Readings for reflection: Artemis

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 5.16
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.

Aelian, On Animals 12.22
In Crete there is a temple to Artemis Rhokkaia, as she is called. The dogs there go raving mad, and when they are afflicted with this disease they hurl themselves head foremost from the promontory into the sea.

Aelian, On Animals 14.20
Some Cretan boys were bitten by a mad dog and spectators urged that they should be taken to the temple of Artemis Rhokkaia and that the goddess should be implored to heal them.

Anonymous, Life of Theokritos 1b
Others says that bucolic poetry was first performed at Tyndaris in Sicily. When Orestes took the image of Artemis away from Tauris in Scythia, he received an oracle, that he should wash himself in seven rivers flowing from one source. Therefore Orestes went to Rhegium in Italy, and washed away the curse in the so-called “separated” rivers. Then he crossed over to Tyndaris in Sicily, where the inhabitants sang their local songs in honour of the goddess, and this was the origin of the tradition. They say that when the men sang, they prepared a loaf with many images of wild animals on it, a pouch full of all kinds of seeds, and wine in a goatskin, to pour out as an offering for those they met. They wore a garland, with the antlers of a deer [on their head], and a staff in their hands. The victor in the contest received the loaf of the man he had vanquished; and the victor remained in the city of Syracuse, while the losers went out to the surrounding villages to collect food for themselves. They sang songs full of fun and laughter, and added the following propitious words:

Receive good fortune,
Receive good health,
Which we bring from the goddess,
Which she has commanded.

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 21
Thrassa was daughter of Ares and of Tereine daughter of Strymon. Hipponous, son of Triballos, married her and they had a daughter called Polyphonte. She scorned the activities of Aphrodite and went to the mountains as a companion and sharer of sports with Artemis. Aphrodite, whose activities Polyphonte failed to honour, made her fall in love with a bear and drove her mad. By daemonic urge she went on heat and coupled with this bear. Artemis seeing her was utterly disgusted with her and turned all beasts against her. Polyphonte, fearing the beasts would make an end of her, fled and reached her father’s house. She brought forth two children, Agrios and Oreios, huge and of immense strength. They honoured neither god nor man but scorned them all. If they met a stranger they would haul him home to eat. Zeus loathed them and sent Hermes to punish them in whatever way he chose. Hermes decided to chop of their hands and feet. But Ares, since the family of Polyphonte descended from him, snatched her sons from this fate. With the help of Hermes he changed them into birds. Polyphonte became a small owl whose voice is heard at night. She does not eat or drink and keeps her head turned down and the tips of her feet turned up. She is a portent of war and sedition for mankind. Oreios became an eagle owl, a bird that presages little good to anyone when it appears. Argios was changed into a vulture, the bird most detested by gods and men. These gods gave him an utter craving for human flesh and blood. Their female servant was changed into a woodpecker. As she was changing her shape she prayed to the gods not to become a bird evil for mankind. Hermes and Ares heard her prayer because she had by necessity done what her masters had ordered. This a bird of good omen for someone going hunting or to feasts.

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 27
Theseus and Helen, daughter of Zeus, had a daughter Iphigeneia. Helen’s sister Klytaimnestra brought her up. When the army of the Achaians was held up at Aulis for lack of winds, the seers foretold that it would be possible to sail only if they sacrificed Iphigeneia to Artemis. At the insistence of the Achaians, Agamemnon handed her over to be put to the knife and she was dragged to the altar. But the leaders could not bear to look on and, to a man, they turned their eyes elsewhere. Artemis made a bull calf appear by the altar instead of Iphigeneia whom she carried off far away from Greece, to the Sea of Pontos with its welcoming name of Euxinos, to Thoas son of Borysthenes. She called the tribe of nomads there Taurians because a bull (tauros) had appeared instead of Iphigeneia on the altar. She also named her Tauropolios. After the passage of time, Artemis transferred Iphigeneia to what is called the White Island to be with Achilles and changed her into an ageless immortal deity, calling her Orsilochia (Helper of Childbirth) instead of Iphigeneia. She became the companion of Achilles.

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 40
Britomartis went to Crete. When Minos saw her he lusted after her and pursued her. She took refuge among some fishermen who hid her in their nets. Because of this the Cretans call her Diktynna, She of the Nets, and offered sacrifices to her. Having escaped from Minos, Britomartis arrived at Aigina on a boat of the fisherman Andromedes. But he lusted for her and laid hands on her. Britomartis jumped off the boat and fled into a grove, the very spot where today there is a temple of hers. She then disappeared from sight and they call her Aphaia, the One Who Disappeared. Her statue appeared in the temple of Artemis. The people of Aigina consecrated the spot where Britomartis disappeared, naming her Aphaia and offering her sacrifices as to a god.

Apollodoros, Bibliotheka 3.30
Aktaion was the child of Autonoe and Aristaios. He was raised by Cheiron and taught to be a hunter, and then later he was devoured on Kithairon by his own dogs. He died in this manner because, as Akousilaos says, he angered Zeus by wooing Semele, but according to greater number of authorities, it was because he saw Artemis bathing.

Autokrates, Tympanistai fragment
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.

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 4.84.1-4
At this time we shall endeavour to set forth what the myths relate concerning Daphnis. There are in Sicily, namely, the Heraean Mountains, which, men say, are naturally well suited, by reason of the beauty and nature and special character of the region round about, to relaxation and enjoyment in the summer season. For they possess many springs of exceptionally sweet water and are full of trees of every description. On them also is a multitude of great oak-trees which bear fruit of extraordinary size, since it is twice as large as any that grows in other lands. And they possess as well some of the cultivated fruits, which have sprung up of their own accord, since the vine is found there in profusion and tree-fruits in quantities beyond telling. Consequently the area once supported a Carthaginian army when it was facing starvation, the mountains supplying tens of thousands of soldiers with sources of food for their unfailing sustenance. It was in this region, where there were glens filled with trees and meet for a god and a grove consecrated to the nymphs, that, as the myths relate, he who was known as Daphnis was born, a son of Hermes and a Nymph, and he, because of the sweet bay (daphnê) which grew there in such profusion and so thick, was given the name Daphnis. He was reared by Nymphs, and since he possessed very many herds of cattle and gave great attention to their care, he was for this reason called by the name Bucolus or “Neatherd.” And being endowed with an unusual gift of song, he invented the bucolic or pastoral poem and the bucolic song which continues to be so popular throughout Sicily to the present day. The myths add that Daphnis accompanied Artemis in her hunting, serving the goddess in an acceptable manner, and that with his shepherd’s pipe and singing of pastoral songs he pleased her exceedingly. The story is also told that one of the Nymphs became enamoured of him and prophesied to him that if he lay with any other woman he would be deprived of his sight; and indeed, when once he had been made drunken by a daughter of a king and had lain with her, he was deprived of his sight in accordance with the prophecy delivered by the Nymph.

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 4.22.3-4
And moving on from there Herakles came to a certain rock in the country of the people of Poseidonia, where the myths relate that a peculiar and marvelous thing once took place. There was among the natives of the region a certain hunter, the fame of whom had gone abroad because of his brave exploits in hunting. On former occasions it had been his practice to dedicate to Artemis the heads and feet of the animals he secured and to nail them to the trees, but once, when he had overpowered a huge wild boar, he said, as though in contempt of the goddess, “The head of the beast I dedicate to myself,” and bearing out his words he hung the head on a tree, and then, the atmosphere being very warm, at midday he fell asleep. And while he was thus asleep the thong broke, and the head fell down of itself upon the sleeper and killed him. And in truth there is no reason why anyone should marvel at this happening, for many actual occurrences are recorded which illustrate the vengeance this goddess takes upon the impious.

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.2.3
And both Athene and Artemis, the myth goes on to say, who had made the same choice of maidenhood as had Kore and were reared together with her, joined with her in gathering the flowers, and all of them together wove the robe for their father Zeus. And because of the time they had spent together and their intimacy they all loved this island above any other.

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.3.5-6
And Artemis received from the gods the island at Syracuse which was named after her, by both the oracles and men, Ortygia. On this island likewise these Nymphs, to please Artemis, caused a great fountain to gush forth to which was given the name Arethusa. And not only in ancient times did this fountain contain large fish in great numbers, but also in our own day we find these fish still there, considered to be holy and not to be touched by men; and on many occasions, when certain men have eaten them amid stress of war, the deity has shown a striking sign and has visited with great sufferings such as dared to take them for food.

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.76.3
Britomartis was born at Kaino in Crete of Zeus and Karme, the daughter of Euboulos who was the son of Demeter; she invented the nets 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 Cretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honor of this goddess. But those men who tell the tale that she has been named Diktynna because she fled into some fishermen’s nets when she was pursued by Minos, who would have ravished her, have missed the truth; for its is not a probable story that the goddess should ever have got into so helpless a state that she would have required the aid that men can give, being as she is the daughter of the greatest one of the gods.

Hesiod, The Astronomy fragment 4
Hesiod says that he was the son of Euryale, the daughter of Minos, and of Poseidon, and that there was given him as a gift the power of walking upon the waves as though upon land … Orion went away to Crete and spent his time hunting in company with Artemis and Leto. It seems that he threatened to kill every beast there was on earth; whereupon, in her anger, Gaia sent up against him a scorpion of very great size by which he was stung and so perished. After this Artemis and Leto pleaded with Zeus to put him among the stars because of his manliness, and the scorpion also as a memorial of him and of what had occurred, and he agreed.

Homer, Odyssey 11. 320
And Ariadne, daughter of Minos, the grim king. Theseus took her abroad with him from Crete for the terraced land of ancient Athens; but he had no joy of her. Artemis killed her on the Isle of Dia because of what Dionysos said.

Homer, Iliad 21.470
Artemis of the wilderness (agrotera), lady of wild beasts (potnia theron), Zeus has made you 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.

Hyginus, Fabulae 122
Orestes would have killed Erigone, daughter of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, but Diana rescued her and made her a priestess in the Attic land.

Libellus de sortilegis
We next inquire concerning certain wicked crones who believe and profess that in the night-time they ride abroad with Diana, the heathen goddess, or else with Herodias, and an innumerable host of women, upon certain beasts, and that in a silent covey at the dead of night they pass over immense distances, obeying her commands as their mistress, and that they are summoned by her on appointed nights, and they declare that they have the power to change human beings for better or for worse, ay, even to turn them into some other semblance or shape. Concerning such women I answer according to the decrees of the Council of Alexandria, that the minds of the faithful are disordered by such fantasies owing to the inspiration of no good spirit but of the devil.

Nonnos, Dionysiaka 8.402 ff
Semele saw her fiery end, and perished rejoicing in a childbearing death. In one bridal chamber could be seen Himeros, Eileithyia, and the Erinyes together. So the babe half-grown, and his limbs washed with heavenly fire, was carried by Hermes to his father for the lying-in. Zeus was able to change the mind of jealous Hera, to calm and undo the savage threatening resentment which burdened her. Semele consumed by the fire he translated into the starry vault; he gave the mother of Bakchos a home in the sky among the heavenly inhabitants, as one of Hera’s family, as daughter of Harmonia sprung from both Ares and Aphrodite. So her new body bathed in the purifying fire ((lacuna)) she received the immortal life of the Olympians. Instead of Kadmos and the soil of earth, instead of Autonoe and Agave, she found Artemis by her side, she had converse with Athena, she received the heavens as her wedding-gift, sitting at one table with Zeus and Hermes and Ares and Kythereia.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.31.4
Phlya and Myrrhinos have altars of Apollon Dionysodotos, Artemis Selasphoros (Light-bearer), Dionysos the Flower-god, the Nymphai Ismeniai and Gaia.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.43.1
I know that Hesiod in the Catalogue of Women represented that Iphigeneia was not killed but, by the will of Artemis, became Hekate.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.27.4
When Hippolytos was killed, owing to the curses of Theseus, Asklepios raised him from the dead. On coming to life again he refused to forgive his father; rejecting his prayers, he went to the Arikians in Italy. There he became king and devoted a precinct to Artemis.

Pausanias, Description Greece 2.31.1
In the market-place of Troizen is a temple of Artemis Soteira, with images of the goddess. It was said that the temple was founded and the name Savior given by Theseus when he returned from Crete after overcoming Asterion the son of Minos.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.31.2
In the temple of Artemis at Troizen are altars to the gods said to rule under the earth. It is here that they say Semele was brought out of Haides by Dionysos, and that Herakles dragged up the Hound of Haides. But I cannot bring myself to believe even that Semele died at all, seeing that she was the wife of Zeus.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.31.4
In Troizen there is a temple of Artemis Lykeie (Wolfish ) 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 Troizen with the help of Artemis, or else that Lykeia is a surname of Artemis among the Amazons, from whom he was descended through his mother.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.10.7
The third branch from the straight road is on the right, and leads to Karyai (Walnut-trees) 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 3.16.7
The place named Limnaion (Marshy) is sacred to Artemis Orthia. 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 6.22.1
One sees traces of a sanctuary of Artemis, surnamed Kordax because the followers of Pelops celebrated their victory by the side of this goddess and danced the cordax, a dance peculiar to the dwellers round Mount Sipylos in Lydia.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.22.8
Artemis was holding at Letrinoi an all-night revel with the Nymphai who were her playmates, and to it came Alpheios. But Artemis had a suspicion that Alpheios plotted to rape her, and so smeared with mud her own face and the faces of the Nymphai with her. Thus Alpheios, when he joined the throng, could not distinguish Artemis from the others, and, not being able to pick her out, went away without bringing off his attempt.

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. Tthe 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.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7.2.6
The cult of Artemis Ephesia is far more ancient still than the coming of Ionians to Ephesos. Pindar, it seems to me, did not learn everything about the goddess, for he says that this sanctuary was founded by the Amazons 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. However, it was not by the Amazons that the sanctuary was founded, but by Koresos, an aboriginal, and Ephesos, who is thought to have been a son of the river Kaystros, and from Ephesos the city received its name.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.13.1
It is the custom for the priests of Artemis Hymnia in Arkadia to live their whole lives in purity, not only sexual but in all respects, and they neither wash nor spend their lives as do ordinary people, nor do they enter the home of a private man. I know that the ‘entertainers’ of Artemis Ephesia live in a similar fashion, but for a year only, the Ephesians calling them Essenes.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.3.6
Kallisto was loved by Zeus and mated with him. When Hera detected the intrigue she turned Kallisto into a bear, and Artemis to please Hera shot the bear. Zeus sent Hermes with orders to save the child Arkas that Kallisto bore in her womb.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.18.8
When I was there not even ruins of Lousoi remained. This is where the daughters of Proitos were brought down by Melampos, and healed of their madness in a sanctuary of Artemis. Wherefore this Artemis is called Hemerasia (She who soothes) by the Kleitorians.

Pausanias, Description Greece 8.23.5–6
About a stade distant from Caphyae is a place called Condylea, where there are a grove and a temple of Artemis called of old Condyleatis. They say that the name of the goddess was changed for the following reason. Some children, the number of whom is not recorded, while playing about the sanctuary found a rope, and tying it round the neck of the image said that Artemis was being strangled. The Caphyans, detecting what the children had done, stoned them to death. When they had done this, a malady befell their women, whose babies were stillborn, until the Pythian priestess bade them bury the children, and sacrifice to them every year as sacrifice is made to heroes, because they had been wrongly put to death. The Caphyans still obey this oracle, and call the goddess at Condyleae, as they say the oracle also bade them, the Strangled Lady from that day to this.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.31.2
Depicted in the temple of Demeter and Persephone at Megalopolis are small maids in tunics reaching to the ankles, each of whom carries on her head a basket full of flowers. They are said to be daughters of Damophon, but those inclining to a more religious interpretation hold that they are Athena and Artemis gathering the flowers with Persephone.

Pausanias, Description Greece 9.2.3
On the road from Megara there is a spring on the right, and a little farther on a rock. It is called the bed of Aktaion, for it is said that he slept thereon when weary with hunting, and that into this spring he looked while Artemis was bathing with her nymphs. Stesichoros of Himera says that the goddess cast a deer-skin round Aktaion to make sure that his hounds would kill him, so as to prevent his taking Semele to wife.

Pindar’s Dithyramb Herakles the Bold
Wise are they that know what manner of festival of Bromios the Ouranidai hold in their halls,
hard by the sceptre of Zeus. In the adorable presence of the mighty Mother of the Gods,
the prelude is the whirling of timbrels; there is also the ringing of rattles,
and the torch that blazeth beneath the glowing pine-trees.
There, too, are the loudly sounding laments of the Naides,
and there the frenzied shouts of dancers are aroused,
with the thong that tosseth the neck on high;
there too hath been brandished the almighty fire-breathing thunderbolt of Zeus,
and the spear of Enyalios,
while the war-like aegis of Pallas resoundeth with the hissings of countless serpents.
Meanwhile, lightly cometh the lone huntress Artemis,
who in Bacchic revels hath yoked the brood of savage lions for Bromios,
who is enchanted even by the dancing herds of wild beasts.

Plutarch, Life of Themistokles 22.1
The temple of Artemis Themistokles 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.

Servius, Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil 8.29
The wife of Dion, king of Laconia, was Iphitea, daughter of Prognaus, who had kindly received Apollo. In return Apollo rewarded her by conferring upon her three daughters (Orphe, Lyco, and Carya) the gift of prophecy on condition, however, that they should not betray the gods nor search after forbidden things. Afterwards Bacchus also came to the house of Dion; he was not only well received, like Apollo, but won the love of Carya, and therefore soon paid Dion a second visit, under the pretext of consecrating a temple, which the king had erected to him. Orphe and Lyco, however, guarded their sister, and when Bacchus had reminded them, in vain, of the command of Apollo, they were seized with raging madness, and having gone to the heights of Taygetus, they were metamorphosed into rocks. Carya, the beloved of Bacchus, was changed into a walnut tree, and the Lacedaemonians, on being informed of it by Artemis, dedicated a temple to Artemis Caryatis.

Strabo, Geography 5.1.9
Among the Henetoi of northern Italy certain honours have been decreed to Diomedes and, indeed, a white horse is still sacrificed to him, and two precincts are still to be seen–one of them sacred to Hera Argeia and the other to Artemis Aitolis. But some mythical elements, of course, have been added: namely, that in these sacred precincts 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 5.3.12
To the left of the Way as you go up from Aricia, the Artemisium, which they call Nemus. The temple of the Arician, they say, is a copy of that of the Tauropolos. And in fact a barbaric, and Scythian, element predominates in the sacred usages, for the people set up as priest merely a run-away slave who has slain with his own hand the man previously consecrated to that office; accordingly the priest is always armed with a sword, looking around for the attacks, and ready to defend himself. The temple is in a sacred grove, and in front of it is a lake which resembles an open sea, and round about it in a circle lies an unbroken and very high mountain-brow, which encloses both the temple and the water in a place that is hollow and deep. You can see the springs, it is true, from which the lake is fed (one of them is “Egeria,” as it is called from a certain deity), but the outflows at the lake itself are not apparent, though they are pointed out to you at a distance outside the hollow, where they rise to the surface.

Suidas s.v. Arktos e Brauroniois
“I was a bear at the Brauronia”: Girls 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. Lysizonos gune
Virgins about to have sex dedicated their virginal lingerie to Artemis.