The goddess of the hunt is a figure from Greek mythology, known as Artemis. She was one of the twelve Olympian gods and goddesses, and was primarily associated with hunting, wild animals, and wilderness.
Artemis was often depicted as a young woman with a bow and arrow, and was known for her skill in hunting and her fierce independence. She was also associated with childbirth and virginity, and was often worshipped as a protector of young women.
In addition to her role as goddess of the hunt, Artemis was also associated with the moon, and was often depicted with a crescent moon on her forehead. She was a popular subject in ancient Greek art, and her image was often used to symbolize the power and independence of women.
Overall, Artemis was a complex and multifaceted figure in Greek mythology, revered for her strength, independence, and connection to the natural world.
Artemis was the goddess of chastity, hunting, and the moon, often depicted with her trusty bow and arrow and a short tunic to aid in running through the woods. Her maidenly virtue—for she swore never to marry—was presented in counterpoint to the passionate and fiery Aphrodite.
Artemis is Athena’s half-sister, daughter of Zeus and Leto (herself a daughter of Titans). Artemis is an unusual deity in that she shares the Olympian dais with her twin brother, Apollo, god of the sun, music, and poetry.
Some stories have her as the slightly older twin, who then aided her mother in childbirth and so became the protector and patron of women in labor. An ancient Greek poem by Callimachus tells of a young Artemis making wishes, including having many names by which she will be set apart from her brother. This is certainly one wish that came true. In addition to Artemis, she was also referred to as Cynthia, Luna, and Phoebe—and by her Roman name, Diana.
Artemis and Chastity
The GREEK GODDESS of hunting was a known virgin who protected her chastity at all costs. For this reason, she captured the attention of gods and men across the land. She had relationships with others, but it wasn’t until Orion came along that she reportedly fell in love.
However, the details of that relationship are scarce. Some accounts say that Orion was the only man that Artemis loved. However, others say that he was nothing more than a boastful hunter who got punished by the gods.
Orion’s fate is similar to that of other boastful figures. According to the myth, Artemis’ hunting companion longed to kill every animal on earth. Gaia, the goddess of the Earth, sent a giant scorpion to kill him. Upon his death, Artemis sent him to the stars and created the Orion constellation.
20+ Facts about Artemis
- Artemis was daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo, the Greek god of archery, dance, and truth.
- According to one source, Artemis was born a day before Apollo. She then served as a guardian to him, which provided a context for her desire to protect and nurture.
- Artemis served many additional roles. She was also the goddess of forests, hills, wild animals, childbirth, virginity, and the moon.
- Artemis is one of the 12 Olympian gods.
- During the Classical period in Athens, Artemis was sometimes referred to as “Hekate.”
- The equivalent of Artemis in Roman mythology is DIANA.
- She was primarily a virgin huntress, goddess of wildlife and patroness of hunters.
- Artemis is most commonly known as the goddess of hunting.
- The bear was sacred to her.
- She guarded her virginity carefully. Actaeon and Orion tried to dishonor 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.
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
- 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.
- Artemis was worshipped widely in Greece but only as a secondary deity.
- A temple built in her honor became one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.”
- At least two festivals were celebrated in her honor of Artemis: Brauronia and the festival of Artemis Orthia.
- Artemis was called “the mistress of animals” by Homer.
- Artemis spent most of her time roaming the forests with her nymphs. She was described as both hunting animals and protecting them.
- 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.
- She is the protector of chastity and a nurturer of the young.
- The goddess was highly favored among the rural populace of Ancient Greece.
- In Norse mythology, Artemis’ counterpart is Ullr. In Egyptian mythology, the god of the hunt was Horus. For Celtic mythology, the hunting god was Cernunnos. In Inuit mythology, the hunting god is Nujalik.