Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.
There are various theories concerning the origin of Artemis and her introduction into Greece: some see her as an original prehistoric goddess of hunting, while others believe her to originate in either Anatolia or Crete. Scholars have sough Artemis' origin in various periods and cultures.
Artemis is at first sight a puzzling figure in Greek mythology.On the one hand we meet the young virgin of the chase and the forest, Hellenic Artemis Agrotera, vowed to perpetual chastity and filled with loathing for sex even when it is exercised within the marriage bond for the propagation of the human species. No less indubitably, however, there stands before us an Artemis ripe for motherhood, a fertility goddess from Asia Minor with her main cult centre at the Greek city of Ephesus.
The Goddess Diana was the Roman counterpart of the Greek virgin goddess Artemis, daughter of the god Zeus and Leto, daughter of a Titan. [...] Diana, like the Greek Artemis, with whom she was constantly identified, may be described as a goddess of nature in general and of fertility in particular. She was especially revered by women, and was believed to grant an easy childbirth to her favourites.
The Greek Goddess Artemis also played a part on the Trojan war, she took the side of the Trojans, and during the journey of the Greeks to Troy, she stopped their journey becalming the sea. They were able to start the travel until an Oracle said that they could make Artemis happy with the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia.
Being associated with chastity, Artemis at an early age asked her father Zeus to grant her eternal virginity. Also, all her companions were virgins. Artemis was very protective of her purity, and gave grave punishment to any man who attempted to dishonor her in any form.
Despite the hunting, ARTEMIS cares deeply for animals. But she has little respect for human males. When a prowling peeper called Acteon caught sight of her bathing naked in a pool, she hounded him to death with his own hounds. Then the Great Hunter ORION (who was up to much the same thing) got belted into oblivion with the aid of a large scorpion. We are not sure how, as eyewitnesses are understandably reluctant to come forward.
Perhaps the most glorious tribute to Artemis was the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The temple was so magnificent it was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. [...] The temple was utterly destroyed in 356 BCE when a man named Herostratus set fire to the wooden roof. The heat from the flames was so intense that the building, although mostly constructed of marble, was ruined. Herostratus is reputed to have arrogantly boasted that the men who built the temple would be forgotten but he would always be remembered as the man who destroyed it.
Artemis is considered one of the most popular of all goddesses because she possesses characteristics and powers of many other goddesses. She was known as a Mother Goddess who helped women and children, an Earth Goddess who protected nature and brought rain to make the earth fertile, and the Goddess of Hunting and the Moon. With these attributes, the fame of Artemis grew and grew. She was worshipped for centuries in the Mediterranean area. The cult of the goddess spread through such areas as Anatolia to Egypt, the Aegean Islands to Crete, Greece and Italy.
Artemis is the Greek goddess of the wild things, the deep forests and the chase. She is sometimes, though not invariably, connected with the moon, as Her brother Apollo is sometimes associated with the sun. She is a solitary virgin goddess, bearing bow and arrows to hunt animals, and like Her brother is also said to cause disease and sudden death with them. The sixth day of the lunar month is dedicated to Her, when the moon is a perfect little crescent, not quite half full.
Artemis was born the daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis was born one day ahead of Apollo on the isle of Ortygia. She then aided her mother to Delos where she actually helped in delivering her brother Apollo. This also made her a goddess of childbirth and protector of women.
Artemis [is] the Greek Goddess of the hunt, nature and birth.[...] Several of this Goddesses roles may appear incompatible in nature. She is associated with death, brought swiftly through her arrows and healing. She is both Goddess of the hunt and the protector of wild animals. The contradictions are a reflection of the cycles of life.