has a twin brother, the god Apollo.
Not only was Artemis the goddess of the hunt, she was also known as the goddess of wild animals, wilderness, childbirth and virginity. Also, she was protector of young children and was know to bring and relieve disease in women. In literature and art she was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrow.
Artemis was a virgin and drew the attention and interest of many gods and men. However, it was only her hunting companion, Orion, that won her heart. It is believed that Orion was accidentally killed either by Artemis herself or by Gaia, the primordial goddess of the earth.
In one version of the stories of Adonis – who was a late addition to Greek mythology during the Hellenistic period – Artemis sent a wild boar to kill Adonis after he continued to boast that he was a far greater hunter than her.
Facts about Artemis
- Artemis was daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo.
- According to one source, Artemis was born a day before Apollo. She then served as a guardian to him, which provided a context for her desire to protect and nurture.
- She was primarily a virgin huntress, goddess of wildlife and patroness of hunters.
- The bear was sacred to her.
- She guarded her virginity carefully. Actaeon and Orion tried to dishonor or rape her, but anyone who threatened her purity met with a violent end.
- She was an important goddess in the lives of women, especially when it came to marriage and young creatures.
- When one of her nymphs was seduced by Zeus, Artemis transformed her into a bear and then killed her.
- She was sometimes associated with the goddess of the moon.
- Artemis acted out in anger whenever her wishes were disobeyed, especially if anyone transgressed against the animals that were sacred to her.
- She punished Agamemnon, for example, when he killed a stag in her sacred grove.
- Artemis appealed to Zeus to grant her eternal virginity.
- Apollo and Artemis teamed up to kill the children of Niobe. Niobe bragged that she had birthed more children than Leto (the mother of Apollo and Artemis). The twins then hunted her children and killed them with their bows and arrows.
- Artemis was worshipped widely in Greece but only as a secondary deity.
- A temple built in her honor became one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.”
- At least two festivals were celebrated in her honor of Artemis: Brauronia and the festival of Artemis Orthia.
- Homer referred to her as a mistress of wild animals.
- Artemis spent most of her time roaming the forests with her nymphs. She was described as both hunting animals and protecting them.
- She armed herself with a bow and arrows made by Hephaestus and Cyclops.
- In art, Artemis is often accompanied by a stag or hunting dog.
- She is the protector of chastity and a nurturer of the young.
Artemis: http://greekgodsandgoddesses.net – Greek Gods & Goddesses, September 19, 2014