Artemis

Artemis was Leto’s maidenly and wild daughter, Zeus’ untamed offspring and Apollo’s twin sister. She was the queen of mountains and woods, goddess of hunting, protectress of birth and mistress of the beasts. As a “Nykterophoitos” (wanderer of the night) and torch-bearer goddess, she would rush, in the night, onto the highest unbeaten mountain peaks along with the wind.
Her and her brother’s birth was the cause of the appearance of Delos Island in the Aegean. A sacred land, with a predetermined position in the Greek Mythology, where the two deities of Light were born: Apollo, god of the day-light and Artemis, goddess of the night-light. Their birth land, before becoming “Delos” (visible), was a floating, wandering rock, called “Ortygia” or “Adelos” (invisible). When pregnant Leto was in search of a land in order to give birth, away from Hera’s wrath, Zeus asked his brother Poseidon to help in finding a place somewhere in the sea. Poseidon then, took the invisible, floating rock “Adelos”, anchored it with four huge diamond chains and named it “Delos”. Leto, after promising Delos eternal light and prosperity, comes to the sacred lake, not far from the foot of Kythnos Mountain. She gives birth to Artemis first, all alone, since Hera had forbidden midwife-goddess Eileithyia to be present. Nine days later, with the help of the divine new-born Artemis, she gave birth to Apollo. Leto kept her promise: since that moment, Delos has been a sacred island, bathed by Apollo’s Light.
Artemis was a very sui generis goddess. From birth, she acts like midwife, becoming this way, the protectress of birth. From childhood, being always aware of her desires, she takes firm and rigid decisions. Zeus admired her persistence and her ingenuity and did all her favors. The first favor Artemis asked, as a gift, was eternal purity and virginity. She was active, tough and restless, conscious, mature and determined and she could become ruthless, without forgiveness, against the violator of her severe rules. She was the “Potnia Theron” (mistress of the beasts) and the “Agrotera” (huntress) of Homer, with a universal sovereignty on nature: tamed and wild animals, fish and birds, were all under her protection. Being the “Goddess of the Selene” (moon), according to the Orphic hymn, she was associated with the Moon and Hekate, as well. Hekate, the “Trimorphic” great goddess, is present in all three worlds (universal). But when she acquires a specific form, then the professed part of hers becomes Artemis. On the other hand, Selene (Moon) expresses the condensed ideas of the goddess, like the Sun does of Apollo. “Selene” derives from “selas”, the light which accompanies the Night and Artemis was “nykterophoitos”-night wanderer. The two goddesses are connected with a deep relation, being though different from each other. They both appear in representations, holding lit torches. Artemis incorporated many old prehistoric deities, like Vritomartys, Diktynna, Kallisto and Laphria.
Her various and diverse symbols were animals, plants and weapons. The basic ones were the arrow, the crescent and the deer.

1. Temple of Artemis in the sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidauros (Peloponnese)
2. Sanctuary of Artemis “Aulideia” in Aulis (Boeotia)
3. Sanctuary of Artemis “Orthia” in Sparta (Peloponnese)
4. Temple of Artemis at Gortsouli of Mantineia (Peloponnese)
5. Sanctuary of Artemis on Ithome Hill (Peloponnese)
6. Sanctuary of Artemis “Laphria” at Kalydona (Aetoloakarnania)
7. Temple of Artemis of Ayioi Theodoroi, Corfu
8. Sanctuary of Artemis at Aulon of Myrina, Lemnos
9. Temple of Artemis “Brauroneia” at Brauron (Attica)
10. Sanctuary of Artemis “Agrotera” at Mets (Athens)
11. Sanctuary of Artemis “Tauropolos” at Loutsa (Attica)
12. Sanctuary of Artemis “Proseoa” in Euboea Island
13. Temple of Artemis “Orthasia” at Bassae (Peloponnese)
14. Sanctuary of Artemis “Hemera” of Lousoi in Achaia (Peloponnese)

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