Artemis is considered to be one of the most well known and revered Goddesses in Greek Mythology and is supposed to be one of the most powerful deities in the universe.
She is looked up to as the goddess of the wilderness and is often associated with nature and animals. She is also known for being the Goddess of fertility and is considered to be the one that wives would look up to when they were trying to have children. Artemis is deemed to be one of the Olympians and is associated with the moon and purity. There are a number of complex associations that are related to Artemis and her story, a lot of which have shaped the societal outlook towards this Greek Goddess.
The Miraculous Birth
One of the most well-known incidents of Artemis’ power was during the birth of Apollo. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, who were considered to be some of the most powerful figures in Greek Mythology. The story of Artemis’ potential begins with her mother Leto, and the hurdles that she faced during childbirth. This also includes the involvement of Hera, who played a significant role in the obstacles that Leto faced. Hera was angered by her husband and the infidelity that he had been involved in, which is when she decided to unleash her anger onto Leto. This evolved into a constant chase around the world, during which Hera imposed a restriction on Leto, preventing her from giving birth on any land. In spite of this, Leto wanted to bear children, and this led her to give birth to Artemis on the island of Delos. Because of the restriction that was imposed on her, the only manner in which she was able to give birth to Artemis was by balancing herself on a tree branch while enduring the pain associated with it.
Finding a way around the restriction was not something that Hera intended, which is why she decided to take another course of action to prevent Leto from ever giving birth again. This too did not stop her from bearing children, even though it did have a significant impact on the birthing process that Leto had to go through.
Hera had convinced her daughter, Eileithyia who was the Goddess of childbirth, to not allow Leto to bear the child that she was carrying. This was while Leto was pregnant with Apollo, which presented another set of complications. Because of this, Leto was in the process of giving birth for nine days. This was something that was incredibly painful for Leto, mainly because of her strong desire to bear children and bring them up. This is the point where Artemis came in and established her dominance as a powerful Olympian. Seeing her mother going through nine days of labor caused Artemis to figure out the manner in which she could help her birth her brother. Her sheer drive was enough to give her the courage to help her mother out in this trying time, which ultimately led to the birth of Apollo.
Love For The Mother
There is no doubt that Artemis shared an incredible amount of compassion and love for her mother, which is why she also grew incredibly protective of Leto. Apollo too shared this love for his mother, which led to him and Artemis establishing a common ground to ensure her protection. In any instance wherein their mother was threatened, Artemis and Apollo would immediately rush to her aid and take care of the inflictor. One example of this was with Niobe, who was the mother of six boys and six girls. On one instance, Niobe mocked Leto, stating that while she had given birth to two Gods, she had given birth to plenty more, demonstrating her superior fertility in this regard. This, of course, angered Leto, which resulted in Apollo and Artemis taking drastic measures to remedy the situation and to protect their mother. The course of action was to kill Niobe, which would later become a recurring theme in the story of Artemis in Greek Mythology.
Another instance which demonstrated the lengths that Artemis and Apollo would go to for the protection of their mother was when Tityus committed the heinous act of rape on Leto. Angered by this, Artemis decided that she would teach him a lesson, and take away the life that he had. Soon after hearing about the incident, Artemis decided to kill Tityus, which she did with one of her arrows along with the help of Apollo.
The Vow Of Chastity
One of the biggest reasons why Artemis is also considered to be the Goddess of Chastity and Purity is because of the promise that she made with her father. She wanted to maintain her purity and decided that she would remain chaste for the rest of her life. This was something that she valued just as much as her mother and spent her entire life safeguarding herself from any evils that would come her way.
There are several instances which showcase the lengths that Artemis would go to to protect her virginity and purity. One of these was involving Actaeon, who was considered to be a great hunter. The reason this is something that has become so significant is that of the implications that people bore as a result of her need to keep herself pure. One day, Artemis was bathing in a river when she spotted Actaeon looking at her. Taking aback by this, she decided that she would bestow upon him a grave fate, which ultimately led to his demise. As soon as she got a glimpse of him, she decided to turn him into a defenseless stag. After doing so, she let out a group of bloodthirsty hounds who were ready to rip up the stag and feed on its flesh. It is important to note that during this time, Actaeon could feel the pain of the flesh being ripped out of his skin, which was also stood as irony to the fact that he would regularly hunt animals and kill them in a similar manner.
Another instance of the wrath that individuals would face as a result of Artemis’ promise involved a young boy named Siproites. Siproites was just a boy when he too saw Artemis bathing naked, but because of his age, was spared from receiving a harsh fate. Instead of killing him, Artemis decided that she would turn him into a girl to prevent the evils that would emerge as a result of his manhood.
There are several more instances in which men tried to subject Artemis to their sexual desires, none of whom were spared by her.