(Ἄρτεμις). The virgin daughter of Zeus and Leto (Latona), by the common account born a twin-sister of Apollo, and just before him, at Delos. The Ortygia (see Asteria) named in another tradition as her birthplace was interpreted to mean Delos, though several other places where the worship of Artemis had long prevailed put forward pretensions to that name and its mythological renown, especially the well-known island of Ortygia off Syracuse. She, as well as her mother, was worshipped jointly with her brother at Delos, Delphi, and all the most venerable spots where Apollo was honoured. She is armed, as he is, with bow and arrows, which, like him, and often together with him, she wields against monsters and giants; hence the pan was chanted to her as well as to him. Like those of Apollo, the shafts of Artemis were regarded as the cause of sudden death, especially to maidens and wives. But she was also a beneficent and helpful deity. As Apollo is the luminous god of day, she with her torch is a goddess of light by night, and in course of time becomes identified with all possible goddesses of moon and night. (See Selen; Hecat; Bendis; Britomartis.) Her proper domain is that of nature, with its hills and valleys, woods, meadows, rivers, and fountains; there, amid her nymphs, herself the fairest and tallest, she is a mighty huntress, sometimes chasing wild animals, sometimes dancing, playing, or bathing with her companions. Her favourite haunt was thought to be the mountains and forests of Arcadia, where, in many spots, she had sanctuaries, consecrated hunting-grounds, and sacred animals. To her, as goddess of the forest and the chase, all beasts of the woods and fieldsin fact, all gamewere dear and sacred; but her favourite animal was held all over Greece [figure in text: Diana of Versailles. (Louvre.)] to be the hind. From this sacred animal and the hunting of it, the month which the other Greeks called Artemision or Artemisios (March-April) was named by the Athenians Elaphebolion (Ἐλαφηβολιών), and her festival as goddess of game and hunting, at which deer or cakes in the shape of deer were offered up, Elaphebolia. As goddess of the chase, she had also some influence in war, and the Spartans before battle sought her favour by the gift of a she-goat. Miltiades, too, before the battle of Marathon, had vowed to her as many goats as there should be enemies fallen on the field; but the number proving so great that the vow could not be kept, five hundred goats were sacrificed at each anniversary of the victory in the month of Boedromion. Again, she was much worshipped as the goddess of the moon. At Amarynthus in Euboea the whole island kept holiday to her with processions and prize-fights. At Munychia in Attica, at full moon in the month of Munychion (April-May), large round loaves or cakes, decked all around with lights as a symbol of her own luminary, were borne in procession and presented to her; and at the same time was solemnized the festival of the victory of Salamis in [p. 137]
Cyprus, because on that occasion the goddess had shone in her full glory on the Greeks. An ancient shrine of the Moon-goddess at Brauron in Attica was held in such veneration that the Brauronia, originally a merely local festival, was afterwards made a public ceremony, to which Athens itself sent deputies every five years, and a precinct was dedicated to Artemis of Brauron on the Acropolis itself. (See Acropolis.) At this feast the girls between five and ten years of age, clad in saffron-coloured garments, were conducted by their mothers in procession to the goddess and commended to her care; for Artemis is also a protectress of youth, especially those of her own sex. As such she patronized a nurses' festival at Sparta in a temple outside the town, to which little boys were brought by their nurses; while the Ionians at their Apaturia (q.v.) presented her with the hair of boys. Almost everywhere young girls revered the virgin goddess as the guardian of their maiden years, and before marriage they offered up to her a lock of their hair, their girdle, and their maiden garment. She was also worshipped in many parts as the goddess of good repute, especially in youths and maidens, and was regarded as an enemy of all disorderly doings. With her attributes as the goddess of the moon, and as the promoter of healthy development, especially in the female frame, is connected the notion of her assisting in childbirth. (See Ilithyia.) In early times human sacrifices had been offered to Artemis. A relic of this was the yearly custom observed at Sparta of flogging the boys till they bled at the altar of a deity not unknown elsewhere and named Artemis Orthia (the upright), probably from her stiff posture in the antiquated wooden image. At Sparta, as in other places, the ancient image was looked upon as the same which Iphigenia and Orestes brought away from Tauris (the Crimea)viz., that of the Tanric Artemis, a Scythian deity who was identified with Artemis because of the human sacrifices common in her worship. The Artemis of Ephesus, too, so greatly honoured by all the Ionians of Asia (Acts, xix. 28), is no Greek divinity, but Asiatic. [figure in text: Ancient Representation of the Ephesian Artemis.] This is sufficiently shown by the fact that eunuchs were employed in her worship a practice quite foreign to Greek ideas. The Greek colonists identified her with their own Artemis, because she was goddess of the moon and a power of nature, present in mountains, woods, and marshy places, nourishing life in plants, animals, and men. But, unlike Artemis, she was not regarded as a virgin, but as a mother and foster-mother, as is clearly shown by the multitude of breasts in the effigy. Her worship, frantic and fanatical after the manner of Asia, was traced back to the Amazons. A number of other deities native to Asia were also worshipped by the Greeks under the name of Artemis.
Artemis appears in works of art as the ideal of austere maiden beautytall of stature, with bow and quiver on her shoulder, or torch in her hand, and generally leading or carrying a hind, or riding in a chariot drawn by hinds. Her commonest character is that of a huntress. In earlier times the figure is fuller and stronger and the clothing more complete; in later works she is represented as more slender and lighter of foot, the hair loose, the dress girt high, the feet protected by the Cretan shoe. The most celebrated of her existing statues is the Diana of Versailles, from Hadrian's villa at Tibur. On the identification of Artemis with the Italian Diana, see Diana.