Artemis was the Greek goddess of hunting, wilderness, and chastity. Artemis, daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo, was the patroness of girls and young women and guardian of childbirth. She was widely worshiped, but the most famous cult place was the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto in Greek mythology. Born in Delos or Ortygia (near Ephesus in Western Turkey), she is the twin sister of the god Apollo.
Given gifts such as a silver bow made by the Cyclops and a pack of dogs from Pan as a hunting companion, Artemis was at that time considered the patron goddess of hunting and wilderness and the mistress of animals. For this reason, it is associated with wild animals such as deer and wild boar (especially young ones), forests, and the moon.
Artemis Kourotrophos, goddess of chastity, childbirth and fertility, was the patroness of young women, especially brides-to-be who dedicate their toys to her as a symbol of transition to full adulthood and taking on the responsibilities of a wife. Finally, as an inhabitant of the wilderness, the goddess was associated with boundaries and transition, both physically and abstractly.
Perhaps for this reason, temples dedicated to Artemis were often built either on the edges of human settlements or where the terrain changed, such as swamps, or at water junctions.
Artemis plays only a minor role in the Trojan War in Homer's Iliad and is often described as the 'archer goddess', also sometimes the 'goddess of the noisy hunt' and the 'wife of the wild beasts'. Supporting the Trojans, he heals Aeneas after he was injured by Diomedes. In The Birth of the Gods, Hesiod often describes her as 'Artemis shooting arrows'.
A notable episode at the start of the Trojan War involving the goddess is the rescue of Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia. The king angered the goddess by killing one of her deer in a sacred grove. As punishment, Artemis pacified the Achaean fleet, and only the sacrifice of Iphigenia could soften the goddess to give Troy a fair wind. Agamemnon duly offered his daughter as a sacrifice, but the goddess took pity on her at the last moment, replacing her with a deer and making Iphigenia a priestess in her temple at Tauris.
But Artemis' other events show her in a much less benevolent light. It is said that Artemis killed the hunter Orion after he attempted to rape himself or one of his followers. Artemis transformed one of the goddess's entourage, Callisto, into a bear after sleeping with Zeus, who later transformed her and her son Arcas into the major and minor bear constellations (not before Arcas founded the Arcadian race, of course).
The goddess uses her bow to brutally murder Niobe's six (or seven by some accounts) daughters after boasting that she is more capable of bearing children than Leto's. After Actaion the hunter dared to boast that he was the greater hunter, or in another version, after he spied on Artemis as she bathed in a forest pool, she was turned into a deer by the goddess. Actaion was then torn to pieces by his own pack of 50 hunting dogs.
Ultimately, Artemis sent a large wild boar to devastate Kalydon after the city neglected to sacrifice to the goddess. A hunting party of heroes, including Theseus, Jason, Dioskouroi, Atalanta, and Meleager, was organized to hunt and sacrifice the wild boar in Artemis' honor. After a long expedition, Atalanta and Meleager finally managed to kill the boar.
Artemis is often depicted in Greek art as a young girl with a bow and arrow or a spear. He is usually accompanied by a female elk, stag or hunting dog. Artemis sometimes wears cat skin. Ancient representations also emphasize her role as animal goddess and show her winged with a bird or animal in each hand. For example, the famous François vase (570-565 BC) holds a panther and a deer in one depiction and a lion in the other. Later, Attica is often depicted holding a torch in red and black-figure vases.