50 Facts about Artemis


The daughter of Zeus and Leto and sister to Apollo, Artemis was one of the great mythological gods that filled ancient greek religion. As a powerful hunter that ruled over the mountains and wilderness she was feard for her prowess with the bow and arrow. Yet, Artemis had a softer side, a caring side that represented itself within her as the goddess of childbirth and midwifery. Yet, there was so much more to Artemis than these two seemingly opposing characteristics. Shades of grey ran deep within her as you’ll find out when you read our 50 facts about Artemis.

Fact 1: Artemis is a Greek goddess born from ancient Greek mythology.

Fact 2: Artemis is the goddess of a number of areas within the ancient Greek lifestyle including wild animals, chastity, the wilderness, the moon, and the hunt.

Fact 3: The father of Artemis is Zeus. He is the king of the gods and rules over the sky, thunder, and lightning.

Fact 4: The mother of Artemis is Leto. She was the daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. Leto generally has a small part to play in Greek mythology. Not much is known of her life after the birth of her children Artemis and Apollo.

Fact 5: Artemis has a twin brother called Apollo. Apollo is seen as the God of many things including truth, music, and light.

Fact 6: Artemus was protector and patron of young girls. However, in mythology, she is seen as quite a devious and manipulative individual, as she would secretly infect girls with diseases, then cure them to win their favour.

Fact 7: She is worshipped by many expecting couples as the goddess of midwifery and childbirth. However, in Greek mythology, she shares this role with Eileithyia who was another Greek goddess of childbirth.

Fact 8: Artemis was, of her own choice, a maiden. This meant that she never married and never had a life partner.

Fact 9: Artemis’ temple, the Temple of Artemis, at Ephesus, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. However, it now sits mostly in complete ruin with only its foundations left.

Fact 10: A number of symbols have been used to represent Artemis since ancient times. These include hunting knives, a bow and arrow, and a quiver. Well, I did say she was the goddess of hunting, didn’t I!

Fact 11: Artemis is also known as Diana in ancient Roman religion.

Fact 12: The Cypress tree is often used as a symbol for Artemis.

Fact 13: Modern scholars are unsure where the name Artemis actually came from. However, this has not stopped historians from guessing with a number of ideas proposed. Unfortunately, unless, by luck, an ancient cache of knowledge shows up, we will never know the true origin of her name.

Fact 14: Charles Anthony, an American scholar in the 19th century, hypothesised that the linguistic root of the name Artemis is probably Persian in origin.

Fact 15: The name may also have some connection to the Greek word for bear. This is supported by a number of bear cults that sprang up in her name in different regions around Greece and the surrounding areas.

Fact 16: Britomartis, a goddess of hunting and mountains, was worshipped in ancient Minoan Crete and is thought to be a precursor God to Artemis.

Fact 17: All accounts of Artemis’ birth agree that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. However, details of her birth are both conflicting and limited.

Fact 18: According to one hymn written by ancient Greek author of the Odyssey and the Iliad, Homer, Leto gave birth to Artemis on the island of Ortygia in Southeast Sicily in Italy!

Fact 19: However another contradicting story tells of Leto giving birth to Artemis on the island of Paximadia. Today, Paximadia is a small uninhabited island off the coast of Greece. Hardly the best place to give birth to a child!

Fact 20: According to legend, and don’t ask how this would work, I only tell the facts, as soon as Artemis was born she immediately stood up, and with all the knowledge of an apparently experienced baby birther, acted as midwife to Leto, her mother, to help her give birth to her twin brother Apollo.

Fact 21: Greek scholars are not entirely sure which of the twins, Artemis or Apollo, was actually born first.

Fact 22: Accounts of Artemis’ childhood are fragmented at best and non-existent at worst.

Fact 23: However, there is one poem by ancient Greek poet and Scholar, Callimachus, that states, as a child, Artemis asked her father Zeus to grant her 10 wishes.

These included:

  1. To help all women during childbirth
  2. Rule over all of the mountains
  3. To grant her power over one city
  4. To be granted to the use of multiple names to set her apart from her twin brother, Apollo
  5. To be a virgin for life
  6. Have a skilled cyclops make her bow and arrow
  7. To have her own personal choir made of 60, 9-year-old daughters
  8. To be the Lightbringer of the world
  9. To be given 20 Nymphs to watch guard over her, and her belongings, while she slept
  10. To wear a knee length tunic so she could run and hunt

It’s never made clear if Zeus granted all of Artemis’ wishes. However, some wishes, such as the tunic and the bow, he did.

Fact 24: Artemis thought it was her fate to become a midwife after helping to deliver her own twin brother Apollo.

Fact 25: Artemis had her own hunting dogs.

Fact 26: All of Artemis’ friends were virgins just like her.

Fact 27: In total, Artemis was given seven female hunting dogs and six male hunting dogs.

Fact 28: Artemis’ hunting dogs were given to her by Pan, the God of rustic music, wild mountains, flocks, and the wild in general. The ancient Greeks really did have a God set aside for every conceivable part of life.

Fact 29: Though she was a virgin, Artemis fell in love with Orion, another huntsman that was placed among the stars by Zeus. Unfortunately, Artemis killed Orion with a stray arrow when on a hunt. How sad.

Fact 30: Artemis was once nearly taken hostage by Alpheus, the river God, because he had fallen in love with her but knew of no way of winning her heart. But Artemis was quick and covered her face in mud to fool Alpheus. What kind of a God gets fooled by little mud on the face? My dog can recognize me if I have mud on my face!

Fact 31: Artemis once turned a fellow God, Actaeon, into a stag because he tried to force himself on her. Unfortunately, after turning into a stag, his dogs consumed him. That’ll teach him a lesson!

Fact 32: Apparently, Artemis doesn’t like the idea of other gods spreading lies that they are a better hunter than her. On hearing Adonis boast that he was the best hunter out of all the gods Artemis got upset and unleashed her wild war boar on him which nearly killed him. Moral of the story: Don’t get on the wrong side of this goddess. She’s a feisty one!

Fact 33: In some versions of the story of Orion, he wasn’t killed by Artemis. Instead, he was killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia, who was the personification of Earth and nature.

Fact 34: Apollo was very protective of his sister’s maidenhood and virginity.

Fact 35: Artemis was not above the slaughter of other gods if they upset her or her family. For example, after Niobe boasted to Leto, Artemis’s mother, that she had more children than her, Artemis went and killed all of Niobe’s daughters. Thankfully we sort out such quarrels in a more civilized manner these days!

Fact 36: Artemis’ legacy has stretched out thousands of years into the future as it is used for many objects in astronomy.

Fact 37: A main belt asteroid discovered by astronomers J. C. Watson on the night of September 16, 1868 is named after Artemis. It’s creatively named 105 Artemis.

Fact 38: Another feature in space named after Artemis is a small impact crater found on the moon.

Fact 39: In taxonomy, there is a genus of aquatic crustations named after the Greek goddess. The genus is called Artemia.

Fact 40: After NASA announced they wanted to return to the Moon in the 2020s they named the new moonshot program after Artemis. The first NASA Moon program was named after her twin brother Apollo. So it made sense that Artemis should follow.

Fact 41: A 2000-year-old Roman-era sculpture of Artemis sold at a New York auction house for $25.5 million in June 2007.

Fact 42: The oldest artistic representations of Artemis in ancient Greek culture portrays her as the “Queen of the Beasts” Pothnia Theron.

Fact 43: The Buzzard Hawk was Artemis’ favourite bird because, like her, it was so adept at hunting.

The remains of the Temple of Artemis.

Fact 44: Both Oineus and Adonis were killed by Artemis’ Wild War Boar. This Boar is starting to get something of a vicious reputation for attacking other gods!

Fact 45: Artemis had a chariot that was pulled by five huge golden haired dear that went by the name of Elaphoi Khrysokeroi.

Fact 46: There was an ancient Greek king named after Artemis called Artemidorus. This name means “gift of Artemis”.

Fact 47: Coins dating back to 85 BC, over 2000 years ago, have been discovered that have images of Artemis pressed on to them.

Fact 48: Artemis played a part in the Trojan War. She was a supporter of the city of Troy because of her brother’s, Apollo, connection with the city.

Fact 49: The Spartans, the famous ancient greek warriors, used to sacrifice to Apollo before every military conflict.

Fact 50: Artemis had a number of festivals held in her name throughout history, including the Festival of Artemis in Brauron and the Festival of Amarysia.

References

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