Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals". In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis (Greek: (nominative) Ἄρτεμις, (genitive) Ἀρτέμιδος) was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.
Artemis, the goddess of forests and hills, was worshipped throughout ancient Greece. Her best known cults were on the island of Delos (her birthplace); in Attica at Brauron and Mounikhia (near Piraeus); in Sparta. She was often depicted in paintings and statues in a forest setting, carrying a bow and arrows, and accompanied by a deer.
The ancient Spartans used to sacrifice to her as one of their patron goddesses before starting a new military campaign.
Athenian festivals in honor of Artemis included Elaphebolia, Mounikhia, Kharisteria, and Brauronia. The festival of Artemis Orthia was observed in Sparta.
Pre-pubescent and adolescent Athenian girls were sent to the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron to serve the Goddess for one year. During this time, the girls were known as arktoi, or little she-bears. A myth explaining this servitude states that a bear had formed the habit of regularly visiting the town of Brauron, and the people there fed it, so that, over time, the bear became tame. A girl teased the bear, and, in some versions of the myth, it killed her, while, in other versions, it clawed out her eyes. Either way, the girl's brothers killed the bear, and Artemis was enraged. She demanded that young girls "act the bear" at her sanctuary in atonement for the bear's death.
Virginal Artemis was worshipped as a fertility/childbirth goddess in some places, assimilating Ilithyia, since, according to some myths, she assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin. During the Classical period in Athens, she was identified with Hecate. Artemis also assimilated Caryatis (Carya).
Sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron
Artemis was born at the sixth day, the reason why it was sacred for her.
Festival of Artemis in Brauron, where girls aged not more than 10 and not less than 5 dressed in saffron robes played the bear to appease the goddess after the plagued she sent when her bear was killed.
Festival of Amarysia is a celebration to worship Artemis Amarysia in Attica. In 2007, a team of Swiss and Greek archaeologists found the ruin of Artemis Amarysia Temple, at Euboea, Greece.
Festival of Artemis Saronia, a festival to celebrate Artemis in Trozeinos, a town in Argolis. A king named Saron built a sanctuary for the goddess after the goddess saved his life when he went on hunting and swept by the wave and held a festival for her.
At the 16 of Metageitnio (second month on Athenian calendar), people sacrifice to Artemis and Hecate at deme of Erchia.
Kharisteria Festival on 6 of Boidromion (third month) to celebrate the victory of Marathon and also known as the Athenian "Thanksgiving".
Day six of Elaphobolia (ninth month) festival of Artemis the Deer Huntress where she was offered cakes shaped like stags, made from dough, honey and sesame-seeds.
Day 6 of 16 of Mounikhion (tenth month) a celebration of her as the goddess of nature and animal. A goat was being sacrificed to her.
Day 6 of Thargelion (eleventh month) the 'birthday' of the goddess, while the seventh was Apollo's.
A festival for Artemis Diktynna (of the net) in Hypsous.
Laphria, a festival for Artemis in Patrai. The procession started by setting the logs of wood around the altar, each of them sixteen cubits long. On the altar, within the circle, is placed the driest of their wood. Just before the time of the festival, they construct a smooth ascent to the altar, piling earth upon the altar steps. The festival begins with a most splendid procession in honor of Artemis, and the maiden officiating as priestess rides last in the procession upon a chariot yoked to four deer, Artemis' traditional mode of transportation (see below). It is, however, not until the next day that the sacrifice is offered.
In Orchomenus, a sanctuary was built for Artemis Hymnia where her festival was celebrated every year.
Information taken from Wikipedia
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