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Goddess Artemis

Goddess Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto. After Zeus had laid with Leto, Hera (Zeus's wife) was green with envy and sent a snake after Leto to harass her and prevent her from finding a place to deliver the babies.

Leto frantically searched for a hiding place but no one would welcome her as all feared angering Hera. She finally found refuge in Ortygia , the island of her sister Asteria, where she gave birth to Artemis.

Immediately after her own birth, the newborn Goddess Artemis helped her mother through nine days of labor until her brother Apollo was delivered.

Virgin Goddess of Hunt

Godess Artemis grew to become the virgin goddess of hunt, of wild animals, and of childbirth (due to her involvement in Apollo's birth). When she was three, Zeus asked Artemis what gifts when wanted. Among many others, she named:

  • A bow and arrows
  • All the world's mountains (as her home and playground)
  • Just one city (she wanted to live in the mountains)
  • Eternal virginity

Zeus gladly gave her all she wanted and more. He ordered the Cyclopes to forge a silver bow and fill a quiver of arrows for her. And he presented her with 30 cities and named her as the guardian of the world's roads and harbors.

Artemis, constantly, attended by nymphs, could often be found in the mountains. Though she was the guardians of wild animals, Artemis enjoyed hunting. Orion , a great hunter, joined both Artemis and her mother on many of their hunts.

Like most Olympians, goddess Artemis reacted strongly whenever she did not receive the honors due to her as a goddess. When King Oeneus of Calydon offended Artemis by fogetting to dedicate the first fruits of the harvest to her one season, she sent a monstrous boar to ravage and terrorize the kingdom. To eradicate the beast, Oeneus was forced to call on some of the greatest heros to participate in the hunt.

The biggest penalty paid for offending the goddess was that of King Agamemnon of Mycenae. He boasted his hunting prowess was greater than that of goddess Artemis. On the eve of the Trojan war, Artemis trapped the Greek fleet with ill winds. To pacify her, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia . Though according to some accounts, the goddess showed mercy and subsituted a deer on the altar.



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