Artemis is a figure of Greek mythology. Known in Roman mythology as Diana, Artemis is considered the goddess of hunt, nature, wilderness, wild animals, fertility and childbirth. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. Artemis is one of the best known and most venerated of the Greek goddesses.
The Goddess Artemis is often depicted as carrying a bow and arrow, and legend has it that she asked her father, Zeus, for a bow and arrow when she was only 3 years old. According to Encyclopedia Mythica, Artemis' main activity was to hunt for lions, panthers and other wild animals in the mountains. However, Artemis was also known to use her bow and arrow on other gods, goddesses and mortals, as she was known for her penchant for vengeance and impulsiveness.
Wild Animals, Wilderness and Nature
Although Artemis was known and venerated as the goddess of the hunt, she was also a protector of wildlife and wilderness. According to Encyclopedia Mythica, Artemis "helped in protecting and seeing to their [animals'] well-being, and also their safety and reproduction." Thus, Artemis was not just a hunter of animals, but a protector of animals. In many sculptural depictions of ancient Greek art, she can be seen not only carrying her signature boy and arrow, but also tending to or standing among wild animals.
One legend about Artemis claims that she was born one day before her twin brother Leto. Supposedly at just one day old, Artemis aided her mother, Leto, in giving birth to her twin brother, Apollo. Through this legend, Artemis came to be regarded as the goddess of childbirth in Greek mythology, because of her mythical abilities to help and protect women who are giving birth. Artemis is also sometimes regarded as the Greek goddess of fertility.
According to legend, Artemis asked her father, Zeus, for eternal virginity when she was just 3 years old. Artemis never married or had children, and fiercely protected her virginity, going as far as shooting any man who attempted to corrupt or seduce her or killing or harming any of her nymphs who allowed themselves to be seduced. Because she protected her virginity and chastity so valiantly and diligently, she came to be regarded as the Goddess of Chastity.
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