Custom Search
ARTEMIS GODDESS
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Latin Name
Αρτεμις Artemis Artemis Diana
OTHER ARTEMIS PAGES
Artemis Intro, Index & Gallery
Artemis Myths 1, Part 2
Artemis Wrath 1, Part 2, Part 3
Artemis Favour
Artemis Estate & Attributes
Artemis Attendants
Artemis Cult 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Artemis Titles & Epithets
Artemis Summary

ARTEMIS was the great Olympian goddess of hunting, wild animals, children and birth. This page describes her divine roles and privileges including:--
1. Artemis Goddess of Wilderness, Hunting & Animals
2. Artemis Goddess of Birth, Protectress of Children
3. Artemis Goddess of Maiden Dance & Song
4. Artemis Goddess of Sudden Death & Disease
5. Identification with Selene, Hekate & Britomartis
6. Identifications with Foreign Goddesses

The information here is best read in conjunction with the Cult of Artemis and Titles & Epithets pages.


GODDESS OF WILDERNESS, ANIMALS & HUNTING

I) GODDESS OF THE WILDS

Homer, Iliad 21. 470 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Artemis of the wilderness (agrotera), lady of wild beasts (potnia theron)."

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she [Artemis] draws her golden bow . . . The tops of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes awesomely with the outcry of beasts."

Aeschylus, Fragment 188 (from Orion, Etymologicum 26. 5) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Mistress maiden (despoina nymphê) [i.e. Artemis], ruler of the stormy mountains."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 18 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Artemis as a child asks for privileges from her father Zeus:] ‘And give to me all mountains . . . on the mountains will I dwell.’"

Ovid, Fasti 4. 751 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"I entered a forbidden wood . . . forgive my offence . . . Keep from our sight the Dryades and Diana's [Artemis'] bath and Faunus [Pan] lying in the fields at noon."

Seneca, Hercules Furens 406 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"O [Artemis] queen of the groves (regina nemorum), thou who in solitude lovest thy mountain-haunts, and who upon the solitary mountains art alone held holy."

II) GODDESS OF WILD BEASTS & HUNTING

Artemis was the goddess of wild beasts and the hunt. Also, besides being the goddess protector of human young, she was also regarded as the protector of young animals.

Homer, Iliad 21. 470 & 483 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Artemis of the wilderness (agrotera), lady of wild beasts (potnia theron) . . . Zeus has made you [Artemis] a lion among women, and given you leave to kill any at your pleasure . . . you hunt down the ravening beasts in the mountains and deer of the wilds."

Homer, Iliad 5. 51 ff :
"Skamandrios, the fine huntsman of beasts [was killed by Menelaus]. Artemis herself had taught him to strike down every wild thing that grows in the mountain forest. Yet Artemis of the showering arrows (iokheaira) could not now help him, no, nor the long spearcasts in which he had been pre-eminent [for hunting-skill was of no use on the battlefield]."

Homer, Odyssey 6. 102 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Far-shooting (iokheaira) Artemis ranges the mountainside - on lofty Taygetos, it may be, or it may be on Erymanthos - taking her pleasure among the boars and the running deer; Nymphai of the countryside (agronomoi), daughters of Zeus who holds the aigis, are all around her and share her pastime."

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she [Artemis] draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts. The tops of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes awesomely with the outcry of beasts: earth quakes and the sea also where fishes shoal. But the goddess with a bold heart turns every way destroying the race of wild beasts: and when she is satisfied and has cheered her heart, then the huntress (theroskopos) who delights in arrows (iokheaira) slackens her supple bow."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 16 ff :
"Artemis with shafts of gold (khryselakatos) loves archery and the slaying of wild beasts in the mountains."

Pindar, Dithyrambs Heracles the Bold (trans. Sandys) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"The lone huntress Artemis, who . . . hath yoked the brood of savage lions for Bromios [Dionysos], who is enchanted even by the dancing herds of wild beasts."

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 140 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"O Lovely One [Artemis], you are so gracious to the tender whelps of fierce lions, and take delight in the suckling young of every wild creature that roams the field."

Aristophanes, Frogs 1358 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"O Artemis, thou maid divine, Diktynna (of the Nets), huntress, fair to see, O bring that keen-nosed pack of thine, and hunt through all the house with me."

Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 114 ff :
"Praise Artemis too, the maiden huntress, who wanders on the mountains and through the woods."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 21 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Artemis became a practised huntress and remained a virgin."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 879 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Driving off with her fast-trotting deer over the hills . . . fawning beasts whimper in homage and tremble as she [Artemis] passes by."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 1 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Artemis] whose study is the bow and the shooting of hares and the spacious dance and sport upon the mountains . . .
[Artemis as a child asks for privileges from her father Zeus:] ‘Give me arrows and a bow . . . that I may slay wild beasts . . . and give me for handmaidens twenty nymphai . . . who shall tend well my buskins, and, when I shoot no more at lynx or stag, shall tend my swift hounds.’"

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 116 ff :
"And how often goddess [Artemis], didst thou [first] make trial of thy silver bow? First at an elm, and next at an oak didst thou shoot, and third again at a wild beast."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 905 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"The Child of Zeus, the tireless Huntress Artemis sleeping, what time her feet forwearied are with following lions with her flying shafts over the hills far-stretching."

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 21 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Polyphonte . . . went on heat and coupled with a bear. Artemis seeing her was utterly disgusted and turned all beasts against her."

Orphic Hymn 36 to Artemis (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Artemis] fierce huntress, glorying in the sylvan war: swift in the course, in dreadful arrows skilled, wandering by night, rejoicing in the field: of manly form, erect, of bounteous mind . . . immortal, earthly, bane of monsters fell, 'tis thine, blest maid, on woody mounts to dwell: foe of the stag, whom woods and dogs delight, in endless youth you flourish fair and bright . . . give earth a store of beauteous fruits to bear."

Strabo, Geography 5. 1. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Among the Henetoi [of northern Italia] . . . in the sacred precincts [of Artemis] the wild animals become tame, and deer herd with wolves, and they allow the people to approach and caress them, and any that are pursued by dogs are no longer pursued when they have taken refuge here."

Strabo, Geography 14. 1. 29 :
"After Kolophon [in Asia Minor] one comes to the mountain Korakios and to an isle sacred to Artemis, whither deer, it has been believed, swim across and give birth to their young."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 22. 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Eleans, I think, called Artemis Elaphiaia from the hunting of the deer (elaphos)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 7 :
"Saron [of Troizenos, Argolis] was very fond of hunting. As he was chasing a doe, it so chanced that it dashed into the sea and he dashed in alter it. The doe swam further and further from the shore, and Saron kept close to his prey, until his ardor brought him to the open ocean. Here his strength failed, and he was drowned in the waves. The body was cast ashore at the grove of Artemis by the Phoibaian lagoon."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 4 :
"Near the theater [at Troizenos, Argolis] a temple of Artemis Lykeie (Wolfish ) was made by Hippolytos . . . [after he] destroyed wolves that were ravaging the land of Troizenos."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 41. 3 :
"Alkathoos made it [a temple of Artemis the Huntress] after killing the Lion called Kithaironian."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 19. 5 :
"[Depicted on the chest of Kypelos at Olympia:] Artemis has wings on her shoulders ... in her right hand she grips a leopard, in her left a lion." [N.B. This was a depiction of Artemis as the Potnia Theron or Queen of the Beasts. A similar image is found on the black-figure Francois Vase from the C6th B.C.]

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 18. 8 :
"The festival [of Artemis at Patrai] begins with a most splendid procession in honor of Artemis, and the maiden officiating as priestess rides last in the procession upon a car yoked to deer . . . the people throw alive upon the altar edible birds and every kind of victim as well; there are wild boars, deer and gazelles; some bring wolf-cubs or bear-cubs, others the full-grown beasts. They also place upon the altar fruit of cultivated trees. Next they set fire to the wood. At this point I have seen some of the beasts, including a bear, forcing their way outside at the first rush of the flames, some of them actually escaping by their strength. But those who threw them in drag them back again to the pyre. It is not remembered that anybody has ever been wounded by the beasts."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 28 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of a painting depicting hunters:] Do not rush past us, ye hunters, nor urge on your steeds till we can track down what your purpose is and what the game is you are hunting. For you claim to be pursuing a fierce wild boar . . . Mules and a muleteer bring their luggage, snares and nets and boar-spears and javelins and lances with toothed blades; masters of hounds accompany the expedition and trackers and all breeds of dogs . . . And the hunters as they advance will hymn Artemis Agrotera (Goddess of the Hunt); for yonder is a temple to her, and a statue worn smooth with age, and heads of boars and bears; and wild animals sacred to her graze there, fawns and wolves and hares, all tame and without fear of man. After a prayer the hunters continue the hunt."

Philostratus the Younger, Imagines 3 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting describing the feast of a group of hunters:] As to the other wing of the company, the man next to the central figure, a cup half full in one hand and swinging his right hand above his head, seems to me to be singing the praises of Artemis Agrotera (of the Hunt)."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 535 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"She roamed across the hills, through woods and brambly boulders, with her dress knee-high like Diana's [Artemis'], urging on the hounds, chasing the quarry when the quarry's safe - does and low-leaping hares and antlered deer."

Ovid, Heroides 4. 38 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"I am stirred to go among wild beasts. The goddess first for me now is Delia [Artemis], known above all for her curved bow; it is your choice that I myself now follow. My pleasure leads me to the wood, to drive the deer into the net, and to urge on the fleet hound over the highest ridge, or with arm shot forth to let fly the quivering spear, or to lay my body upon the grassy ground. Oft do I delight to whirl the light car in the dust of the course, twisting with the rein the mouth of the flying steed."

Ovid, Heroides 4. 87 ff :
"You practise the ways of girded Diana [Artemis] . . . and you should imitate the weapons of your Diana--if you never cease to bend it, will grow slack."

Seneca, Phaedra 54 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"[The hunter Hippolytos prays to Artemis:] ‘And do thou be with thy follower, O manlike goddess [Artemis], for whose sovereignty earth's secret places are reserved, whose darts with unerring aim seek out the prey which drinks the cool Araxes or sports on Ister’s frozen streams. Thy hand aims at Gaetulian lions, thine at Cretan deer; and now with lighter stroke dost thou pierce swift-fleeing does. The striped tigers face thee, but the shaggy-backed bisons flee, and the wild ox with wide-spreading horns. All things that feed in the lonely fields, whether the Arabian knows them in his rich forests, or the needy Garamantian and the wandering Sarmatian on his desert plains, whatever the heights of the rough Pyrenees or the Hyrcanian glades conceal, all fear thy bow, Diana [Artemis]. If, his offerings paid, thy worshipper takes thy favour with him to the glades, his nets hold the tangled prey, no feet break through his snares; his game is brought in on groaning wains, his hounds have their muzzles red with blood, and all the rustic throng come home in long triumphant line. Lo, goddess, thou dost hear me: the shrill-tongued hounds have given the sign. I am summoned to the woods [to hunt].’"

Colluthus, Rape of Helen 14 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poetry C5th to 6th A.D.) :
"Leto's daughter Artemis . . . goddess of the wilds."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 198 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Staghunter Artemis, on the hills thou dost eagerly hunt with fawnkilling Dionysos."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 11. 344 ff :
"Artemis sovran of all creatures."

For MYTHS of Artemis as the goddess of wild beasts and of the hunt see:
(1) Artemis Wrath: Aktaion (hunter slain for offending the goddess)
(2) Artemis Wrath: Agamemnon (boasts he is a better hunter than Artemis)
(3) Artemis Wrath: Orion (boasts he is a better hunter)
(4) Artemis Favour: Prokris (gift of hunting spear and dog)
(5) Artemis Wrath: Oineus (sends a wild boar to ravage the fields)
(6) Artemis Favour: Britomartis (introduction of hunting nets)
(7) Artemis Attendants (Various huntress maidens and nymphai)

III) GODDESS OF FOREST FIRES

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 115 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"And where didst thou cut the pine and from what flame didst thou kindle it? It was on Mysian Olympos, and thou didst put in tit the breath of flame unquenchable, which thy Father’s bolts distil."

IV) GODDESS OF LAKES & SPRINGS

Artemis was commonly associated with lakes and springs, particularly in cult where she was frequently titled Limnaia the Lady of the Lake.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 22. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The festival of Artemis Stymphalia at Stymphalos was carelessly celebrated, and its established ritual in great part transgressed. Now a log fell into the mouth of the chasm into which the river descends, and so prevented the water from draining away, and (so it is said) the plain became a lake for a distance of four hundred stades.They also say that a hunter chased a deer, which fled and plunged into the marsh, followed by the hunter, who, in the excitement of the hunt, swam after the deer. So the chasm swallowed up both the deer and her pursuer. They are said to have been followed by the water of the river, so that by the next day the whole of the water was dried up that flooded the Stymphalian plain. Hereafter they put greater zeal into the festival in honor of Artemis."

For MYTHS of Artemis as the goddess of lakes and springs see:
(1) Artemis Favour: Arethousa (transformed into a spring)
(2) Artemis Favour: Peirene (transformed into a spring)
(3) Artemis Favour: Pholoe (transformed into a spring)
(4) and the common stories describing the wilderness bath of Artemis

V) GODDESS OF FISHING

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Artemis] draws her golden bow . . . The tops of the high mountains tremble . . . and the sea also where fishes shoal."

N.B. Artemis was also sometimes identified with Diktynna, the Lady of the Nets.

VI) GODDESS OF ROADS & HARBOURS

Artemis was also the goddess of wilderness roads and harbours. This was an extension of her role as the goddess of wilderness and fishing.

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 38 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Zeus bestows upon Artemis her divine privileges:] ‘And thou shalt be Watcher over roads and harbours.’"


K6.1 ARTEMIS
HUNTRESS
K6.5 ARTEMIS
HUNTRESS
K6.2 ARTEMIS
QUEEN OF BEASTS
K6.3 ARTEMIS
QUEEN OF BEASTS

GODDESS OF DAWN & FROST

Artemis was a dawn-goddess, the bringer of light, and crop-destroying frost. This role was later devolved to Eos (the dawn personified, a goddess developed in Homeric epic).

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 10 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[The child Artemis asks Zeus for divine privileges:] ‘But give me to be Phaesphoria (Bringer of Light).’"

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 112 ff :
"And where first did thy horned team begin to carry thee [Artemis in childhood]? To Thrakian Haimos, whence comes the hurricane of Boreas bringing evil breath of frost to cloakless men . . . Thou didst shoot [your arrows] at the city of unjust me . . . on whom thou wilt impress thy grievous wrath. On their cattle plague feeds, on their tilth feeds frost."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 188 ff :
"[Artemis], O queen, fairfaced Bringer of Light."

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 3. 84b (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"By Phosphoros (Goddess of light) . . . by Artemis."


GODDESS OF BIRTH, INFANTS & CHILDREN 

Artemis and Apollon were the protectors of children. According to Hesiod, they were assisted in this role, by the Okeanides (Clouds) and the Potamoi (Rivers). Girls being dedicated to the former, and boys to the latter.
Artemis alone was the protector of the infant child from its birth to its wheening, and similarly was the protector of infant animals.

I) GODDESS OF CHILDBIRTH

Artemis was the goddess of childbirth. She was invoked during labour along with Hera-Eileithyia, the goddess protector of women and labour. Whereas Hera-Eileithyia was the patron of mothers in childbirth, Artemis was the patron-protector of the infant. Indeed, as a baby herself, Artemis was said to have helped her mother in the delivery of her twin brother Apollon.

Scholiast on Homer's Iliad (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I Alcaeus Fragment 390) (Greek scholia B.C.) :
"Chrysippus in his Old Physics, shows that Artemis is Selene and credits it with an influence on childbirth, says that at the full moon not only do women have the easiest labour but all animals have an easy birth."

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 674 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"We pray that other guardians be always renewed, and that Artemis-Hecate watch over the childbirth of their women."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 21 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Leto] finally reached Delos and gave birth to Artemis, who thereupon [as a baby] helped her deliver Apollon. Artemis became a practised huntress and remained a virgin."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 20 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Seldom is it that Artemis goes down to the town . . . The cities of men I [Artemis] will visit only when women vexed by the sharp pang of childbirth call me to their aid - even in the hour when I was born the Moirai (Fates) ordained that I should be their helper, forasmuch as my mother suffered no pain either when she gave me birth or when she carried me win her womb, but without travail put me from her body."

Orphic Hymn 2 to Prothyraia (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Artemis Prothyraia] abour pains are thy peculiar care. In thee, when stretched upon the bed of grief, the sex, as in a mirror, view relief. Guard of the race, endued with gentle mind, to helpless youth benevolent and kind; benignant nourisher; great nature’s key belongs to no divinity but thee. Thou dwellest with all immanifest to sight, and solemn festivals are thy delight. Thine is the task to loose the virgin's zone and thou in every work art seen and known. With births you sympathise, though pleased to see the numerous offspring of fertility. When racked with labour pangs, and sore distressed the sex invoke thee, as the soul’s sure rest; for thou Eileithyia alone canst give relief to pain, which art attempts to ease, but tries in vain. Artemis Eileithyia (of Childbirth), venerable power, who bringest relief in labour’s dreadful hour; hear, Prothyraia and make the infant race thy constant care."

Orphic Hymn 36 to Artemis :
"[Artemis] over births presiding, and thyself a maid, to labour pangs imparting ready aid: dissolver of the zone, and wrinkled care [midwifes]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 30. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"In the Iliad he [Homer] represented Athena and Enyo as supreme in war, and Artemis feared in childbirth, and Aphrodite heeding the affairs of marriage."

Plato, Theaetetus 149b-d (trans. Fowler) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Sokrates: Take into consideration the whole business of the midwives . . . For you know, I suppose, that no one of them attends other women while she is still capable of conceiving and bearing but only those do so who have become too old to bear . . . They say the cause of this is Artemis, because she, a childless goddess, has had childbirth allotted to her as her special province. Now it would seem she did not allow barren women to be midwives, because human nature is too weak to acquire an art which deals with matters of which it has no experience, but she gave the office to those who on account of age were not bearing children, honoring them for their likeness to herself . . . Is it not, then, also likely and even necessary, that midwives should know better than anyone else who are pregnant and who are not? . . . And furthermore, the midwives, by means of drugs and incantations, are able to arouse the pangs of labor and, if they wish, to make them milder, and to cause those to bear who have difficulty in bearing; and they cause miscarriages if they think them desirable."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2. 27 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"Diana Omnivaga (wide-wandering) [the Roman Artemis] . . . [is so-titled] because she is counted as one of the seven planets or ‘wanderers’ (vagary). She was called Diana because she made a sort of Day (Dia) in the night-time. She is invoked to assist at the birth of children, because the period of gestation is either occasionally seven, or more usually nine, lunar revolutions, and these are called menses (months), because they cover measured (mensa) spaces."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 11. 218 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"At another time you [Egyptian Isis] are Phoebus' sister [Artemis]; by applying soothing remedies you relieve the pain of childbirth, and have brought teeming numbers to birth; and now you are worshipped in the famed shrines of Ephesus."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 848 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"A babe came quickly into the light; for even as Artemis yet spoke the word that shot out the delivery, the womb of Aura was loosened, and twin children came forth of themselves."

Suidas s.v. Genetyllides (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Genetyllis: A Daimon (spirit) . . . [they are] associated with Artemis as guardians of childbirth, and again [this is connected] with genesis."

II) GODDESS-PROTECTOR OF THE NURSING INFANT

Artemis was the goddess of protector of the nursing infant (both baby boys and girls). Whereas Hera presided over the mother's milk, Artemis was the protector of the infant itself.

Orphic Hymn 2 to Prothryaia (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Prothyraia make the infant race thy constant care."

Orphic Hymn 36 to Artemis :
"[Artemis] nurse of humankind."

III) GODDESS-PROTECTOR OF THE GIRL-CHILD

After a girl-child was wheened from its mother milk, up until her consecration into womanhood, she remained under the protection of Artemis. The boy-child, by contrast, came under the protection of Artemis' twin brother Apollon.
As the protectors of the children, Artemis was assisted by the Okeanides (Clouds), and Apollon by the Potamoi (Rivers). Girls dedicated a lock of hair to the Okeanides and boys to the local River-God, at the coming of age ceremonies celebrated in honour of Apollon and Artemis.

Homer, Odyssey 6. 151 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Odysseus to the girl Nausikaa] ‘You are most like Artemis, daughter of sovereign Zeus; you are tall as she is, lovely as she is, you have her air.’"

Homer, Odyssey 20. 71 ff :
"The winds bore off the daughters of Pandareus. The gods long before had slain their parents, and the girls were left orphans in their house. But Lady Aphrodite nurtured them with cheese and sweet honey and pleasant wine; Hera had given them beauty and wisdom beyond all other women; Artemis Hagne (virgin) made them tall, and Athene taught them the making of lovely things."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 30. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The daughters of Pandareos . . . were reared as orphans by Aphrodite and received gifts from other goddesses: from Hera wisdom and beauty of form, from Artemis high stature."


GODDESS OF MAIDENHOOD & MARRIAGE

Upon reaching maturity a girl eventually entered into marriage, passing from the protection of Artemis to the goddesses of womanhood, Aphrodite and Hera. Prior to the marriage ceremony, Artemis was propitiated by the maiden in thanks for the protection the goddess offered her during childhood.

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 1030 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"May pure Artemis look upon this band [of unwed maidens] in compassion, and may marriage never come through Kythereia's [Aphrodite] compulsion."

Plato, Cratylus 400d & 406a (trans. Fowler) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"[Plato invents philosophical etymologies for the names of the gods:]
Sokrates: Let us inquire what thought men had in giving them [the gods] their names . . . The first men who gave names [to the gods] were no ordinary persons, but high thinkers and great talkers . . . Artemis appears to get her name from her healthy (artemes) and well-ordered nature, and her love of virginity; or perhaps he who named her meant that she is learned in virtue (aretê), or possibly, too, that she hates sexual intercourse (aroton misei) of man and woman; or he who gave the goddess her name may have given it for any or all of these reasons."

Suidas s.v. Arktos e Brauroniois (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Girls playing the bear used to celebrate a festival for Artemis dressed in saffron robes; not older than 10 years nor less than 5 . . . the Athenians decreed that no virgin might be given in marriage to a man if she hadn't previously played the bear for the goddess."

Suidas s.v. Lysizonos gune :
"Virgins about to have sex dedicated their virginal lingerie to Artemis."

For MYTHS of Artemis as the goddess of childbirth and maidens see:
(1) Artemis Wrath: Admetos (maiden propititiations at marriage)
(2) Artemis Wrath: Koronis (slain in childbirth)
See also Artemis Goddess of Maiden Dances & Song (this page)


GODDESS OF MAIDEN DANCE & SONG 

Homer, Iliad 16. 181 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"He watched her with his eyes among the girls dancing in the choir for clamorous (keladeine) Artemis of the golden distaff (khryselakatos) ."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 20 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"Artemis with shafts of gold (khryselakatos) loves . . . the lyre and dancing and thrilling cries and shady woods and the cities of upright men."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 115 ff :
"[I, the maiden daughter of Otreus] was caught up from the dance of huntress Artemis of the golden arrows (khryselakatos) strong-voiced (keladeinos). There were many of us, Nymphai (girls) and marriageable (cattle-earning) maidens, playing together; and an innumerable company encircled us."

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis :
"[Artemis] goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoibos Apollon, to the rich land of Delphoi, there to order the lovely dance of the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Graces). There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children supreme among the immortals both in thought and deed."

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 190 ff :
"[On Olympos] the Mousai together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn . . . And among them sings one, not mean nor puny, but tall to look upon and enviable in mien, Artemis who delights in arrows (iokheira), sister of Apollon."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 225 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"The Nymphai (nymphs or maiden-girls) were about to hold their dances - it was the custom of all those who haunt the beautiful headland to sing the praise of Artemis by night."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 1 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Artemis] whose study is . . . the spacious dance."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 170 ff :
"The Nymphai encircle thee [Artemis] in the dance, near the springs of Aigyptian Inopos or Pitane - for Pitane too is thine - or in Limnai or where, goddess, thou camest from Skythia to dwell, in Alai . . . for the god Helios (the Sun) never passes by that beauteous dance, but stays his car to gaze upon the sight, and lights of day are lengthened [mid-summer]."

Aelian, On Animals 12. 9 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"Autokrates [comedy C5th B.C.] in his Tympanistai: ‘As sweet maidens, daughters of Lydia, sport and lightly leap and clap their hands in the temple of Artemis the Fair at Ephesos, now sinking down upon their haunches and again springing up, like the hopping wagtail.’"

Virgil, Aeneid 1. 500 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"By the banks of Eurotas or over the Cynthian slopes Diana [Artemis] foots the dance, and a thousand Oreades following weave a constellation around that arrowy one, who in grace of movement excels all goddesses."


GODDESS OF DISEASE & SUDDEN DEATH

Artemis was the goddess who brought sudden death to infants, girls and women, for she was not only the protector of girls, but also by contrast their destroyer.

Apollon, possessed the complimentary role, bringing sudden death, illness and disease to boys and men.

I) GODDESS OF DISEASE & SUDDEN DEATH

Homer, Iliad 21. 470 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Zeus has made you [Artemis] a lion among women, and given you leave to kill any at your pleasure."

Homer, Iliad 6. 205 ff :
"Artemis of the golden reigns (khrysenios) killed [Ladomeia] the daughter [of Bellerophontes] in anger."

Homer, Iliad 6. 427 ff :
"Akhilleus released her [the mother of Andromakhe] again, accepting ransom beyond count, but Artemis of the showering arrows (iokheaira) struck her down in the halls of her father."

Homer, Iliad 19. 55 ff :
"[Akhilleus to Agamemnon:] ‘I wish Artemis had killed her [Briseis] beside the ships with an arrow on that day when I destroyed Lyrnessos and took her.’"

Homer, Odyssey 11. 172 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Odysseus to the ghost of his mother Antikleia:] ‘What doom of distressful death (ker) subdued you? Was it some long-continued sickness, or did the Artemis archeress (iokheaira) visit you with her gentle shafts and slay you?’"

Homer, Odyssey 11. 324 ff :
"I [Odysseus] saw . . . lovely Ariadne [in the underworld], that daughter of subtle Minos whom Theseus bore off from Krete towards the hill of sacred Athens; yet he had no joy of her, since, before that could be, she was slain by Artemis in the isle of Dia because of the witness of Dionysos."

Homer, Odyssey 15. 410 ff :
"There is an island calld Syros, above Ortygia . . . Famine never enters this land, nor again does any dread disease come upon poor mortal there. No; when these islanders grow old, Apollon of the silver bow visits them with his gentle shafts and brings death upon them, or Artemis visits them instead."

Homer, Odyssey 15. 478 ff :
"We sailed for six days, day and night; but when Zeus brought the seventh day also, Artemis with a shaft of hers struck the woman, and sent her - like a sea-swallow diving - to tumble below into the hold."

Homer, Odyssey 18. 202 ff :
"[Penelope laments her troubles:] ‘Would that now, at this very moment, Artemis the chaste (hagne) would grant me a death as gentle! Then I need no longer fret life away with an aching heart.’"

Homer, Odyssey 20. 60 ff :
"[Penelope] when she had her fill of weeping, the queen made especial prayer to Artemis: ‘Artemis, goddess queen (potna thea), daughter of Zeus, how glad should I be if here and now you would plant an arrow in my breast and take my life away all at once - or else if a whirlwind might snatch me up, carry me on through dusky pathways and cast me down at the issuing-place of backward-flowing Okeanos . . . In self-same fashion may the Olympians cause me to vanish from the world, or lese let Artemis slay me with her arrows, that so I may pass beneath cheerless earth with Odysseus himself in my heart's vision. May I never gladden the heart of a man less noble!’"

Homer, Odyssey 5. 119 ff :
"Dhaste (hagne) Artemis of the golden throne (khrysothronos) visited him [Orion] with her gentle shafts and slew him in Ortygia."

Pindar, Pythian Ode 3 str1-ant3 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"[Artemis] smote her [Koronis] down [with her arrows of plague]: and many a neighbour, too, suffered alike and was destroyed beside her; as when on the mountain from one small spark a raging fire leaps up, and lays in ruin all the widespread forest."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 11 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Artemis . . . give ear to my prayers and ward off the evil Keres (Death-Spirits). For you, goddess, this is no small thing, but for me it is critical."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 112 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Where first did thy horned team begin to carry thee [Artemis]? To Thrakian Haimos , whence comes the hurricane of Boreas bringing evil breath of frost to cloakless men [to obtain frost for her bow - for fever chills]. And how often goddess, didst thou make trial of thy silver bow? . . . But the fourth time - not long was it ere thou didst shoot at the city of unjust me, those who to one another and those who towards strangers wrought many deeds of sin, forward men, on whom thou wilt impress thy grievous wrath. On their cattle plague feeds, on their tilth feeds frost, and the old men cut their hair in mourning over their sons, and their wives either are smitten or die in childbirth, or, if they escape, bear birds whereof none stands on upright ankle."

Strabo, Geography 14. 1. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"And Artemis has her name from the fact that she makes people Artemeas (Safe and Sound) . . . And both pestilential diseases and sudden deaths are imputed to these gods [Artemis and her brother Apollon]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 7. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The people of Aigialea [Korinthos, Corinth] were smitten by a plague. The seers bade them propitiate Apollon and Artemis, they sent seven boys and seven maidens as suppliants to the river Sythas."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 19. 1 :
"The wrath of Artemis began to destroy the inhabitants [of Patrai in Akhaia]; the earth yielded no harvest, and strange diseases occurred of an unusually fatal character. When they appealed to the oracle at Delphoi the Pythian priestess . . . [ordered] that every year a sacrifice should be made to the goddess of the fairest youth and the fairest maiden."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 16. 7 :
"[Spartans] Astrabakos and Alopekos . . . when they found the image [of Artemis Orthia] straightway became insane. Secondly, the Spartan Limnatians, the Kynosourians, and the people of Mesoa and Pitane, while sacrificing to Artemis, fell to quarreling, which led also to bloodshed; many were killed at the altar and the rest died of disease. Whereat an oracle was delivered to them, that they should stain the altar with human blood."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 35. 7 :
"They say [the people of Phokis] that whatever cattle they consecrate to Artemis grow up immune to disease."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 53. 1 :
"[After the murder of Skephros, an Arkadian friend of Artemis and Apollon:] Tegeates and Maira sacrificed to Apollon and Artemis, but afterwards a severe famine fell on the land, and an oracle of Delphoi ordered a mourning for Skephros."

Suidas s.v. Embaros eimi (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"After a female bear appeared in it [the shrine of Artemis at Mounykhia in Attika] and was done away with by the Athenians a famine ensued, and the god prophesied the means of relieving the famine: someone had to sacrifice his daughter to the goddess [to compensate her for the death of her sacred bear]."

Suidas s.v. Arktos e Brauroniois :
"A wild she-bear [sacred to Artemis] used to come to the deme of Phlauidoi [Brauron] and spend time there . . . [until some men] speared the she-bear, and because of this a pestilential sickness fell upon the Athenians. When the Athenians consulted the oracle [the god] said that there would be a release from the evils if, as blood price for the she-bear that died, they compelled their virgins to play the bear."

For MYTHS of Artemis as the bringer of death to women and children see:
(1) Artemis Wrath: Niobe (slays her children)
(2) Artemis Favour: Peirene (slays her child)
(3) Artemis Wrath: Khione (slays girl)
(4) Artemis Favour: Phylonoe (immortality may be an allusion to sudden death)
(5) Artemis Favour: Polyboia (immortality may be an allusion to sudden death)
(6) Artemis Favour: Iphigeneia (immortality may be an allusion to death)

For MYTHS of Artemis as the bringer of plague see:
(1) Artemis Wrath: the Korinthians (sends plague)
(2) Artemis Wrath: Melanippos & Komaitho (sends plague)

II) GODDESS OF RABIES IN DOGS

Aelian, On Animals 12. 22 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"In Krete there is a temple to Artemis Rhokkaia . . . The dogs there go raving mad. So when they are afflicted with this disease they hurl themselves head foremost from the promontory into the sea."

Aelian, On Animals 14. 20 :
"[Some Kretan] boys were bitten by a mad [rabies infested] dog . . . spectators urged that they should be taken to the temple of Artemis Rhokkaia and that the goddess should be implored to heal them."

For MYTHS of Artemis as the goddess of rabies see:
(1) Artemis Wrath: Aktaion (dogs driven mad)


GODDESS OF HEALING & GOOD HEALTH 

Artemis, like her brother Apollon, was regarded as a goddess of healing. It was a role that countered her position as the goddess of sudden death, illness and disease.

Homer, Iliad 5. 447 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Apollon caught [the wounded] Aineias now away from the onslaught, and set him in the sacred keep of Pergamos [in Troy] where was built his own temple. There Artemis of the showering arrows (iokheaira) and Leto within the great and secret chamber healed his wound and cared for him."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 128 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"But on whomsoever thou [Artemis] lookest smiling and gracious . . . neither do they go to the tomb, save when they carry thither the aged."

Orphic Hymn 36 to Artemis (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Artemis] send gentle peace, and health with lovely hair, and to the mountains drive disease and care."

Strabo, Geography 14. 1. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Both Milesians [at Didyma] and Delians invoke an Apollo Oulios, that is, as god of ‘health and healing,’ for the verb oulein means ‘to be healthy’ . . . And Artemis has her name from the fact that she makes people Artemeas (Safe and Sound). And both Helios (Sun) and Selene (Moon) are closely associated with these, since they are the causes of the temperature of the air. And both pestilential diseases and sudden deaths are imputed to these gods."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 35. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"They say [the people of Phokis] that whatever cattle they consecrate to Artemis grow up immune to disease and fatter than other cattle."

Aelian, On Animals 14. 20 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"[Some Kretan] boys were bitten by a mad [rabies infested] dog . . . spectators urged that they should be taken to the temple of Artemis Rhokkaia and that the goddess should be implored to heal them."


GODDESS OF RITUAL PURIFICATION

Artemis and her brother Apollon were the gods of ritual purification - the cleansing of the impure stain of manslaughter.

Arctinus of Miletus, The Aethiopis Fragment 1 (from Proclus, Chrestomathia 2) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Akhilleus [after slaying Thersites for his insults] sails to Lesbos and after sacrificing to Apollon, Artemis and Leto, is purified by Odysseus from bloodshed."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 7. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"When Apollon and Artemis had killed Python they came to Aigialea to obtain purification . . . they were turned away and came to Karmanor in Krete [instead, for the purification]."


ANCESTRAL GODDESS, PROTECTOR OF THE FATHERLAND

The ancestral gods of a state were those which were traditionally honoured before all others. Artemis was worshipped in this capacity by a number of ancient city states. In times of war these ancestral gods were called upon to come to the defence of the nation. Artemis performs this role in the Iliad as one of the defenders of Troy.
In the following passage from Aishkylos, the Theban women invoke Artemis, along with Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollon and Hera, as their ancestral gods.

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 87 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[The Theban women invoke all of their ancestral gods, including Artemis, when the hostile army of the Seven Against Thebes approaches their gates:] Ah, ah, you gods (theoi) and goddesses (theai), raise your war cry over our walls to drive away the onrushing evil! . . . You too [Artemis], maiden child of Leto (koura Latogenes), ready your bow! Ah! Ah!  I hear the rattle of chariots encircling the town. O lady (potnia) Hera! The hubs are creaking beneath the axles' load. Beloved Artemis! The air rages at the shaking of spears! . . . All-powerful divinities, you gods and goddesses who wield the power to guard the towers of our land, do not betray our city that now toils under the spear to an alien-tongued army. Hear us, hear, as is right, the prayers we maidens offer with outstretched hands."

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 448 ff :
"Mighty Polyphontes, is stationed [by the Elektran gates of Thebes, in the War of the Seven], a dependable sentinel with the good will of guardian (prostatêria) Artemis and the other gods."


GODDESS OF THE AMAZONES

Artemis was one of the patron gods of the mythical, warlike, bow-wielding Amazones. The Amazones were reputed to have founded several famous shrines of the goddess, included her cult-centre of Ephesos.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 2. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The cult of Artemis Ephesia (of Ephesos) is far more ancient still than their coming [the settlement of Ionians in Ephesos]. Pindaros, however, it seems to me, did not learn everything about the goddess, for he says that this sanctuary was founded by the Amazones during their campaign against Athens and Theseus. It is a fact that the women from the Thermodon, as they knew the sanctuary from of old, sacrificed to the Ephesian goddess both on this occasion and when they had fled from Herakles; some of them earlier still, when they had fled from Dionysos, having come to the sanctuary as suppliants."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 25. 3 :
"At Pyrrhikhos [in Lakedaimonia] the sanctuaries of the gods, that they have in the country, are of Artemis, called Astrateia, because the Amazones stayed their advance (strateia) here, and an Apollo Amazonios. Both gods are represented by wooden images, said to have been dedicated by the women from Thermodon."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 4 :
"Near the theater [at Troizenos [in Argos] a temple of Artemis Lykeie (Wolfish ) was made by Hippolytos . . . Lykeia is a surname of Artemis among the Amazones, from whom he was descended through his mother."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 31. 7 :
"All cities worship Artemis Ephesia (of Ephesos), and individuals hold her in honor above all the gods. The reason, in my view, is the renown of the Amazones, who traditionally dedicated the image, also the extreme antiquity of this sanctuary."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 223 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Seven Wonders of the World. The temple of Diana [Artemis] at Ephesus which the Amazon Otrera, wife of Mars [Ares], made."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 225 :
"Those who first built temples to the gods . . . Otrera, an Amazon, wife of Mars [Ares], first founded the temple of Diana [Artemis] at Ephesus."

For MYTHS on Artemis as the goddess of the Amazones see:
(1) Artemis Wrath: Hippo


GODDESS OF THE HYPERBOREOI 

Artemis and Apollon were the patron gods of the mythical Hyperboreoi - a race of long-lived men who dwelt in a far-northerly realm of eternal spring. The Hyperboreoi were reputed to send offerings to the holiest of the shrines of Apollon and Artemis which lay on the island of Delos.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 50. 6 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"She [Medea posing as a priestess of Artemis] declared [to King Pelias of Iolkos in Thessalia] that Artemis, riding through the air upon a chariot drawn by Drakones, had flown in the air over many parts of the inhabited earth and had chosen the realm of the most pious king in all the world for the establishment of her own worship and for honours which should be for ever and ever . . . By means of certain drugs, Medea caused shapes of Drakones to appear, which she declared had brought the goddess through the air from the Hyperboreoi to make her stay with Pelias."

For MYTHS of Artemis as the goddess of the Hyperboreoi see:
(1) Artemis Favour: Oupis, Hekaerge & Loxo


IDENTIFIED WITH SELENE THE MOON 

The identification of Selene with Artemis was a late invention, perhaps coinciding with the introduction of the Thracian goddess Bendis into Greece. Bendis was a foreign goddess presiding over the moon, magic and wild animals (for the Greeks an apparent merging of their three goddesses Selene-Hekate-Artemis).

Aeschylus, Fragment 87 Xantriae (from Galen, Commentary on Hippocrates' Epidemics) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[Women] upon whom looketh neither the sun's flashing ray nor the starry eye [i.e. the moon] of Leto's child." [N.B. Leto's child is Artemis, here identified with the moon-goddess Selene.]

Scholiast on Homer's Iliad (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I Alcaeus Fragment 390) (Greek scholia B.C.) :
"Chrysippus in his Old Physics [C3rd B.C.], shows that Artemis is Selene (the Moon) and credits it with an influence on childbirth, says that at the full moon not only do women have the easiest labour but all animals have an easy birth."

Strabo, Geography 14. 1. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Both Helios (the Sun) and Selene (the Moon) are closely associated with these [Apollon and Artemis], since they are the causes of the temperature of the air. And both pestilential diseases and sudden deaths are imputed to these gods [Apollon and Artemis]."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2. 27 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"The name Apollo is Greek; they say that he is the Sun, and Diana [Artemis] they identify with the Moon . . . the name Luna is derived from lucere ‘to shine’; for it is the same word as Lucina, and therefore in our country Juno Lucina is invoked in childbirth, as is Diana in her manifestation as Lucifera (the light-bringer) among the Greeks. She is also called Diana Omnivaga (wide-wandering), not from her hunting, but because she is counted as one of the seven planets or ‘wanderers’ (vagary). She was called Diana because she made a sort of Day (Dia) in the night-time. She is invoked to assist at the birth of children, because the period of gestation is either occasionally seven, or more usually nine, lunar revolutions, and these are called menses (months), because they cover measured (mensa) spaces."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 19 :
"Sol the Sun and Luna the Moon are deities, and the Greeks identify the former with Apollo and the latter with Diana [Artemis]."

Statius, Thebaid 10. 365 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[Statius, in the passage that follows describes Artemis as a goddess with a triple aspect Artemis-Hekate-Selene:] Cynthia, queen of the mysteries of the night, if as they say thou dost vary in threefold wise the aspect of thy godhead, and in different shape comest down into the woodland . . . The goddess stooped her horns and made bright her kindly star, and illumined the battle-field with near-approaching chariot."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 198 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Nonnus in the passage that follows describes the moon as a goddess of triple aspect Artemis-Hekate-Selene:] O daughter of Helios (the Sun), Mene (Moon) of many turnings, nurse of all! O Selene (Moon), driver of the silver car! If thou art Hekate of many names, if in the night thou doest shake thy mystic torch in brandcarrying hand, come nightwanderer . . . If thou art staghunter Artemis, if on the hills thou dost eagerly hunt with fawnkilling Dionysos, be thy brother’s helper now!"

See also Triad of Artemis-Hekate-Selene (below)
See also SELENE (the moon is commonly named "Phoebe" by the Latin poets, although Diana, i.e. Artemis, is not always meant)


IDENTIFIED WITH HEKATE 

Artemis was frequently identified with the goddess Hekate. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Artemis the playmate of Persephone perhaps becomes Hekate, the companion of Demeter in the search for her stolen daughter. Hekatos (the far-shooter) was also a common Homeric epithet applied to Artemis' brother Apollon. Depictions of the two goddesses were near identical. The attributes they had in common included a short-skirt and hunting boots, torches and a hunting dog.

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 674 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"We pray that other guardians be always renewed, and that Artemis-Hecate watch over the childbirth of their women."

Aristophanes, Frogs 1358 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"O Artemis, thou maid divine, Diktynna (of the Nets), huntress, fair to see, O bring that keen-nosed pack of thine, and hunt through all the house with me. O Hecate (Far-Shooter), with flameful brands."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 45. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Aeetes succeeded to the throne, and then, founding a temple of Artemis [usually described as a temple of Hekate, but the author equates the two] and commanding that strangers who landed there should be sacrificed to the goddess."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 11. 5 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"To the trilingual Sicilians I [Artemis] am Ortygian Proserpina [Hekate]."

See also Triad of Artemis-Hekate-Selene (below)
For MORE information on this goddess see HEKATE


TRIAD OF HEKATE, ARTEMIS & SELENE

The triad Hekate-Artemis-Selene appears in Roman-era poetry.

Statius, Thebaid 10. 365 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[Statius, in the passage that follows describes Artemis as a goddess with a triple aspect Artemis-Hekate-Selene:] Cynthia, queen of the mysteries of the night, if as they say thou dost vary in threefold wise the aspect of thy godhead, and in different shape comest down into the woodland . . . The goddess stooped her horns and made bright her kindly star, and illumined the battle-field with near-approaching chariot."

Statius, Thebaid 4. 410 ff :
"[The seer Teiresias performs necromancy in the grove of Artemis-Hekate:] There stands a wood, enduring of time, and strong and erect in age, with foliage aye unshorn nor pierced by any suns . . . Beneath is sheltered quiet, and a vague shuddering awe guards the silence, and the phantom of the banished light gleams pale and ominous. Nor do the shadows lack a divine power: Latonia's [Artemis-Hekate's] haunting presence is added to the grove; her effigies wrought in pine or cedar and wood or very tree are hidden in the hallowed gloom of the forest. Her arrows whistle unseen through the wood, her hounds bay nightly [as Hekate], when she flies from her uncle's [Haides'] threshold and resumes afresh Diana's [Artemis'] kindlier shape. Or when she is weary from her ranging on the hills, and the sun high in heaven invites sweet slumber, here doth she rest with head flung back carelessly on her quiver, while all her spears stand fixed in the earth around . . .
[Teiresias cries out summoning the ghosts forth:] ‘Haste ye all together, nor let there be fore the Shades but one fashion of return to the light; do thou, daughter of Perses [Artemis-Hekate], and the cloud-wrapt Arcadian [Hermes] with rod of power lead in separate throng the pious denizens of Elysium.’"

Seneca, Phaedra 406 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"[Phaedra prays to Artemis-Hekate-Selene:] ‘O [Artemis] queen of the groves (regina nemorum), thou who in solitude lovest thy mountain-haunts, and who upon the solitary mountains art alone held holy, change for the better these dark, ill-omened threats. O great goddess of the woods and groves, bright orb of heaven [the moon], glory of the night, by whose changing beams the universe shines clear, O three-formed Hecate, lo, thou art at hand, favouring our undertaking. Conquer the unbending soul of stern Hippolytus; may he, compliant, give ear unto our prayer. Soften his fierce heart; may he learn to love, may he feel answering flames. Ensnare his mind; grim, hostile, fierce, may he turn him back unto the fealty of love. To this end direct thy powers; so mayst thou wear a shining face [Selene the moon] and, the clouds all scattered, fare on with undimmed horns; so, when thou drivest thy car through the nightly skies, may no witcheries of Thessaly prevail to drag thee down and may no shepherd [i.e. Endymion] make boast o’er thee. Be near, goddess, in answer to our call; hear now our prayers.’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 198 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Nonnus in the passage that follows describes the moon as a goddess of triple aspect Artemis-Hekate-Selene:] O daughter of Helios (Sun), Mene (Moon) of many turnings, nurse of all! O Selene (Moon), driver of the silver car! If thou art Hekate of many names, if in the night thou doest shake thy mystic torch in brandcarrying hand, come nightwanderer . . . If thou art staghunter Artemis, if on the hills thou dost eagerly hunt with fawnkilling Dionysos, be thy brother’s helper now!."


IDENTIFIED WITH DESPOINE 

Artemis was identified with the goddess Despoine (Mistress) who was probably an Arkadian form of Hekate, the Khthonian Artemis of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Aeschylus, Fragment 188 (from Orion, Etymologicum 26. 5) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Mistress maiden (despoina nymphê), ruler of the stormy mountains." [N.B. Here Despoina (Mistress) is used as an epithet for the goddess Artemis.]

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 23. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Kaphyatans [Kaphye, Arkadia] . . . have also a mountain called Knakalos, where every year they celebrate mysteries in honor of their Artemis."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 1 :
"From Akakesion [in Arkadia] it is four stades to the sanctuary of the Mistress [Despoine]. First in this place is a temple of Artemis Hegemone (Leader), with a bronze image, holding torches . . . From this place there is an entrance into the sacred enclosure of Despoine (the Mistress) . . . [inside the enclosure] by the side of [the statue of] Demeter stands [a statue of] Artemis wrapped in the skin of a deer, and carrying a quiver on her shoulders, while in one hand she holds a torch, in the other two serpents; by her side a bitch, of a breed suitable for hunting, is lying down."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 6 :
"That Artemis [Despoine, identified with Artemis,] was the daughter, not of Leto but of Demeter, which is the Egyptian account, the Greeks learned from Aiskhylos the son of Euphorion."

For MORE information on this goddess see DESPOINE


IDENTIFIED WITH BRITOMARTIS-DIKTYNNA 

Artemis was also identified with the goddesses Britomartis or Diktynna (of Krete) and Aphaia (of Aigina).

Aristophanes, Birds 1358 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"O Artemis, thou maid divine, Diktynna (of the Nets), huntress, fair to see."

Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 188 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Artemis] lovest the Nymphe of Gortyn [in Krete], Britomartis, slayer of stags . . . the Kydonians call the Nymphe Diktyna (Lady of the Nets) . . . [Artemis] thee too the Kretans name after that Nymphe."

Orphic Hymn 36 to Artemis (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Artemis] torch-bearing Goddess, Diktynna divine."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 14. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"They [the Spartans] surname her [Artemis] also Limnaie (Lady of the Lake), though she is not really Artemis but Britomartis of Krete."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 76. 2 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Britomartis, who is also called Diktynna, the myths relate, was born at Kaino in Krete of Zeus and Karme . . . she invented the nets (diktya) which are used in hunting, whence she has been called Diktynna, and she passed her time in the company of Artemis, this being the reason why some men think Diktynna and Artemis are one and the same goddess; and the Kretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honour of this goddess."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 11. 5 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"To the arrow-bearing Cretans I [Artemis] am Dictynna Diana [Britomartis]."

For MORE information on this goddess see BRITOMARTIS


IDENTIFIED WITH NON-GREEK GODDESSES

Artemis was identified with the Roman goddess Diana, the Thrakian goddess Bendis and the Egyptian goddess Bastet.

I) THE THRACIAN GODDESS BENDIS

Herodotus, Histories 5. 7 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"They [the Threikoi or Thracians] worship no gods but Ares, Dionysos, and Artemis [the Thrakian gods Ares, Sabazios and Bendis]. Their princes . . . worship Hermes [Zalmoxis]."

Herodotus, Histories 4. 33 :
"When the Thrakian and Paionian women sacrifice to the Artemis Basileis (Royal) [i.e. Bendis], they have straw with them while they sacrifice."

For MORE information on this goddess see BENDIS

II) THE EGYPTIAN GODESS BASTET

Herodotus, Histories 2. 59 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"The Egyptians hold solemn assemblies not once a year, but often. The principal one of these and the most enthusiastically celebrated is that in honor of Artemis at the town of Boubastis [i.e. the Egyptian goddess Pasht or Bastet]."

Herodotus, Histories 2. 137 :
"Boubastis [in Egypt] where there is also a temple of Boubastis [the Egyptian goddess Bastet] . . . Boubastis is, in the Greek language, Artemis." - Herodotus, Histories 2.137

Herodotus, Histories 2. 155 :
"Bouto is the name of the city where this [great Egyptian] oracle is; I have already mentioned it. In Bouto there is a temple of Apollon and Artemis [the Egyptian gods Horus and Bastet]. The shrine of Leto [Egyptian goddess Uto] where the oracle is."

Herodotus, Histories 2. 156 :
"Apollon and Artemis [the Egyptian gods Horus and Bastet] were, they [the Egyptians] say, children of Dionysos [Osiris] and Isis, and Leto [the Egyptian goddess Uto] was made their nurse and preserver; in Egyptian, Apollon is Horus, Demeter Isis, Artemis Boubastis [Bastet].  It was from this legend and no other that Aiskhylos son of Euphorion took a notion which is in no poet before him: that Artemis was the daughter of Demeter."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Artemis [the Egyptian goddess Bastet] was the daughter, not of Leto but of Demeter [Egyptian Isis] which is the Egyptian account."

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 28 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Typhon felt an urge to usurp the rule of Zeus and not one of the gods could withstand him as he attacked. In panic they fled to Aigyptos (Egypt) . . . When they fled they had changed themselves in anticipation into animal forms . . . Artemis [became] a cat [i.e. the Egyptian goddess Bastet]."


Sources:

  • Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
  • Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
  • The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th BC
  • Homerica, The Aethiopis - Greek Epic BC
  • Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th BC
  • Greek Lyric I Alcaeus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th BC
  • Greek Elegaic Theognis, Fragments – Greek Elegaic C6th BC
  • Aeschylus, Agamemnon - Greek Tragedy C5th BC
  • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes - Greek Tragedy C5th BC
  • Aeschylus, Suppliant Women - Greek Tragedy C5th BC
  • Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th BC
  • Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae- Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
  • Aristophanes, Frogs - Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
  • Plato, Cratylus - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Plato, Theaetetus - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd BC
  • Callimachus, Hymns - Greek C3rd BC
  • Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th AD
  • The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns BC
  • Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st BC - C1st AD
  • Herodotus, Histories - Greek History C5th BC
  • Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Geography C2nd AD
  • Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC
  • Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd AD
  • Philostratus the Elder, Imagines - Greek Rhetoric C3rd A.D.
  • Philostratus the Younger, Imagines - Greek Rhetoric C3rd A.D.
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Ovid, Heroides - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Virgil, Aeneid - Latin Epic C1st BC
  • Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Philosophy C1st BC
  • Seneca, Phaedra - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
  • Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st AD
  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Epic C2nd AD
  • Colluthus, The Rape of Helen - Greek Epic C5th-6th AD
  • Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th AD
  • Suidas - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th AD