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Artemis

The Goddess of the hunt, the wild animals, the untouched nature and childbirth


Now that I have told you about Apollo – The God of music, light, poetry, medicine, and prophecy it is time to take a look at Artemis – The Goddess of the hunt, the wild animals, the untouched nature and childbirth

Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. She is the goddess of the hunt and the goddess of the wild animals and the untouched nature. When depicted, she is often in the company of one of the forest animals. Artemis is called upon as a protector of childbirth. Like her brother, she is a great archer; she shoots arrows that do not cause pain. Many pray to her for a painless death. She is full of contradictions, both kind and gentle, and harsh and cruel. She can cure the dying, but also spread diseases such as leprosy and rabies.

Artemis was born on the island of Ortygia one day earlier than her brother Apollo. The next day, she helped her mother sail across the Strait to Delos to feed Apollo. At three years old, she makes her father Zeus promise to guarantee her eternal virginity. As her companions, she is always depicted with virgins. Young girls were introduced into the cult of Artemis through rituals. When they reached the age of adolescence, if she then decides to marry – which Artemis does not mind – she puts her childhood dolls, toys, and jewelry in front of her altar, along with a lock of her hair.

Artemis herself has no active love life. One day Aktaion is hunting, and he happens to bear witnesses to Artemis and her nymphs bathing in a remote lake. When he is discovered, Artemis turns him into a deer and then lets his own dogs hunt him down and tear him apart. She takes her promise of chastity very seriously. It is said that the great hunter Orion was trying to have his way with Artemis, but she killed him with her bow and arrow. Orion turned into a constellation, and his dog turned into the star Sirius (the dog star). 

Zeus wants the beautiful nymph Calisto and comes to her in the form of Artemis. The result of their meeting is the son Arkas, the ancestor of the Archaic. When Artemis finds out about this, she shows no compassion but transforms Calisto into a bear. She was then put on the starry sky as Ursa Major.

King Agamemnon once killed a deer in the sacred grove of Artemis. Artemis punishes him by refusing to let the wind blow when the Greek fleet sails to Troy, and the wind only returns when Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Ifigenia to Artemis. 

You have also heard about how Artemis and her brother kill Niobes 12 children, the Artemis girls, and the Apollo boys

In Asia Minor, Artemis is especially worshiped as the goddess of fertility, as Paul experiences when he comes to Ephesus. Here the residents have built the great Artemis temple, which is considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

Thank you for reading this blog post. This a blog post in a series regarding greek mythology. If I have piqued your interest, and you want to read the next blog posts I do on the topic or on other subjects I write about; please remember to subscribe using the box on the right sidebar.

Next time I will tell the tale of Hermes – The Herald of the Gods

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