A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

1. Artemis as the sister of Apollo, is a kind of female Apollo, that is, she as a female divinity represented the same idea that Apollo did as a male divinity. This relation between the two is in many other cases described as the relation of husband and wife, and there seems to have been a tradition which actually described Artemis as the wife of Apollo. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1197.) In the character of sister of Apollo, Artemis is like her brother armed with a bow, quiver, and arrows, and sends plague and death among men and animals : she is a Δεὰ ἀπόλλουσα. Sudden deaths, but more especially those of women, are described as the effect of her arrows. (Hom. Il. 6.205, 427, &c., 19.59, 21.483, &c.; Od. 11.172, &c., 324, 15.478, 18.202, 20.61, &c., 5.124, &c.) She also acts sometimes in conjunction with her brother. (Od. 15.410; Il. 24.606.) As Apollo was not only a destructive god, but also averted the evils which it was in his power to inflict, so Artemis was at the same time a Δεα σώτειρα; that is, she cured and alleviated the sufferings of mortals. Thus, for instance, she healed Aeneas, when he was wounded and carried into the temple of Apollo. (Il. 5.447.) In the Trojan war she sided, like Apollo, with the Trojans. The man whom she looked graciously upon was prosperous in his fields and flocks, his household was thriving, and he died in old age. (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 129, &c.) She was more especially the protectress of the young, whence the epithets παιδοτρόφος, κουροτρόφος, and φιλομεῖραξ (comp. Diod. 5.73); and Aeschylus (Aesch. Ag. 142) calls her the protectress of young sucking-animals, and of the game ranging through the forests of the mountains. Artemis thus also came to be regarded as the goddess of the flocks and the chase: she is the huntress among the immortals ; she is called the stag-killer (ἐλαφηβόλος), the lover of the tumult connected with the chase (κελαδεινή), and ἀγρότερα. (Il. 21.511, 485, &c.; Hom. Hymn. in Dian. 10.) Artemis is moreover, like Apollo, unmarried; she is a maidendivinity never conquered by love. (Soph. Elect. 1220.) The priests and priestesses devoted to her service were bound to live pure and chaste, and trangressions of their vows of chastity were severely punished. (Paus. 7.19.1. 8.13.1.) She was worshipped in several places together with her brother; and the worship of both divinities was believed to have come from the Hyperboreans, and Hyperborean maidens brought sacrifices to Delos. (Hdt. 2.32, 35.) The laurel was sacred to both divinities, and both were regarded as the founders and protectors of towns and streets. (Paus. 1.38.6, 3.24.6, 8.36, in fin. ; Aeschyl. Sept. 450; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 34.)

There are, however, some points also, in which there is no resemblance between Artemis and Apollo : she has nothing to do with music or poetry, nor is there any trace of her having been regarded as an oracular divinity like Apollo. Respecting the real and original character of Artemis as the sister of Apollo, we encounter the same difficulties as those mentioned in the article APOLLO, viz. as to whether she was a purely spiritual and ethical divinity, as Müller thinks, or whether she was the representative of some power in physical nature; and the question must be decided here in the same manner as in the case of Apollo. When Apollo was regarded as identical with the sun or Helios, nothing was more natural than that his sister should be regarded as Selene or the moon, and accordingly the Greek Artemis is, at least in later times, the goddess of the moon. Buttmann and Hermann consider this idea of Artemis being the moon as the fundamental one from which all the others are derived. But, at any rate, the idea of Artemis being the goddess of the moon, must be confined to Artemis the sister of Apollo, and is not applicable to the Arcadian, Taurian, or Ephesian Artemis.