By: Christina

Artemis; great huntress and powerful deity. Of all of the Greek Gods and Goddesses, Artemis is one of the twelve Olympians. She is a formidable enemy and is not someone to mess with, as proven by many accounts of her retribution. She does not care for love or lust, but rather more of equality between men and women. She also does not care much for men, except for some cases.
Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, The Wild, Wild Animals, and sometimes (in cities) Fertility and Childbirth. She is an eternal virgin, and also a feminist. She has a twin brother; Apollo. Their parents are Zeus and Leto. In some stories she was born a day before Apollo to help her mother give birth. They were born on the island of Delos after Hera, Zeus’s husband, was so enraged that Zeus had been unfaithful she forbid anyone from helping Leto out. Artemis is highly adverse to men, severely punishing those who attempt to woo her and or her virgin maidens, as well as men who rape or attempt to rape women. According to Greek mythology, she is about as beautiful as Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, but it holds an entirely different meaning. Her beauty represents innocence and purity. She is also immune to love, lust, loneliness and Aphrodite’s magic. Artemis dresses like a hunter, also, donning a short tunic (to be able to move easier), a crescent moon above her forehead, a silver bow and a quiver full of silver arrows. She is a powerful Greek Goddess, able to destroy and kill just as easily as she can create and help. With her arrows, like her brother’s, she can also bring disease as well as death—such as demonstrated with Queen Niobe’s twelve children. [Carlos Padara]
The Goddess is famous for not only her eternal virginity, but also for her punishments. However, she did heal others also. She punished both men and women—women for being unfaithful to her (her maidens), having affairs or doing something terribly against her liking. Many people are familiar with the constellation Orion. Orion, a hunter, foolishly attempted to rape her, and she killed him. There are two different versions, one being she had a scorpion sting him, another she killed him with her bow and arrows. Actaeon had been hunting when he came across she and her maidens bathing, and he stopped to admire them. She soon learned what he was doing and became enraged, transforming him into a stag and setting his own hunting dogs upon the hunter. Agamemnon killed a stag in her sacred grove, and Artemis took away the wind so he could not sail to Troy. The only way she would let the ships move was if he sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia. King Oeneus, ruler of Calydon, forgot to present his most bountiful crops and fruit to only Artemis. She retaliated by letting loose the Calydonian boar who brought great destruction to his people and the land. She made Narcissus fall in love with himself; Admetus got snakes in his bed when he forgot to thank her at his wedding, Buphagus shot to death when he, too, attempted to rape Artemis, and punished the giant Tityus for attempting to rape her mother. Women were also punished. Callisto, one of her maidens, became seduced by Zeus and she changed her into a bear and then killed her with her arrows. Maera, another one of her maidens, was also killed when she became one of Zeus’s lovers. She helped Apollo kill his mistress for having an affair with a mortal while pregnant with his child. She and Apollo slaughtered Niobe’s 12 children, six boys and six girls because Niobe taunted their mother. Artemis was not only known for her vengeance, however, such as with Hippolytus. He was a male, but he swore chastity, and became her friend. Male priests willingly castrated themselves in order to serve her. [Coffey] [Pontikis] [Ron Leadbetter]
Artemis, despite her infamous punishments, has also helped many as well. She has other hobbies than the punishments also. She can heal, helped with healing young children, and had discovered food that was suitable for infants, helps women in childbirth, and so on. As with the tale of her helping her mother, Leto out with birthing Apollo, she helps relieve the women of their pain. Sometimes she kills them to ease the suffering and sometimes she helps them. Artemis also helps out female animals in the throes of childbirth, helping them and also easing their pain. The Goddess of the Hunt of course hunts wild animals with or without her maidens as sport, and playing and or dancing with them. Sometimes she visits her brother’s house and leads the Muses dances. Artemis also decides to side with Trojans in the Trojan war, even though they lose. She is associated with the moon, and her silver bow and arrows signal a New Moon—the age after the Titans. When one of Artemis’s maidens, Taygete, asked her for help in escaping Zeus, she temporarily turned her into a cow so that he could not find her. She also saved Ares by outsmarting the giants Otus and Ephialtes. Artemis saved an abandoned baby and had given it to one of her bears, who suckled her and then the baby was raised by hunters. [New World Encyclopedia] [Coffey]
The great Goddess is someone not to be trifled with—she is easily angered, and her wrath is terrifying. But she is not only terrifying, she is cunning, intelligent and fun-loving. She is provoked whenever someone attempts to advance on her or her maidens, and they are punished for attempting such things. She is also offended and very angered if anybody hunting manages to kill one of her sacred animals.
Her most sacred animals are deer. As shown earlier, she is not averse to giving punishments, and is not accepting with being disobeyed. But she isn’t all vengefulness and wrath, for she loves to play, dance and chase, along with helping women and young maidens. When she was naught but three, the intelligent Goddess asked her father, Zeus, grant her these things: “She spake these words to her sire: “Give me to keep my maidenhood, Father, forever: and give me to be of many names, that Phoebus may not vie with me. And give me arrows and a bow [,] ... and give me to gird me in a tunic with embroidered border reaching to the knee, that I may slay wild beasts. And give me sixty daughters of Oceanus for my choir – all nine years old, all maidens yet ungirdled; and give me for handmaidens twenty nymphs of Amnisus who shall tend well my buskins, and, when I shoot no more at lynx or stag, shall tend my swift hounds. And give to me all mountains; and for city, assign me any, even whatsoever thou wilt: for seldom is it that Artemis goes down to the town. On the mountains will I dwell and the cities of men I will visit only when women vexed by the sharp pang of childbirth call me to their aid even in the hour when I was born the Fates ordained that I should be their helper, forasmuch as my mother suffered no pain either when she gave me birth or when she carried me win her womb, but without travail put me from her body.” So spake the child and would have touched her father’s beard, but many a hand did she reach forth in vain, that she might touch it.” – from a poem by Callimachus. As also written above, she loved to dance and play with her maidens, and vowed they did not have to be virgins forever. She let them go to get married and fall in love, but they had to place their childhood toys, dresses and mementos of their childhood on the altar to her. [Leadbetter] [Sansal]
The main people who worshipped her were young girls and women, although men sometimes worshipped her also. The women prayed to her so she could grant them an easy birth. There were some rituals—young girls sometimes wore bearskins and danced and growled and acted. The female bear signifies that it is the hardest animal to tame, and by acting that out young girls demonstrated they have overcome and/or are overcoming insecurities and realizing themselves. Men would also hang up horns and skins of animals they felled to thank her. There are festivals, one being the Brauronia, another Artemis Orthia in Sparta. Young boys would try to steal cheese and would be whipped as they did so. The explanation and reason for this was lost over time. A temple dedicated to her in Asia Minor has become one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In that city, she was worshipped and seen as a fertility goddess. She was considered a second deity in many cities, besides some like Asia Minor. [MCoffey] [New World Encyclopedia]
Artemis’s power is wrathful and unforgiving—should anyone cross her path, the consequence could very well mean death. Even though she is not a main God like Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, her power is still recognized. Not only is she vengeful, she is also helpful and loves animals, while also guiding young girls through their younger years until they marry. The few myths that have survived are strong, and she is a powerful aspect of Greek Mythology.


Works Cited
Leadbetter, Ron. “Artemis.” 1997. Encyclopedia Mythica. 10 August 2005. <>.
Parada, Carlos. “Artemis.” 1997. Greek Mythology Link. <>.
Coffey, Melissa. “Artemis.” 1998. <>.
Pontikis, Nick. “Myth Man’s Homework Help Center – Artemis.” 1988. Homework Help. 1999. <>.
Sansal, Burak. “Greek Gods (Apollo, Artemis, Poseidon)”. 1996. All About Turkey. 2009. <>
New World Encyclopedia. “Artemis”. 2007. New World Encyclopedia. 29 August 2008. <>