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Leto bore Apollo and Artemis, delighting in arrows,
Both of lovely shape like none of the heavenly gods,
As she joined in love to the Aegis-bearing ruler.
Hesiod, Theogony 918-920.

Artemis is the Greek goddess of the Moon, archery, hunting, animals, the wilderness, maidenhood, and childbirth. She is the eighth out of the Twelve Olympian gods who rule over the Greek gods of the Greek Pantheon.

Overview

She is the leader of the Hunters of Artemis, an all-female group of hunters whose duty is to hunt and kill beasts and monsters who threaten to exposure the supernatural to the human world. She is the daughter of Leto and Zeus, and is the older twin sister of Apollo.

Often, Diana is accompanied by maidens, deer, and hounds. Diana was a goddess of chastity, and like her fellow goddesses Athena and Hestia, she swore she would not have sex with men. Sometimes referred to as Lucina, Artemis' reputation of protecting mothers and children earned her a place of honor among women.

Further, Artemis was praised for her intelligence. Artemis was said to have displaced Selene as a moon goddess, and Artemis is represented as directing the movements of the moon from her chariot and was frequently thought of as the goddess of light.

Appearance

As a goddess, Artemis could take on various different forms. However, no matter what form she takes, she will always supernaturally beautiful.

Artemis was born fully grown and was said to have been tall, beautiful, and youthful in appearance, often presenting herself as a young woman between the ages of 12 and 19. She is frequently shown as wearing a quiver of arrows on her shoulder and holding a bow. Typically clad in a short tunic, Artemis is sometimes depicted as going barefoot, or wearing simple buckskin foot coverings, as was the style of Roman huntresses. She wore her hair swept up and out of the way, as would be expected of a woman engaged in hunting and tracking.

As a virginal goddess and the protector of young children, she often take on the form of a young girl, roughly 12-14 years old. She has long auburn hair styled into a single braid and silver eyes. She wears hunting gears, carrying a quiver of arrows on her back with her iconic bow in her hand.

She could also transform into a beautiful adult woman.

Personality

Artemis is a level headed individual with a cool personality. Artemis is is a focused, reserved and reasonable woman but also stoic, serious, and extremely pragmatic. She is regarded by most deities and demigods as aloof and cold. She only ever showed emotion with her brother (annoyance and joy), and her hunters. Her attitude towards demigods is neutral seeing them as living beings unlike other gods but otherwise completely disregarding them. She doesn't frequently lose her temper and speaks calmly with others, even male demigods. She prefers the company of her followers and animals to even that of other gods, passing most of her time hunting in the wilderness.

Unlike her twin brother Apollo, Artemis is less "easy-going" and has a much greater understanding of mortals than most of the other Olympians, much like her half-brother Hermes. She is among the more sympathetic and selfless Olympians, weighting individuals by their actions and choices as opposed to their potential.

Artemis possesses deep care for maidens and will hurt anyone who tries to harm one. Her hunt is mostly comprised of young girls she had rescued. Her care also extends to children both male and female. Artemis possesses a soft spot for children earning her the title, Protector of Young Children. Artemis has a principle that she keeps close to her heart and follows and it is "boys do not become targets until they are men or if they have done something horrible to a woman."

She is quite spoiled when home, but outside of it, she is actually quite respectful. Regarding her twin brother, Apollo, she has a healthy rivalry with him towards archery and a close relationship with him, even if sometimes she gets pretty upset with him. Towards her relationship with her father, Zeus, she can be quite the average brat, she can usually be seen praising him and asking him for gifts, to which he'll respond with giving her whatever she wants.

Powers and Abilities

Like all deities, Artemis has the powers and abilities to do many things which is something that all gods have but because she is goddess of the hunt, archery, tracking, hunting, trapping, senses, communication with animals and survival are her greatest skills. Her worshippers believed she had the power to talk to woodland animals and even control their movements and behavior.

History

Birth & Travel to Olympus

Artemis was conceived by Zeus and the Titaness Leto. After her mother got pregnant, Hera got infuriated for her husband's constant cheating and cursed Leto to wander the earth without finding a place with roots to give birth. After traveling for a long time, the floating island of Delos gave sanctuary to Leto as the nature spirits there welcomed her. All the goddesses begged Hera to allow her daughter Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to come to Leto, who finally gave birth to a daughter named Artemis on the seventh day of the seventh month.

Almost immediately, Artemis grew to the size of a six-year-old girl and helped deliver her twin brother, Apollo, nine days later.​​​​​​ Seeing that it took days and nights to help her mother give birth to Apollo, the young Artemis swore to be a virgin and that she didn't like men after that. However, this event also influenced her to become the protector and nurturer of the young.

Four days later, Artemis asked her aunt Hestia to take her to Mount Olympus so she could meet with her father. After Artemis lovingly embraced Zeus with open arms, he swore on the River Styx to grant his daughter anything as a birthday present. Artemis requested to be an eternal maiden, the goddess of the wilderness, and wanted a band of eighty maiden followers who varied from mortals or nymphs, twenty of whom hunted with the goddess personally. The Elder Cyclopes forged Artemis' silver bow and arrows, while Pan provided her with hunting dogs. Her followers consisted of about eighty maiden girls who varied from mortals or nymphs.

Capture of the Golden Deers

Needing wild animals to pull her chariot, Artemis and her Hunters decided to capture a herd of five golden deer. Britomartis was her most skilled trapper, using a set snares and concealed nets. The Hunters made noise to scare off the regular deer, while four of the five golden ones charged straight into the traps and were harnessed for Artemis' chariot. The fifth and smartest golden deer escaped, later becoming known as the Ceryneian Hind. She was given Artemis' blessing and protection from other hunters.

Calydonian Boar Hunt

When King Oineus of Calydon forgot to honor Artemis at harvest time, the enraged goddess summoned a monstrous boar which she unleashed upon the fields of Calydon, killing many animals and people in the process. Oineus consulted his son Meleager, who suggested launching a great hunt to appease Artemis. All the best hunters in Greece were summoned to participate in the Kalydonian Boar Hunt, but Artemis sabotaged them.

Mopsos, the strongest spear-thrower in Greece, tried killing the monster by launching his spear at it, but Artemis made it bounce harmlessly off the boar. Another hunter named Ankaios charged at it with a double-bladed ax, but died when the boar rammed his tusk straight into Ankaios' crotch. It was Prince Meleager who finally managed to kill the monster with help from the heroine Atalanta, who paralyzed the boar, but it wasn't enough to please Artemis.

She made the other hunters envious and a full-scale civil war erupted when fighting broke out over who really deserved credit for killing the Calydonian Boar.

Punishing Niobe

When Queen Niobe of Thebes insulted Leto by saying her own children were more numerous and better overall, an enraged Artemis shot arrows at Niobe's seven daughters, while her brother Apollo shot arrows at Niobe's seven sons. In an act of mercy, the gods only left alive to the Queen's youngest daughter and turned Niobe into stone.

Punishing Actaeon

I'm the hunter. I'm always a hunter. And you are a victim. No man who has seen me naked has a right to live.
Artemis to Actaeon

One night, a prince named Actaeon hunted with his dogs until he stumbled upon Artemis and her Hunters bathing. At the sight of the naked goddess, he immediately fell in love with Artemis and revealed his presence to her. He declared his desire to marry her, though this incited her rage when Actaeon said "[he] must have [her]". As punishment, Artemis transformed Actaeon into a deer and had him killed by his own hunting dogs when she stirred them from sleep.

Encounter with Sipriotes

Sipriotes was an unfortunate boy who spotted Artemis bathing. Unlike Actaeon, Sipriotes fell to his knees and begged Artemis for mercy. Having gazed upon her naked form, she would have killed Sipriotes, but she decided to give him the option of becoming female to live due to her position as the protector of young children. Left with no other choice, Sipriotes was changed into a girl by Artemis and joined the Hunters.

Seduction of Callisto

Artemis' lieutenant and best friend was Callisto, a beautiful nymph who caught her father's attention. Zeus appeared to Callisto in his daughter's form and tried seduce her, but a confused Callisto rejected his advances. He decided to reveal his true self and had his way with her, fathering a child in the process.

Many months later, after a long hunt, Artemis and the Hunters decide to go swimming. When Callisto was reluctant to join them, Artemis discovered the pregnancy and demanded to know who took her maidenhood. When Callisto told her it was Zeus disguised as Artemis herself, the goddess was unable to do much because of her father's power. Declaring that she would have allowed Callisto to go peacefully and settle into a new life, a saddened Artemis followed her rules and transformed the sobbing girl into a bear, telling her former best friend to leave or face death.

Callisto eventually gave birth to a human son by the name of Arkas, but was later killed by hunters. Upon death, Zeus, who possibly felt guilty for his actions, honored Callisto in the stars by making her the constellation Ursa Major.

Death of Orion

Following the incident with Callisto, Artemis befriended the giant Orion, former royal hunter of the King of Chios. After he had his sight restored by Hephaestus with mechanical eyes, Orion settled on Delos, where Artemis allowed him to join her Hunters as the first ever male due to his impressive hunting abilities and archery. He respected all the Hunters and gave them their space when they were bathing.

However, Apollo drove Orion crazy for being close to his sister, fearing she would break her vows of maidenhood. One day, the giant got carried away with hunting so much that he began killing harmless animals, declaring that "[he] will kill all the animals in the world". This didn't sit well with the Hunters' way of life, nor with the Earth Mother Gaia.

His claims stirred the latter from slumber, sending a massive scorpion that killed Orion with its poisonous stinger. Artemis found his body shortly thereafter. Saddened by the death of yet another friend, she made Orion into a constellation with a scorpion to immortalize his story.

Befriending Hippolytus

Hippolytus was a charming, handsome prince and legacy who had no interest in romance whatsoever. His passion for hunting made Artemis accept him into the Hunt, though her followers were rather hesitant at the thought of having an attractive male among their ranks.

However, Hippolytus never tried anything romantic with the Hunters. His belief that romantic love and sexuality as not only beneath men but also ridiculous and shameful, which greatly enraged the love goddess Aphrodite, who manipulated his step-mother Phaedra into falling in love with him. When he denied her advances, she hanged herself and made a note to her husband Theseus that she was raped by Hippolytus and was too ashamed to continue living. Furious, the king of Athens not only banished his son, but also called upon one of the three blessings of his father Poseidon, which resulted in his death.

Upon hearing of her friend's death, a devastated Artemis promptly rushed to Hippolytus' tomb and carried his deceased body to her nephew Asclepius, the best physician in all of Greece. She requested that Asclepius revive him from the dead, which he did with the Physician's Cure. However, this had immediate repercussions: Aphrodite complained to Zeus about Hippolytus' revival along with Hades, as it could possibly cause chaos in both the mortal world and the Underworld.

Zeus appeased his aunt and brother by personally striking down Asclepius with a thunderbolt, but Apollo was angered and devastated by the death of his favorite son and killed one of the younger Cyclopes who forged Zeus' thunderbolts in retaliation. To prevent a feud, Asclepius was resurrected and made into a god, but Hades forbid him from ever resurrecting the dead again. Fortunately, Artemis protected Hippolytus and had him sent off to Italy, where he lived to an old age as a priest to one of her sacred shrines.

Myths and Legends

Her name is invoked by hunters seeking prey and by midwives during childbirth. Sacrifices are made in her name before a new military campaign. Adolescent girls are sent to her shrine to serve for one year. Beautiful, deadly, and chaste, Artemis is a focused woman and a fearsome warrior.

Around 550 BC, a temple was built in honor of Artemis in the city of Ephesus which is located in present day Turkey. The temple had a total of 127 columns and was built entirely of marble. Unfortunately, the temple was burned to the ground in 356 BC then restored to be only destroyed again in 262 CE. It is said that the temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

As the Roman Goddess Diana

Her counterpart is the Greek goddess Artemis. Much like her Greek counterpart, she was also a virgin goddess and and was seen as the goddess of modesty for young girls. Interestingly, while Diana was a symbol of purity, she was also prayed to by women who wanted to conceive and by mothers who wanted an easy childbirth.

It is believed that Diana was originally a local woodland deity, invoked by women to aid in conception and in childbirth, and that her cult originated in Aricia. One of her most famous places of worship was the grove of Diana Nemorensis (“Diana of the Wood”) which was located on the shores of Lake Nemi, in Aricia; there Diana was associated with Egeria, a water-nymph who served as the goddess' midwife, and the hero Virbius, said to be the first priest of Diana’s Arician cult, called the Rex Nemorensis (“King of the Wood”).

In Rome, Diana had her own temple on the Aventine Hill which, erected around 540 BC, was based on the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; Roman tradition holds that it was originally dedicated on August 13 by the fifth king of Rome, Servius Tullius, and its location on the Aventine, situated just outside the pomerium, was compliant with the tradition that Diana was a deity common to all Latins, not exclusively of the Romans.

Diana was also considered the protector of the lower classes, especially slaves; slaves could receive asylum in her temples, a custom that was seen in Ephesus, and her chief festival, the Nemoralia, held every year on August 13, saw slaves be free from their duties.

Diana is revered in modern Neopagan religions including Roman Neopaganism, Stregheria, and Wiccan. From the medieval to the modern period, as folklore attached to her developed and was eventually adapted into neopagan religions, the mythology surrounding Diana grew to include a consort (Lucifer) and daughter (Aradia), figures sometimes recognized by modern traditions. In the ancient, medieval, and modern periods, Diana has been considered a triple deity, merged with a goddess of the moon (Luna/Selene) and the underworld (usually Hecate).

When worship of Apollo was first introduced to Rome, Diana became conflated with Apollo's Greek sister Artemis as in the earlier Greek myths, and as such she became identified as the daughter of Apollo's parents Latona and Jupiter.

Diana has become a key deity in the Wiccan religion, being one of the principal deities in one of it's prayers, alongside Isis, Astarte, Hecate, Demeter, Kali and Ishtar.

Quotes

Your sister has always been hot-headed. She'll come around.
Leto to Apollo.
I will not have them punished, I will have them rewarded. If we destroy heroes who do us a great favor, then we are no better than the Titans. If this is Olympian justice, I will have none of it.
"Artemis? Isn't she the goddess who hated men?" He considered. "I think of her as the goddess who tempted men by bathing outdoors, and turned them into animal life if they succumbed to the lure of bare flesh."
You will pay for that!
Artemis to Sonic.exe.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Artemis is one of the three Great Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood, along with Hestia and Athena.
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • She has a collection of furs belonging to many creatures, some of which may be extinct, that were hanging in her tent and temple.
  • Artemis share jurisdiction over childbirth and midwifery with her half-sister Eileithyia.
  • Though she is said to be the protector of young women, Artemis is said to have been appeased of crimes by the sacrifice of young women, such as Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia.
    • However, in actuality, Artemis took Iphigenia from the pyre seconds before it was lit without Agamemnon or his men being aware. She is current being one of her immortal huntresses.
    • Artemis could have only pretended to want young women sacrificed while secretly rescuing them, not just from the pyres but from whatever society they lived in.
  • A minor planet, (105) Artemis, a lunar crater, the Artemis Chasma and the Artemis Corona (both on Venus) have all been named after her.
  • NASA announced that their mission to the moon in 2024 would be named after Artemis.
  • According to one source, Artemis was born a day before Apollo and then served as a guardian to him, which provided a context for her desire to protect and nurture.
  • Artemis' name is often invoked by witches in tandem with Selene and Hecate.
    • The three of them represent the three faces of the moon: Artemis - New Moon, Selene - Full Moon, and Hecate - Old Moon.
  • In Christian belief, Artemis became the demon of witchcraft because she shared, as goddess of wilderness and transitions, traits with the goddess Hecate; as such, she is still worshipped among contemporary Wiccas and neopagans.
  • She is the current target of Sonic.exe, a target that is far superior to him.
  • Artemis' only brother is also the only greek god of archery other than her, that being Apollo.
    • Apollo also contrasts with Artemis, as he is the god of the sun but she is the goddess of the moon.
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