Artemis was mainly known as the goddess of hunting. She was born by Leto and Zeus. Apollo was her twin brother. According to the myth, Zeus had desired to lay with his cousin Leto. After their coupling, Leto was pregnant but Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, had punished her by prohibiting any place of the earth, seen by the sun, accepting her giving birth to her child.

After long wanderings, Leto resorted to her sister Asteria, who had become a floating rock in order to avoind Zeus’s pursuing. Asteria, anchored in the bottom of the sea and accepted her sister who initially gave birth to Artemis and the goddess helped her mother to give birth to Apollo too. Once born, Artemis was said to be the embodiment of the moon and Apollo the embodiment of the sun.

Artemis is also known as the mood goddess as well and it was said that the silver belonged to her and that Artemis owned a silver chariot  which she used to ride at night shooting arrows of silver light.

Artemies had decided to stay unmarried and preferred to live in the forests accompanied by young girls called dryads.  Known as the Lady of the Wild, the wild animals were sacred to her and she punished the people who killed more than that they could eat.

Contrary to the Athenian Artemis who was a virgin, Artemis of Ephesus was considered to be the Great Mother and a sculpture depicts her with many breast signifying that she was the mother of the life.

The Romans used to name the goddess Diana instead of Artemis.

 

Artemis at Ephesus Museum

Artemis of Ephesus