(goddess of hunt, moon, children)
Roman Name: Diana
Parents: Zeus and Leto
Twin Brother: Apollo
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo. The story was told that Leto, while pregnant with her twins, was continually on the run from Hera. She could not find any city that would take her in, because they feared the wrath of Hera. Finally, she was allowed to stay with her sister on one of the Greek islands. There Leto gave birth first to Artemis, who after getting out of the womb, assisted in the delivery of her twin Apollo. From this event Artemis became known as the goddess of childbirth.
Artemis is pictured with a bow and arrows and often in the woods. In the Trojan War, recounted by Homer in the Illiad, Artemis was on the side of the Trojans.
Artemis was not a goddess to be trifled with. Once the queen of Niobe, bragged she was better than Leto because she had seven sons and seven daughters, where Leto only had two. Both Apollo and Artemis took offense to this, and Apollo killed all the sons while Artemis killed all the daughters. Another time a hunter came upon Artemis while she was bathing in a pond. So angered in having been seen unclothed, she turned the hunter into a deer and allowed his dogs to rip him to pieces.
Artemis was not only the goddess of the hunt, but also the protector of wild animals. Though the two do not seem to mesh, in the minds of the Greeks they do. When she hunted, her kills were quick and painless. By regulating the population of wild animals, she kept them from starvation and plagues that would strike large, overpopulated animal herds.
Later, Artemis is sometimes replaced by Dionysus in the list of the twelve Olympians.
The Hunt of Diana by Camassei, Andrea Galleria Nazionale D'Arte Antica, Rome
Major Gods and Goddesses
Introduction | Creation Story | Olympians VS. Titans | Creation of Man |
Revolt of Giants | Abduction of Persephone | The Underworld
Visitors to Underworld | Amzon Warriors | Ares vs. Athena | Daedalus and Icarus
Echo and Narcissus | Judgement of Paris | Perseus and Andromeda | Trojan War