ARTEMIS CULT 1
ARTEMIS was the Olympian goddess of hunting and wild animals, and the protectress of women and girls.
She was widely worshipped in Greece with numerous shrines and temples scattered throughout the countryside. This page describes her cult in the southern and eastern Peloponnese. Her most celebrated shrines in the region were those of Brauron in Attika and Karyai (Caryae) in Lakedaimonia.
Artemis was depicted in classical Greek sculpture as a young woman or girl with her hair tied back and usually equipped with a bow and arrows. Sometimes she was accompanied by a hunting dog or stag.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Callimachus, Epigrams 35 (from A.P. 6. 347) (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Artemis, to thee Phileratis set up this image here. Do thou accept it, Lady, and keep her safe."
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 28 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of a painting depicting hunters :] 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."
Suidas s.v. Lysizonos gune (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Lysizonos gune (girdle-loosening woman) : She who has drawn near to a man. For virgins about to have sex dedicated their virginal lingerie to Artemis."
MONTHS DEDICATED TO ARTEMIS
Suidas s.v. Artemisios :
"Artemisios : The month of May amongst Macedonians."
Suidas s.v. Mounykhion :
"Mounykhion : The tenth month in Athens. They used to sacrifice to Artemis Mounykhia during it."
CULT IN ATTICA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. ATHENS (ATHENAI) Main City of Attica (Attika)
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 19. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Across the Illisos [River] is a district [of Athens] called Agrai and a temple of Artemis Agrotera (the Huntress). They say that Artemis first hunted here when she came from Delos, and for this reason the statue carries a bow."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 23. 7 :
"There is also a sanctuary [at Athens] of Artemis Brauronia (of Brauron); the image is the work of Praxiteles, but the goddess derives her name from the parish of Brauron. The old wooden image is in Brauron, Artemis Tauria (of Tauros) as she is called."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 26. 4 :
"Near the statue of Olympiodoros [in Athens] stands a bronze image of Artemis surnamed Leukophryne, dedicated by the sons of Themistocles; for the Magnesians, whose city the King had given him to rule, hold Artemis Leukophryne in honor."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 29. 2 :
"As you go down to it [the Academy in Athens] you come to a precinct of Artemis, and wooden images of Ariste (Best) and Kalliste (Fairest). In my opinion, which is supported by the poems of Pamphos, these are surnames of Artemis. There is another account of them, which I know but shall omit."
Plutarch, Life of Themistocles 22. 1 (trans. Perrin) (Greek historian C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"He [the historical Athenian leader Themistokles] offended the multitude [of Athenian citizens] also by building the temple of Artemis, whom he surnamed Aristoboule, or Best Counsellor, intimating thus that it was he who had given the best counsel to the city and to the Hellenes. This temple he established near his house in Melite, where now the public officers cast out the bodies of those who have been put to death, and carry forth the garments and the nooses of those who have dispatched themselves by hanging. A portrait-statue of Themistokles stood in this temple of Aristoboule down to my time, from which he appears to have been a man not only of heroic spirit, but also of heroic presence."
Aelian, Historical Miscellany 2. 25 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"They say that the sixth of Thargelion brought much good fortune not only to Athens but to many other cities . . . the Persians were defeated on that day [in 490 B.C.]; on it the Athenians sacrifice to the goddess Agrotera [i.e. Artemis] three hundred goats, acting in accordance with Miltiades' vow."
[N.B. Thargelion is approximately May. Miltiades vowed to sacrifice one goat annually for every Persian killed in the battle, but because the dead were so numerous the number was limited to 500. The victory at Marathon was celebrated on the 6th Boedromion, which was also the festival of Artemis.]
Aelian, Historical Miscellany 5. 16 :
"[In Athens :] Note that a child picked up a golden leaf that fell from the crown of Artemis, but he was spotted. The judges put toys and knucklebones in front of the child alongside the leaf. He again made for the golden object, and for this reason they executed him for sacrilege, not forgiving him on account of his age but exacting the penalty for his action."
II. MUNYCHIA (MOUNYKHIA) Town of Attica
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 1. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Athenians have also another harbor, at Mounykhia, with a temple of Artemis Mounykhia (of Mounykhia)."
Suidas s.v. Embaros eimi (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Peiraieos was previously an island. This, in fact, is how it got its name: from the crossing (diaperan). Mounykhos, who possessed its headlands, established a shrine of Artemis Mounykhia. After a female bear appeared in it 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. Baros was the only one who undertook to do so, on the grounds that his family held the priesthood for life. He had his daughter adorned but then hid her in the same [shrine?], and dressed a goat up in her clothing and sacrificed it as though it were his daughter."
Suidas s.v. Mounykhion :
"Mounykhion : The tenth month in Athens. They used to sacrifice to Artemis Mounykhia during it."
III. ZOSTER Village of Attica
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 31. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"At Zoster (Girdle) [in Attika] on the coast is an altar to Athena, as well as to Apollon, to Artemis and to Leto. The story is that Leto did not give birth to her children here, but loosened her girdle with a view to her delivery, and the place received its name from this incident."
IV. PHYLA & MYRRHINUS (MYRRHINOS) Villages of Attica
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 31. 4 :
"[The Attic Towns of] Phlya and Myrrhinos have altars of Apollon Dionysodotos, Artemis Selasphoros (Light-bearer), Dionysos Flower-god, the Nymphai Ismeniai and Gaia (Earth)."
V. ATHMONIA Village in Attica
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 31. 5 :
"Athmonia [in Attika] worships Artemis Amarysia. On inquiry I discovered that the guides knew nothing about these deities, so I give my own conjecture. Amarynthos is a town in Euboia, the inhabitants of which worship Amarysia, while the festival of Amarysia which the Athenians celebrate is no less splendid than the Euboian. The name of the goddess, I think, came to Athmonia in this fashion."
VI. BRAURON Village in Attica
Herodotus, Histories 6. 138 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"The Pelasgians dwelt at that time in Lemnos [C6th B.C.] and desired vengeance on the Athenians. Since they well knew the time of the Athenian festivals, they acquired fifty-oared ships and set an ambush for the Athenian women celebrating the festival of Artemis at Brauron. They seized many of the women, then sailed away with them and brought them to Lemnos to be their concubines."
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 170 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"But when the maidens (nymphai) encircle thee in the dance [on Delos] . . . or where, goddess, thou camest from Skythia to dwell, in Alai Araphenides [i.e. Brauron in Attika], renouncing the rites of the Tauroi [of Skythia] . . . the lights of day are lengthened [i.e. in mid-summer]."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 33. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"At some distance from Marathon is Brauron, where, according to the legend, Iphigeneia, the daughter of Agamemnon, landed with the image of Artemis when she fled from the Tauroi; leaving the image there she came to Athens also and afterwards to Argos. There is indeed an old wooden image of Artemis here, but who in my opinion have the one taken from the foreigners I will set forth in another place."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 46. 3 :
"Xerxes, too, the son of Dareios, the king of Persia, apart from the spoil he carried away from the city of Athens, took besides, as we know, from Brauron the image of Artemis Brauronia."
Suidas s.v. Arktos e Brauroniois (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Arktos e Brauroniois (I was a bear at the Brauronia) : Women playing the bear used to celebrate a festival for Artemis dressed in saffron robes; not older than 10 years nor less than 5; appeasing the goddess. The reason was that a wild she-bear used to come to the deme of Phlauidoi and spend time there; and she became tamed and was brought up with the humans. Some virgin was playing with her and, when the girl began acting recklessly, the she-bear was provoked and scratched the virgin; her brothers were angered by this and 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. And 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. Arkteusai :
"Arkteusai (To be a bear) : Lysias used [the verb] ‘to be a bear’ of consecrating virgins, before marriage, to Artemis. For the virgins are called ‘being bears,’ as Euripides and Aristophanes show."
VII. ELEUSIS Town in Attica
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 38. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Eleusinians have a temple of Triptolemos, of Artemis Propylaie (of the Gate), and of Poseidon Father."
CULT IN MEGARIS (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. MEGARA Main Town of Megaris
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 40. 2 :
"Not far from this fountain [of the Sithnides in Megara] is an ancient sanctuary, and in our day likenesses stand in it of Roman emperors, and a bronze image is there of Artemis surnamed Soteira (Saviour). There is a story that a detachment of the army of Mardonios [historical general], having over run Megaris , wished to return to Mardonios at Thebes, but that by the will of Artemis night came on them as they marched, and missing their way they turned into the hilly region. Trying to find out whether there was a hostile force near they shot some missiles. The rock near groaned when struck, and they shot again with greater eagerness, until at last they used up all their arrows thinking that they were shooting at the enemy. When the day broke, the Megarians attacked, and being men in armour fighting against men without armour who no longer had even a supply of missiles, they killed the greater number of their opponents. For this reason they had an image made of Artemis Soteria (Saviour). Here are also images of the gods named the Twelve, said to be the work of Praxiteles. But the image of Artemis herself was made by Strongylion."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 41. 3 :
"Not far from the tomb of Hyllos [in Megara] is a temple of . . . of Apollon and of Artemis. They say that Alkathoos made it after killing the Lion called Kithaironian . . . Alkathoos therefore, son of Pelops, attacked the beast and overcame it, and when he came to the throne he built this sanctuary, surnaming Artemis Agrotera (Huntress) and Apollo Agraios (Hunter). Such is the account of the Megarians . . . Let so much suffice for Alkathoos and for the Lion, whether it was on Kithairon or elsewhere that the killing took place that caused him to make a temple to Artemis Agrotera and Apollo Agraios."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 44. 2 :
"[In the] sanctuary of Apollon Prostaterios [near Megara] . . . is a noteworthy [statue of] Apollon, Artemis also, and Leto, and other statues, made by Praxiteles."
II. PAGAE (PAGAI) Village in Megaris
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 44. 4 :
"In Pagai [in Megaris] a noteworthy relic is a bronze image of Artemis surnamed Soteira (Saviour), in size equal to that at Megara and exactly like it in shape."
CULT IN SALAMIS (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. SALAMIS Main Town of Salamis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 36. 1 :
"In Salamis is a sanctuary of Artemis."
CULT IN AEGINA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. AEGINA (AIGINA) Main Town of Aegina
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 1 :
"There are three temples close together [in the main town of the island of Aigina], one of Apollon, one of Artemis, and a third of Dionysos. Apollon has a naked wooden image of native workmanship, but Artemis is dressed."
CULT IN CORINTHIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. CORINTH (KORINTHOS) Main City of Corinthia (Korinthia)
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 2. 6 :
"On the market-place [of Korinthos], where most of the sanctuaries are, stands [a statue of] Artemis surnamed Ephesia [of Ephesos]."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 3. 5 :
"On the left of the entrance [of the baths at Korinthos] stands a [statue of] Poseidon, and after him Artemis Agrotera (Hunting)."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 7. 6 :
"As you walk from the temple of Dionysos to the market-place [at Korinthos] you see on the right a temple of Artemis Limnaie (of the Lake). A look shows that the roof has fallen in, but the inhabitants cannot tell whether the image has been removed or how it was destroyed on the spot. Within the market-place is a sanctuary of Peitho (Persuasion); this too has no image. The worship of Peitho was established among them for the following reason. When Apollon and Artemis had killed Python they came to Aigialea to obtain purification. Dread coming upon them at the place now named Fear, they turned aside to Karmanor in Krete, and the people of Aigialea were smitten by a plague. When the seers bade them propitiate Apollon and Artemis, they sent seven boys and seven maidens as suppliants to the river Sythas. They say that the deities, persuaded by these, came to what was then the citadel, and the place that they reached first is the sanctuary of Peitho (Persuasion). Conformable with this story is the ceremony they perform at the present day; the children go to the Sythas at the feast of Apollon, and having brought, as they pretend, the deities to the sanctuary of Peitho, they say that they take them back again to the temple of Apollon."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 9. 6 :
"After the hero-shrine of Aratos [at Korinthos] is an altar to Poseidon Isthmios, and also a Zeus Meilikhios (Gracious ) and an Artemis named Patroia (Paternal), both of them very inartistic works. The Meilikhios is like a pyramid, the Artemis like a pillar."
CULT IN SICYONIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. SICYON (SIKYON) Main Town of Sicyonia (Sikyonia)
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 10. 2 :
"Within the sanctuary [of Asklepios at Sikyon] on either side of the entrance is an image, on the one hand Pan seated, on the other Artemis standing."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 10. 7 :
"Ascending to the gymnasium [at Sikyon] you see in the right a sanctuary of Artemis Pheraia. It is said that the wooden image was brought from Pherai. This gymnasium was built for the Sikyonians by Kleinias, and they still train the youths here. White marble images are here, an Artemis wrought only to the waist."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 11. 2 :
"The sanctuary of Artemis and Apollon [at Sikyon] was also made by [the mythical king] Epopeus."
Suidas s.v. Adrasteia (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Demetrios of Skepsis says that Adrasteia is Artemis, [in a cult] established by one Adrastos."
II. PHLIUS (PHLIOUS) Town in Sicyonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 13. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[In the] temple and statue of Demeter and her daughter [at Phlious, Sikyonia] . . . is also a bronze statue of Artemis, which appeared to me to be ancient."
CULT IN ARGOLIS (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. ARGOS Main City of Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 19. 7 :
"Before the temple [of Apollon at Argos] is a pit with a relief representing a fight between a bull and a wolf, and with them a maiden throwing a rock at the bull. The maiden is thought to be Artemis. [The mythical king] Danaus dedicated these, and some pillars hard by and wooden images of Zeus and Artemis."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 21. 1 :
"The sanctuary of Artemis, surnamed Peitho (Persuasion) [at Argos], is another offering of [the mythical queen] Hypermnestra after winning the trial to which she was brought by her father because of Lynkeus."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 22. 2 :
"Opposite the grave [of the mythical women followers of Dionysos who made war on Perseus in Argos] is a small bronze vessel supporting ancient images of Artemis, Zeus, and Athena."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 23. 5 :
"The Argives [of the city of Argos], like the Athenians and Sikyorians, worship Artemis Pheraia, and they, too, assert that the image of the goddess was brought from Pherai in Thessalia."
II. MT. LYCONE (LYKONE) Mountain in Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 24. 5 :
"On the right [of the road from Argos to Arkadia, Argolis] is Mount Lykone, which has trees on it, chiefly cypresses. On the top of the mountain is built a sanctuary of Artemis Orthia (of the Steep), and there have been made white-marble images of Apollon, Leto, and Artemis, which they say are works of Polykleitos."
III. ORNEAE (ORNEAI) Village in Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 25. 6 :
"At Orneai [in Argolis] are a sanctuary and an upright wooden image of Artemis; there is besides a temple devoted to all the gods in common."
IV. EPIDAURUS (EPIDAUROS) City in Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 27. 5 :
"Within the grove [at Epidauros, Argolis] are a temple of Artemis."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 29. 1 :
"There is also in the city [of Epidauros, Argolis] a temple of Dionysos and one of Artemis. The figure of Artemis one might take to be the goddess hunting."
V. MT. CORYPHON (KORYPHON) Mountain in Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 28. 2 :
"On the top of the mountain [Mount Koryphon near Asine, Argolis] there is a sanctuary of Artemis Koryphaia (of the Peak ), of which Telesilla made mention in an ode."
VI. TROEZEN (TROIZENOS) Town in Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 7 :
"Saron built the sanctuary [at Troizenos, Argolis] for Artemis Saronis by a sea which is marshy and shallow, so that for this reason it was called the Phoibaian lagoon. Now Saron 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, and they buried it within the sacred enclosure, and after him they named the sea in these parts the Saronic instead of the Phoibaian lagoon."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 1 :
"In the market-place of Troizenos [in Argolis] is a temple of Artemis Soteira (Saviour), with images of the goddess. It was said that the temple was founded and the name Soteria (Saviour) given by Theseus when he returned from Krete after overcoming [the Minotauros] Asterion the son of Minos."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 31. 4 :
"Near the theater [at Troizenos, Argolis] a temple of Artemis Lykeie (Wolfish ) was made by Hippolytos. About this surname I could learn nothing from the local guides, but I gathered that either Hippolytos destroyed wolves that were ravaging the land of Troizenos, or else that Lykeia is a surname of Artemis among the Amazones, from whom he was descended through his mother."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 32. 10 :
"Not far from [Troizenos, Argolis] stands the sanctuary of Artemis Saronia, and I have already given an account of it. I must add that every year they hold in honor of Artemis a festival called Saronia."
VII. HERMIONE Town in Argolis
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 35. 1 :
"There is also [at Hermione in Argolis] a sanctuary of Artemis surnamed Iphigenia."
CULT IN LACEDAEMONIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. SPARTA Main City of Lacedaemonia (Lakedaimonia)
Strabo, Geography 8. 4. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"It is after this Limnai [a village and shrine of Artemis in Lakedaimonia], also, that the Limnaion, the temple of Artemis in Sparta, has been named."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 11. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"On their market-place the Spartans have images of Apollo Pythaios, of Artemis and of Leto."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 12. 8 :
"At the place [in Sparta] called the Forts is a temple of Artemis."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 14. 2 :
"Here [at Sparta] are sanctuaries of Poseidon Hippokourios (Horse-tending ) and of Artemis Aiginaia (Of Aigina). On returning to the lounge you see a sanctuary of Artemis Issoria. They surname her also Limnaie (Lady of the Lake), though she is not really Artemis but Britomartis of Krete."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 14. 6 :
"Farther away from the Course [in Sparta] are sanctuaries of the Dioskouroi, of the Kharites, of Eileithyia, of Apollon Karneus, and of Artemis Hegemone (Leader)."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 18. 4 :
"The story of Artemis Knagia [worshipped in Sparta, Lakedaimonia] is as follows. Knageus, they say, was a native who joined the Dioskouroi in their expedition against Aphidna. Being taken prisoner in the battle and sold into Krete, he lived as a slave where the Kretans had a sanctuary of Artemis; but in course of time he ran away in the company of the maiden priestess, who took the image with her. It is for this reason that they name Artemis Knagia."
II. LIMNAE (LIMNAI) Village in Lacedaemonia
Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 170 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"But when the maidens (nymphai) encircle thee in the dance [on Delos] . . . or in Limnai [in Lakedaimonia] . . . the lights of day are lengthened [mid-summer]."
Strabo, Geography 8. 4. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The temple of Artemis at Limnai [in Lakedaimonia], at which the Messenians [historically] are reputed to have outraged the maidens who had come to the sacrifice, is on the boundaries between Lakonia and Messenia, where both peoples held assemblies and offered sacrifice in common; and they say that it was after the outraging of the maidens, when the Messenians refused to give satisfaction for the act, that the war took place. And it is after this Limnai, also, that the Limnaion, the temple of Artemis in Sparta, has been named."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 16. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The place named Limnaion (Marshy) [in Lakedaimonia] is sacred to Artemis Orthia (Upright). The wooden image there they say is that which once Orestes and Iphigeneia stole out of the Tauric land, and the Lakedaemonians say that it was brought to their land because there also Orestes was king . . . I will give other evidence that the Orthia in Lakedaimon is the wooden image from the foreigners. Firstly, Astrabakos and Alopekos, sons of Irbos, son of Amphisthenes, son of Amphikles, son of Agis, when they found the image 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. He used to be sacrificed upon whomsoever the lot fell, but Lykourgos changed the custom to a scourging of the lads, and so in this way the altar is stained with human blood. By them stands the priestess, holding the wooden image. Now it is small and light, but if ever the scourgers spare the lash because of a lad's beauty or high rank, then at once the priestess finds the image grow so heavy that she can hardly carry it. She lays the blame on the scourgers, and says that it is their fault that she is being weighed down. So the image ever since the sacrifices in the Tauric land keeps its fondness for human blood. They call it not only Orthia, but also Lygodesma (Willow-bound), because it was found in a thicket of willows, and the encircling willow made the image stand upright."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 2. 6 :
"[The historical] Teleklos was murdered by Messenians in a sanctuary of Artemis. This sanctuary was built on the frontier of Lakonia and Messenia, in a place called Limniai (Lakes )."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 4. 2 :
"There is a sanctuary of Artemis called Limnatis (of the Lake) on the frontier of Messenia, in which the Messenians and the Lakedaimonians alone of the Dorians shared. According to the Lakedaimonians their maidens coming to the festival were violated by Messenian men [historical] and their king was killed in trying to prevent it. He was Teleklos the son of Arkhelaos, son of Agesilaos, son of Doryssos, son of Labotas, son of Ekhestratos, son of Agis. In addition to this they say that the maidens who were violated killed themselves for shame."
Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 20 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to 2nd A.D.) :
"[The Egyptian sage Thespesion] put some questions to Apollonios [of Tyana, pagan prophet C1st A.D.], about the scourging in Sparta, and asked if the Lakonians were smitten with rods in public. ‘Yes,’ answered the other, ‘as hard, O Thespesion, as men can smite them; and it is especially men of noble and distinguished birth among them that are so treated . . . The custom of scourging is a ceremony in honour of Artemis Skythia, so they say, and was prescribed by oracles, and to oppose the regulations of the gods is in my opinion utter madness . . . It is not the scourging but the sprinkling of the altar with human blood that is important, for the Skythoi too held the altar to be worthy thereof; but the Lakedaimonians modified the ceremony of [human] sacrifice because of its implacable cruelty, and turned it into a contest of endurance, undergone without any loss of life, and yet securing to the goddess as first fruits an offering of their own blood.’
‘Why then,’ said the other, ‘do they not sacrifice strangers right out to Artemis, as the Skythoi formerly considered right to do?’
‘Because,’ he answered, ‘it is not congenial to any of the Greeks to adopt in their full rigour the manners and customs of barbarians.’"
Suidas s.v. Lykourgos (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Lykourgos : Spartiate, descendant of Prokles; lawgiver . . . This man also legislated for . . . the practice of thorough beating as an exercise for excellence instead of sullen envy; for previously a young man used to be sacrified to Artemis Orthosia."
III. TAYGETUS MTS. (TAYGETOS) Mountains in Lacedaemonia
Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 183 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Which now of islands, what hill finds most favour with thee? . . . of hills Taygetos."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 20. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Between Taleton and Euoras [in Lakedaimon] is a place they name Therai (of the Beasts), where they say Leto from the Peaks of Taygetos . ." [N.B.The rest of the text missing. The Taygetos mountains were sacred to Artemis, so the cult myth may have been connected with her birth.]
IV. CARYAE (KARYAI) Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 10. 7 :
"Karyai (Walnut-trees) [in Lakedaimonia] and to the sanctuary of Artemis. For Karyai is a region sacred to Artemis and the Nymphai, and here stands in the open an image of Artemis Karyatis. Here every year the Lakedaimonian maidens hold chorus-dances, and they have a traditional native dance."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 16. 9 :
"[The troops of the historical Messenian leader Anaxandros (historical)] lay in wait by day for the maidens who were performing the dances in honor of Artemis at Karyai, and capturing those who were wealthiest and of noblest birth, carried them off to a village in Messenia."
V. AMYCLAE (AMYKLAI) Town in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 18. 7 :
"The things worth seeing in Amyklai [in Lakedaimonia] include [a statue of] a victor in the pentathlon . . . [beside it] there are also bronze tripods . . . Under the first tripod stood an image of Aphrodite, and under the second an Artemis . . . Bathykles of Magnesia, who made the throne of the Amyklaian, dedicated, on the completion of the throne, Kharities and an image of Artemis Leukophryne."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 14. 2 :
"They [the Lakedaimonians] dedicated bronze tripods to the god of Amyklai [i.e. Apollon] [from their plunder of Messene]. A statue of Aphrodite stands under the first tripod, of Artemis under the second, of Kore or Demeter under the third."
VI. DEREUM (DEREION) Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 20. 7 :
"Dereion [in Lakedaimonia], where is in the open an image of Artemis Dereatis, and beside it is a spring which they name Anonos."
VII. ROAD TO ARCADIA in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 20. 9 :
"On the road [from Sparta to Arkadia] is a ... sanctuary of Artemis Mysia (of Mysia)."
VIII. MARIUS (MARIOS) Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 22. 8 :
"Marios is another town of the Free Lakonians [in Lakedaimonia] . . . Here is an ancient sanctuary common to all the gods, and around it is a grove containing springs. In a sanctuary of Artemis also there are springs."
IX. BOIAE (BOIAI) Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 22. 12 :
"Boiai [in Lakedaimonia] is at the head of the gulf. This was founded by Boios, one of the Herakleidai, and he is said to have collected inhabitants for it from three cities, Etis, Aphrodisias and Side . . . When the inhabitants of these cities were expelled, they were anxious to know where they ought to settle, and an oracle was given them that Artemis would show them where they were to dwell. When therefore they had gone on shore, and a hare appeared to them, they looked upon the hare as their guide on the way. When it dived into a myrtle tree, they built a city on the site of the myrtle, and down to this day they worship that myrtle tree, and name Artemis Soteria (Saviour)."
X. EPIDAURUS LIMERA Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 23. 10 :
"By the road leading from Boiai to Epidauros Limera [in Lakedaimonia] is a sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis (Of the Lake) in the country of the Epidaurians. The city lies on high ground, not far from the sea. Here the sanctuary of Artemis is worth seeing."
XI. HYPSOUS Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 24. 9 :
"Here [near Hypsous, Lakedaimonia] is a sanctuary of Asklepios and of Artemis called Daphnaia (of the laurel). By the sea is a temple of Artemis Diktynna on a promontory, in whose honor they hold an annual festival."
X. PYRRHICHUS (PYRRHIKHOS) Village in Lacedaemonia
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."
XI. TEUTHRONE Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 25. 4 :
"At Teuthrone [in Lakedaimonia] . . . they honor Artemis Issoria most of the gods, and have a spring Naia."
XII. ALAGONIA Village in Lacedaemonia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 26. 11 :
"At Alagonia [in Lakedaimonia] . . . worth seeing here are temples of Dionysos and of Artemis."
CULT IN MESSENIA (SOUTHERN GREECE)
I. MESSENE Main Town of Messenia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 31. 7 :
"By Damophon too is the so-called Laphria at Messene. The cult came to be established among them in the following way: Among the people of Kalydon, Artemis, who was worshipped by them above all the gods, had the title Laphria, and the Messenians who received Naupaktos from the Athenians, being at that time close neighbours of the Aitolians, adopted her from the people of Kalydon. I will describe her appearance in another place. The name Laphria spread only to the Messenians and to the Akhaians of Patrai."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 31. 10 :
"In the sanctuary of Asklepios [at Messene] besides statues of the god and his sons . . . [are] statues of Apollon, the Mousai (Muses) . . . and Artemis Phosphoros (Bringer of Light)."
II. CORONE (KORONE) Village in Messenia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 34. 6 :
"The gods who have temples here [at Korone in Messenia] are Artemis, called Paidotrophos (Nurse of Children), Dionysos and Asklepios."
III. MOTHONE Village in Messenia
Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 35. 8 :
"There is also a shrine of Artemis here [at Mothone, Messenia] and water in a well mixed with pitch, in appearance very like the iris-oil of Kyzikos."
- Herodotus, Histories - Greek History C5th B.C.
- Callimachus, Hymns - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Callimachus, Fragments - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Plutarch, Lives - Greek Historian C1st - 2nd A.D.
- Aelian, Historical Miscellany - Greek Rhetoric C2nd - 3rd A.D.
- Philostratus the Elder, Imagines - Greek Rhetoric C3rd A.D.
- Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Greek Biography C2nd A.D.
- Suidas, The Suda - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.