Who Is Artemis?


Quick Answer

A figure from Greek mythology, Artemis was commonly regarded as the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, virginity and childbirth. There were cults devoted to Artemis in Delos, Attica, Mounikhia and Sparta, and in particular, the Spartans would make a sacrifice to her before starting military campaigns. Festivals in her honor included Elaphebolia, Brauronia and Kharisteria.

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Full Answer

Greek mythology uniformly states that Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo, though sources conflict on the story of her birth. The stories tend to have Leto giving birth to the twins in secret, as Zeus's wife, Hera, was displeased at his infidelity. There are no surviving stories relating her full childhood. However, a poem by Callimachus describes her at a young age, asking Zeus to keep her always a virgin and give her a bow, arrows and a knee-length tunic for hunting.

Artemis has commonly been depicted with a golden bow and arrows, and a gold chariot pulled by four golden deer. The deer was the only animal that Artemis held sacred, though she kept a pack of hunting dogs, and she once brought a bear to Athens under her protection.

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