Thursday, August 22, 2013

Artemis / Diana

Artemis, identified by the Romans with Diana, was the very dangerous goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, and later the moon. She was responsible for the mysterious deaths of women. Her parents were Zeus and the nymph Leto, and she is often shown with her bow and arrows and her twin brother Apollo, who was her constant companion. Hera, furious at Zeus' infidelity with Leto, commanded that she could give birth on no place "that saw the light of day." Delos, at the center of the Cyclades, was a floating island, bobbing beneath the surface. There the suffering Leto gave birth to Artemis, who then immediately helped to deliver her brother.
She was thus recognized as protecting women in childbirth. When Artemis was bathing, the hunter Actaeon saw her naked. Offended and ashamed, she transformed him into a stag.

Actaeon's own dogs, not recognizing their master, tore him to pieces. Niobe thought she was better than Leto because she had seven boys and seven girls, whereas Leto gave birth only to Artemis and Apollo. In response, Apollo killed her sons with his arrows, and Artemis shot her daughters. Devastated, Niobe turned into a stone that even now is said to weep in the mountains of western Turkey.
by Barry Powell, 30 Second Mythology

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