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In Greek mythology, Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was
the Hellenic goddess of forests and hills and was often depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and
arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later, Hellenistic times she even assumed the
ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the gods and one of the oldest. Her later association with the moon is a popular idea which has little foundation. She later became identified with Selene, a Titaness who was a Greek moon goddess, and she was sometimes depicted with a crescent moon above her head. She also became identified with the Roman goddess Diana and with the Etruscan goddess, Artume.
4.5 The Meleag rids
An account by Callimachus has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma (the
mainland) or on an island. Hera was angry with Zeus, her husband, because he had impregnated Leto.
But the island of Delos (or possibly Ortygia) disobeyed Hera, and Leto gave birth there.
The childhood of Artemis is not embodied in any surviving myth: the Iliad reduced the figure of the
dread goddess to a girl, who, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus.A
poem of Callimachus \u2013 the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" \u2013 imagines some
charming vignettes: at three years old, Artemis asked her father, Zeus, while sitting on his knee, to
grant her six wishes. Her first wish was to remain chaste for eternity, and never to be confined by
marriage. She then asked for lop-eared hounds, stags to lead her chariot, and nymphs to be her hunting
companions, 60 from the river and 20 from the ocean. Also, she asked for a silver bow like her brother
Apollo. He granted her wishes. All of her companions remained virgins, and Artemis guarded her own
chastity closely. Her symbol was the silver bow and arrow.
She was once bathing in a vale on Mount Cithaeron, when the Theban prince and hunter Actaeon
stumbled across her. One version of this story says that Actaeon hid in the bushes and spied on her as
she continued to bathe; she was enraged to discover the spy, and turned him into a stag which was
pursued and killed by his own hounds. Alternatively, Actaeon boasted that he was a better hunter than
she and Artemis turned him into a stag and he was eaten by his hounds.
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