69278535179000Artemis after being hunted by the lawful wife

Artemis was the goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment.

She was the daughter of Zeus and  HYPERLINK “https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/Zeus’s_Lovers/Leto/leto.html” o “Leto” Leto, twin sister of Apollo. She was born on the island of Ortygia (Delos), where  HYPERLINK “https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/Zeus’s_Lovers/Leto/leto.html” o “Leto” Leto had found shelter after being hunted by the lawful wife of Zeus, Hera. As soon as Artemis was born, she helped her mother give birth to her twin brother, thereby becoming the protector of childbirth and labour. She asked her father to grant her eternal chastity and virginity, and never gave in to any potential lovers; devoted to hunting and nature, she rejected marriage and love.

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right1397000She was the protector of nature and the hunt; both wild and tame animals were under her protection. She also protected the agriculture and animal herding.

Artemis was worshipped widely in Greece but only as a secondary deity. A temple built in her honour became one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.” At least two festivals were celebrated in her honour of Artemis: Brauronia and the festival of Artemis Orthia.

The bear was sacred to her.

She guarded her virginity carefully. Actaeon and Orion tried to dishonour 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.

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.

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