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Artemis


Artemis is the goddess of the moon and the hunt, and carries a silver bow with arrows.

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Apollo and Artemis were the twin children of Zeus and the nymph Leto, but Artemis was the apple of Zeus’ eye. Artemis and Apollo did not have an easy beginning, however. Hera, jealous at Zeus for cheating on her yet again, sent a giant Python to chase Leto during her pregnancy so that she would never have a moment of rest. Zeus saw what Hera was doing and sent Leto on a gust of the south wind to the island of Delos. The Python began to swim after her, but right before it reached the island, Zeus unanchored the island and sent it away from the Python with the wind. This is where Leto was finally able to give birth to her children.

For Artemis’ third birthday, Zeus gave her a silver bow and arrows, wood nymphs, and hounds to hunt with. He also gave her the gift of chastity, which was part of her wish. She became known as a fierce huntress, and she was also very protective of her nymphs. She was another symbol of virginity to the Greeks because of her scorn for any man who attempted to seduce her. In fact, Artemis was a lot like Daphne, who had taken a similar vow of chastity when Eros hit Apollo with his golden arrow and caused Apollo to fall in love with her. Eros hit Daphne with a lead arrow, filling her with absolute disdain for Apollo, so she did not return his affections. Daphne’s father Peneus turned her into a laurel tree to help her escape from Apollo’s pursuit, but he vowed to love her forever anyways. There is one story of a romance blossoming between Artemis and her hunting partner Orion, who may have been accidentally killed by Artemis or Apollo, but that version of the story changes several times throughout Greek folklore.

Artemis Quick Reference

Parents

Zeus and Leto


Power / Domain

  • Moon
  • Hunt
  • Maidens

Symbols

  • moon
  • silver bow and arrows
  • deer or stag

Notable Myths

  • Birth on Delos
  • Death of Orion
  • Calydonian Boar

Be sure to look at our teacher guide on the 12 Olympian Gods!

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