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“You have seen me naked. You die”
Artemis was the Greek Goddess of the chaste, the chased and the 3.30 Chase at Epsom. Her astrological sign was the Moon and she loved presents made of silver. She never married, was apparently quite muscular (all that running after deer and stray dogs) and liked bathing nude with her coterie of nymphs. These regular 'girl only days' led to rumours that Artemis was a secret Lesbian. Certainly it would explain why she had another hunter called Actaeon killed when he happened to see Artemis receiving the thorough attention of her band at one particular bathing spot. She set his own hunting dogs on him. Nice lady.
Greek statue carvers and painters always liked to depict Artemis with a breast bobbing free from her short tennis skirt-style tunic as she was about to slaughter another innocent animal. She had no small talk unless you wanted to talk about gutting and skinning deer and had a coarse sense of humour. Was also probably illiterate too, though the Greeks are silent on this.
Artemis was born with her twin brother Apollo on the floating island of Delos in Greece. Her mother Leto was another of Zeus's fly-by 'ravishments' he liked to do when opportunity offered. Leto disguised herself as a dog to evade the jealous anger of Hera and gave birth on the island after reaching it on a discarded tourist pedalo. Artemis popped out first but had to wait another nine days for Apollo to appear. This delay being down to some 'extra womb encoding' from Zeus. Artemis got nothing but a bow and arrow to play with.
Along the line Artemis became identified as the Moon. This wasn't actually a job that was vacant, there was another goddess called Selene who had that task but Artemis had her re-officed in a dark corner, hence the name 'Selene' for the Dark Side of the Moon.
She was also conversely the goddess of motherhood in Asia Minor where a temple to her was built. The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was a humungous strucure where her all female priesthood worshipped Artemis as the God of Lactating Breasts and Hunting. All very confusing and the Greeks never tidied that myth up before the Romans came along and called Artemis 'Diana' instead.
edit Mood Swings and Roundabouts
Artemis seems to have preferred the girlies to the guys but in one story it seems she was sorely tempted to find a man's man. She was willing to give up her virginity for Orion. He was another hunter (Artemis's social circle was somewhat limited) with an impressive belt. Artemis's immortal father Zeus said he would consider a marriage but this enraged Apollo. He challenged her to an archery contest, shooting at 'some fat blob floating out to sea'. This happened to be Orion cooling off after a hunt. Apollo deliberately missed but Artemis (who seems to have a colour vision issue) mistook the blob for a porpoise till her 'prize' washed up with an arrow through his head. That was the end of Orion, though Zeus gave him a new career as a star constellation.
edit Romans called her Diana
Artemis - a nice enough woman's name - got replace by 'Diana' by the Romans. No one knows or cares who this Diana was and the Romans left even fewer stories about her than the Greeks did. Yet women who are called 'Diana' end up with a haunted look or end up dead in a Paris road tunnel, pursued by the avengers of Actaeon.
edit Artemis as a man's name?
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