Artemis (Greek: nominative: Ἄρτεμις; genitive: Ἀρτέμιδος) is the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, the moon, wild forests, hills, wild animals, wilderness, virginity, midwifery, archery and protection of maidens. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, as well as the twin sister of Apollo. She is one of the three virgin goddesses of Mount Olympus.
Artemis loved to hunt and then bathe in a quiet pool. If any man saw her bathing, she would seduce, and then drown them; for no man shall live to tell the tale. She has a group of young women called the Hunters, that have sworn loyalty to Artemis, and given up love, in return for immortality. This immortality does not, however, include death by battle. She is believed to have accidently fallen in love with, and subsequently killed, the hero Orion during hunting.
There are many instances where a man was punished for seeing Artemis bathe. In one story, a hunter comes upon her bathing in a river. He falls in love with her and thinks he can win her over if he is respectful and tells her how great a hunter he is. He comes out of the forest and calls to her, and introduces himself. He tells her he loves her, and must have her for a wife. Artemis, smiling, tells him no man will ever have her, and turns him into a spotted deer. His hunting hounds smell him and, not realising he is their master, chase him down and tear him to pieces. In another story, an old man sees her bathe, but fearing the gods he falls to his knees and begs for forgiveness. Artemis blinds him, as punishment, but takes pity on him and gives him bird companions that follow him and act as his eyes.
Niobe, A Queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion, Niobe boasted of her superiority to Leto because while she had fourteen children (Niobids), 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.
Artemis is a goddess who enjoys action and the comfort of nature over the comfort of cities. While Artemis has punished men for watching her bath she has also punished people for boasting as well Artemis doesn't like when someone brags about being better than her. She not only loves hunting she also protects the animals while also protecting the hunters who show loyalty to her. However she doesn't show this protection to hunters who don't respect and care for the animals that they hunt. One example of Artemis loves for the balance of nature is when Aphrodite made Polyphonte fall in love with a bear. Polyphonte gave birth to Agrius and Oreius who were half-man and half-bear this angered Artemis because what Aphrodite made Polyphonte do was an abomination to nature.
Artemis would rather spend her days fighting enjoy the beauty, challenges and dangers of the wilderness over the celebrations, comforts, gatherings and feasts of Mount Olympus.
Artemis's Bow & Arrows
Chariot of Artemis: A chariot used by Artemis that is drawn by two golden antlered hinds which she may have used to move the cycles of the moon.
- (Hamilton 1998, p. 31)
|Deities in Greek mythology|
|Protogenoi||Khaos • Gaia • Tartaros • Uranus • Erebos • Nyx • Aether • Hemera • Eros • Oceanus • Pontus • Thalassa|
|Titans||Atlas • Cronus • Mnemosyne • Prometheus • Rhea • Tethys • Themis • Metis • Hecate • Eos • Helios • Selene|
|Twelve Olympians||Zeus • Hera • Demeter • Hestia • Poseidon • Ares • Artemis • Apollon • Athena • Hermes • Hephaestus • Aphrodite • Dionysos|
|Daemones||Bia • Dike • Eris • Hebe • Hygieia • Hypnos • Nemesis • Nike • Phobos • Poena • Soteria • Thanatos|