Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Hunter and The Goddess




" As a virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but only her hunting companion, Orion, won her heart. 


Orion was accidentally either by Artemis or by Gaia.

Alpheus, a river god, was in love with Artemis, but he realizes that he can do nothing to win her heart. So he decides to capture her. Artemis, who is with her companions at Letrenoi, goes to Alpheus, but, suspicious of his motives, she covers her face with mud so that the river god does not recognize her. In another story, Alphaeus tries to rape Artemis' attendant Arethusa. Artemis pities Arethusa and saves her by transforming Arethusa into a spring in Artemis' temple, Artemis Alphaea in Letrini, where the goddess and her attendant drink.

Bouphagos, the son of the Titan Iapetos, sees Artemis and thinks about raping her. Reading his sinful thoughts, Artemis strikes him at Mount Pholoe.

Sipriotes is a boy, who, either because he accidentally sees Artemis bathing or because he attempts to rape her, is turned into a girl by the goddess.




The childhood of Artemis is not fully related in any surviving myth. The Iliad reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, who, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus.

A poem of Callimachus to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes: according to Callimachus, at the age of three years, Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, Zeus, asked him to grant her six wishes: 

to remain always a virgin; 
to have many names to set her apart from her brother Apollo; 
to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer; 
to have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt; 
to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir; 
and for twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. 

She wished for no city dedicated to her, but to rule the mountains, and for the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.

Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife, particularly since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo [work that one out...].

All of her companions remained virgins, and Artemis closely guarded her own chastity. 



Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and The Moon. 

Callimachus tells how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara, where Hephaestus and the Cyclops worked.

Okeanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. 



Callimachus then tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of the forest, who gave her seven bitches and six dogs. 


She then captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with her bow first by shooting at trees and then at wild beasts. "

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